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There is also a discussion of new developments in the field of war crimes including severe criticism of the novel concept 'joint criminal enterprise' JCE , which, in the opinion of the author, undermines the Rule of Law. This updated and expanded edition will be of use to statesmen, scholars and students of international relations and international law. Preface to the Third Edition. She has advised governments, multinationals, corporations and individuals on various aspects of international law and acted in national and international courts. For 21 years she was Adviser to H.

Pope John Paul II on international law. She is the author of 14 books and of numerous articles on international law and international relations. He praises the author for explaining the relationship between superior reconnaissance technologies and the ability to use precision weapons to engage enemy forces with minimal cost and devastating effect.

However, he believes that Shimko has left three unresloved issues on the scholarly table: What is the scope of the revolutionary change? How wide-spread is this revolutionary change? Finally, how will these wars shape future American military techniques? Castillo, therefore, sees The Iraq Wars as the beginning of the discussion, rather than the end. Forrest E. An expert in the role of space in military operations, Morgan is concerned that the author gives only a superficial treatment to the role of space capabilities in transformation.

Paul K. He also argues that Shimko is not sufficiently precise as to the ways in which one evaluates case studies. What are the standards for determining if an event supports evidence of a RMA? All members of the roundtable agree that Professor Shimko has produced a readable and coherent analysis of the nature of modern military relations and how they apply to the post-Iraq American military. However, this debate in academic and military circles shows no sign of dissipating.

Is the issue one of military revolution or military evolution, and why does it matter? Keith Shimko earned his Ph.

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Stephen A. Bourque Ph. Army Command and General Staff College, where he teaches subjects related to the theory, history, and practice of the operational art of war. He is the author of several books and numerous articles including Jayhawk! Currently, he is working on a history of the Allied bombing of France during the Normandy Campaign.

Castillo is an Assistant Professor at the George H. Department of Defense. He holds a Ph. W hat do two lopsided American victories against the Iraqi armed forces mean for the future of warfare? According to Keith Shimko, they signal a transformation of what determines success and failure in modern war. Shimko outlines the key features of this Revolution in Military Affairs RMA , and speculates on what they mean for the low-intensity conflicts of today and how they might shape the high-intensity conflicts of the future.

Advocates as well as skeptics of a transformation in warfare will find the book valuable because it presents the most coherent statement to date in support of the RMA. Shimko identifies an appropriate set of cases to demonstrate the plausibility of an American Revolution in Warfare. By focusing on U. Shimko writes clearly and his volume is easy to read. The subject should interest general readers of military affairs, policy-makers, and scholars of international security.

Teachers could assign the volume to upper-level undergraduates but it will certainly end up on the syllabi of a graduate introductory course on security studies.

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I teach it in my survey course of the modern American military. The volume makes two important contributions to the debate over the existence of a Revolution in Military Affairs. Given the cumbersome and obtuse terminology that supporters often use to describe the changed nature of warfare, this is no easy task. Shimko traces the long intellectual pedigree of the RMA, starting with its Cold War origins and culminating with the emergence of its chief advocates in the triumphant afterglow of the first Gulf War. Although a variety of views exist on what constitutes this Revolution, Shimko outlines what most sympathetic analysts see as its essential elements: the precision strike and superior surveillance technology.

Shimko uses post-Cold War conflicts to illustrate how the combination of precision strikes and superior reconnaissance technologies allowed the U. This observation becomes most apparent in the assessment of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where the U. Not only did the RMA permit decisive victory with less mass a reference to fewer personnel and platforms , but the U.

Precision-strike capabilities magnified the effects of firepower, and reconnaissance technology reduced the fog of war, revealing information about enemy dispositions and intentions. Wisely, Shimko also describes why this Revolution applies only to high-intensity military operations conducted by national armies. This Revolution covers neither the counter-insurgency nor the stabilization challenges the U.

Despite these important contributions, the book leaves defense planners and scholars with three sets of unanswered questions as they try to understand the future operational environment. Does he describe a revolution or merely a collection of lopsided victories? In all of the cases examined in the book, the U. Consider, for instance, the U.

In this war the Iraqi military posed the greatest military challenge to the United States. Of considerable size, armed with third-generation Soviet weapons, and seasoned in an eight-year war with Iran, the Iraqi Armed Forces should have posed a greater obstacle to the U. For this reason, many American analysts at the time predicted the U. The coalition assembled by President George H. Bush might win, they declared, but not easily.


