Just in time for Rumsfeld’s famous memo to hit the press, Parameters, the magazine of the US Army War college, publishes this article – “Strategic Leader Readiness and Competencies for Asymmetric Warfare.” (pdf, requires free Acrobat reader)
I’m still absorbing it, but let me toss out a few quotes to get the discussion started:
Both current and past senior civilian defense officials reportedly have grown increasingly frustrated with the conventional mindset of many strategic level military officers. In their view, too many senior leaders are too cautious, lacking the “fresh thinking, creativity, and ingenuity” to engage in the “out-of-the-box” thinking required to fully understand the new asymmetric threats and challenges posed by the global war on terrorism.
This article seeks to identify the adaptive linkages that exist between strategic leader competencies and the mental readiness for asymmetric and more conventional warfare. Fortunately, the writings of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz seem to offer a framework to help guide the needed adaptation in strategic leader thinking with regard to asymmetric approaches to warfare. An identification of these characteristics in the writings of both Sun Tzu and Clausewitz offers the opportunity to adapt their concepts to the present and anticipated challenges of asymmetric approaches to warfare. However, it is also important to recognize that while “asymmetry is important to strategy . . . not everything is asymmetry.”
Take a look, as I think I’ll be commenting on this and the Rumsfeld memo in more depth in the next little while.
To get a glimpse of how I feel about this, go read this old post on risk.