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Complexity and Military Strategic Innovation: Lincoln & Grant, Roosevelt & Mahan Open Access

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Abstract of DissertationComplexity and Military Strategic Innovation: Lincoln & Grant and Roosevelt & MahanHistorically, in each of America's past wars a significant proportion of each of them had to first be fought by an initial military strategy leading to defeat. The nation endured, and was perhaps lucky, until the winning military strategies were innovated by generals eventually found by political leaders to accomplish it. This research surveys the appropriateness of complexity theory from the science and technology policy literature, where it has a long history of showing usefulness at managing innovation.In the spring of 2003, American military forces dashed to Baghdad in nineteen days. The consequent insurgency made the dash irrelevant. For several years preceding this war there had been a debate labeled the "revolution in military affairs," but this was only a debate about technological acquisitions to make the dash faster. It could make major combat operations more cost-effective, but that did not necessarily resolve this, or any, war's political causes through their natural evolution into low-intensity conflicts.Lieutenant Colonel Andrew F. Krepinevich, Ph.D., in his dissertation from Harvard University, "The Army Concept and Vietnam: A Case Study in Organizational Failure," and in his resulting 1986 book, The Army and Vietnam, describes the U.S. Army's organizational failure in Vietnam. He concluded that counter-insurgency warfare was counter-cultural to the U.S. Army's preferred mission of fighting the U.S.S.R. in Europe.Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl, Ph.D. in his 2005 book, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam, built upon the work of Lieutenant Colonel Krepinevich and further specified that the U.S. Army's failure in Vietnam was because it was not a learning organization, at least not as compared to the British Army in Malaya a decade earlier. The Chief of Staff of the Army, General Peter J. Schoomaker, agreed in the Forward of the book.The first goal of this research is to survey the appropriateness of using the transposed terms and concepts of complexity theory as a lens for the understanding of the innovation of military strategy during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. If that proves successful, then the second goal of this research will be further analysis using the management tools of complexity theory to determine if better outcomes of these wars might have been reasonably predicted.

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