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There are a number of reasons why Iraqi forces suffered a terrible loss, despite their impressive size and hardware. Shimko, like most RMA proponents, attributes the trouncing to superior U. However, the explanation for the outcome seems over-determined by other factors. The capacity of national militaries to fight with determination under different strategic circumstances also determines success or failure in war. The problem for RMA advocates like Shimko is that these other advantages were nearly always present for the U. In Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and, again, Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States went into battle with superior wealth, often making better strategic choices, displaying greater skill, and often exhibiting more military cohesion than their opponents.

As a result, it becomes nearly impossible to isolate precision strikes and surveillance technologies, which are the core of the RMA, as the reason for these decisive U. These problems ultimately leave the reader wondering whether these conflicts represent a good test of the RMA or whether they merely show what happens when a great power, choosing wisely, goes to war against materially weak, inept, and undetermined adversaries. I am not sure Shimko resolves this on-going debate with these set of cases in his book.

Second, how widespread is this Revolution? What is the scope of the RMA? Shimko acknowledges that the U.

They will also want to know if adversaries will eventually innovate and adopt the technologies necessary to join this Revolution. How readily potential U. A few years ago, a consensus seemed to exist that the U. This would not surprise advocates of the RMA given their confidence in U. This development could mean that recent U. It could also mean that capable adversaries can find ways to offset the RMA, or even that some countries, like China, might stand on the verge of joining the Revolution.

Other countries, like Iran, North Korea, and even Russia, appear to have concluded that nuclear weapons offer a potential shield against superior U. Today, U. Interestingly enough, preventing Iraq from acquiring nuclear weapons was one of several U. The Persian Gulf War would have looked much different had Iraq possessed nuclear weapons. Borrowing a page from American strategy to protect NATO, some states seem to believe that nuclear weapons could deter the United States from using formidable conventional forces against them.


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  • Nuclear weapons, then, could represent a potential limit to the RMA. Third, do the Iraq Wars mark a Revolution in Military Affairs by changing how battles are won or lost? At one point he describes the RMA as a qualitative change in the nature of warfare because these new technologies force the United State to develop new core competencies. By this observation I think he means the U.

    Deterrence and First-Strike Stability in Space: A Preliminary Assessment

    What it takes to win battles today is very different than it was in the past. Because firepower dominates the battlefield, attackers and defenders must adopt specific tactics to win engagements. Success depends on adopting what Biddle calls the modern system , the use of cover, concealment, small-unit maneuver, and dispersion to fight in the presence of such lethal firepower. For Biddle, the more things change in war, the more they remain the same.

    If the Revolution in Military Affairs represents a radical departure from the past, then military organizations no longer need to adopt the tactics of the modern system. By definition, political revolutions upend long-standing political institutions, so it follows that a military revolution would render the modern system obsolete. Instead, Shimko argues that improved precision-strike and reconnaissance technologies, the core features of the RMA, have helped U. The RMA is not a qualitative change, but rather a quantitative change: new technologies enable the U.

    Dominant firepower still defines the contemporary battlefield, like it did in World War I, but today the U. At the end of the book, then, I come away with the impression that the U. This conclusion is less dramatic, but probably more prudent for defense planners, especially after the turmoil of the last few American wars.

    Shimko has improved our understanding of the Revolution in Military Affairs. The key contributions of this book rest in its ability to clearly layout the foundational arguments for the RMA and to provide us with a clear discussion of its defining characteristics, precision-strikes and surveillance technologies.

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    Nevertheless, for scholars, more work remains. Students of national security must now decide whether the last few U. Although researchers might find it hard to find another set of cases to test whether an RMA has emerged, some observable hypotheses and associated causal logics could provide a next logical step in this research agenda. Finally, defense planners and scholars must determine, if a Revolution in Military Affairs has in fact taken place, what it might mean for wars between countries with more evenly-matched capabilities, for wars not on land but perhaps at sea, and for conflicts under the shadow of nuclear weapons.

    H ave information technologies and precision weaponry transformed the nature of warfare? Although he does not provide a clear answer until the conclusion, the argument that Shimko develops is both nuanced and convincing. At the same time, Shimko is neither a technological determinist nor an RMA triumphalist. Here Shimko draws a reasonable contrast between conventional and unconventional military operations. One of the notable characteristics of this book is its clarity, a virtue that much of the voluminous literature on the RMA cannot claim.

