Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Military Theory I.

This is coolbert:

For two centuries, military thinkers in the western world have been trying to formulate a military theory.

Seemingly without a lot of success.

It would be agreed that there MUST be a military theory.

It MUST be so and has been the topic of a lot of speculation by the most eminent military minds for at least two hundred years now.

And the results of all this speculation has been a hit and miss affair for the most part. A lot of progress has been made to develop military theory, but Du Puy is most adamant that a solution to the problem has NOT been found to the satisfaction of the "experts".

According to J.F.C. Fuller:

"it is an extraordinary thing that whilst every science is run on a few definite principles, war today [1916] should be run on the dice-box of luck . . . We can predict certain events in war as surely as Darwin could in life."

Theory is defined as:

1 : the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
2 : abstract thought : SPECULATION
3 : the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art
4 a : a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action b : an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances -- often used in the phrase in theory
5 : a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena
6 a : a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b : an unproved assumption : CONJECTURE c : a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject "

Using this definition, #5 is most pertinent.

"5 : a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena"

It must be kept in mind that military theory is not testable.

Is the same type of "science" as is astronomy.

"You cannot test the theories. ONLY real world experience allows to see if predictions can be made and confirmed as a means of testing the theory."

"We cannot move the planets around in the heavens to see if our theories of gravity and the calculations regarding orbits are correct. We can make predictions based upon the theory of gravity we have developed and determine if our calculations of future planetary motion is correct. "

"Military theory must be approached in the same way. Develop hypothesis and theory and see in the real world if predictions based upon the hypothesis and theory are correct."

According to Du Puy, military theory as it is understood now consists of three categories, each with overlap.

These categories are:

* Political and philosophical. Concerns at the highest levels of government leaderships as to why and when to fight wars. Deals with the rationality and reasons[??] for waging war in the first place and what exactly is this thing we call WAR.

* The preparations a society makes for waging war.

* The actual fighting of the war itself.

Such is how military theory is categorized at the present time.

Keep in mind that military theory, as is all other "theories" that have a scientific foundation, is constantly undergoing change as new ideas, perspectives, data, etc., are brought to light for contemplation.




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