    An additional feature of this book that merits praise is its fair and impartial approach. He provides the necessary context to temper the extreme predictions of writers such as Alvin and Heidi Toffler, and George and Meredith Friedman. They will be decisive in some conflicts, but not others. They will influence the conduct of war, but not alter its fundamental character. The first concerns the metrics by which we should evaluate whether a particular case qualifies as evidence for or against the RMA. Shimko is clearly aware of the difficulties of defining appropriate standards by which to judge the RMA.

    Yet it is unclear what alternative metrics Shimko is employing when he makes positive claims on behalf of the RMA in cases such as the Gulf War or Kosovo. Are lopsided victories alone evidence of the RMA?

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    Is the breadth and speed by which the United States can strike at enemy targets in and of itself evidence of an RMA? Can we prove the existence of an RMA simply by counting the number of precision munitions used or enemy targets destroyed? One of the obvious challenges in evaluating the impact of the RMA is that battlefield outcomes are driven by a variety of interacting factors — including the size and structure of the opposing forces, the skill by which they are employed, and so on.

    Compounding this problem is the fact that militaries make operational and tactical choices in response to their adversaries, often to exploit or compensate for imbalances in technology or skill. For these reasons, one wishes that Shimko had made his accounting clearer and entertained counterfactuals in a more rigorous manner. Had the United States not employed precision munitions in the Gulf War, what would have been different?

    Would the critical engagement of tanks at 73 Easting, for example, have played out differently had American tanks not possessed advanced thermal sights? Would ambushes of the kind the 3rd Infantry Division encountered around Samawah in late March, for example, have proved more crippling? This kind of close analysis is critical for assessing which elements of the RMA are most important and which specific aspects of warfare have been transformed.

    Shimko is quite right to argue that context matters a great deal in assessing the impact of information technologies or precision strike capabilities on warfare Yet it is often unclear what precisely Shimko means by context, as well as which contexts matter most. Does the impact of the RMA, for example, depend on whether one is examining strategy, operations, or tactics? Shimko tends to discuss these three levels of war as a whole, although one of the more incisive critiques of the Iraq War is that the impact of the RMA was vital at the level of operations, yet inefficacious and perhaps self-defeating in terms of strategy.

    As is the case in most of the literature, Shimko focuses on the role of airpower and — to a lesser extent — ground forces. Does this suggest that the RMA is less relevant in the realm of naval power? Similarly, Shimko emphasizes the importance of the RMA in areas such as intelligence and fire support. Does this suggest that the RMA is less relevant to combat functions such as maneuver, survivability, logistics, or command?

    As noted, the one area where Shimko is most explicit in terms of the relative reach of the RMA is in the realm of conventional versus unconventional warfare. Yet even here, it is difficult to draw clear distinctions. In certain contexts, information technologies can help counterinsurgency operations by facilitating the mapping of local social networks, the collection and processing of biometric data, and the interception of insurgent communications.

    Many authors have noted that advanced airpower, especially unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs , can play a critical role in counterinsurgency operations. The confidence of Israeli military intelligence in these indicators, at the expense of human assets, was one of the many reasons why Egypt and Syria were able to achieve surprise in the Yom Kippur War. As he notes, there is a fierce debate currently taking place inside the American military establishment about the utility of investing in forces optimized for conventional war fighting versus counterinsurgency operations On the one hand, his description of the halcyon days of the Gulf War would thrill supporters of conventional war fighting.

    On the other hand, his cautionary tale of the Iraq occupation would reinforce the claims of counterinsurgency advocates. The wisdom of investing in a particular force structure, after all, is not simply a matter of military effectiveness, but also efficiency. There may well be an RMA underway, yet the cost of purchasing squadrons of fifth-generation F fighters and fleets of Zumwalt -class stealth destroyers has proven prohibitive.

    Moreover, the effectiveness of these tools is as much a function of grand strategy as operational art. As Shimko notes, American policymakers have a dispiriting tendency to overestimate the utility — and underestimate the risks — of using military force Whether in Vietnam, Somalia or Iraq, the United States military is often asked to perform missions that would be difficult, whatever its particular technological investments.

    The RMA may indeed be here, yet given the twin constraints of austerity and domestic politics, its impact may be even more circumscribed than Shimko acknowledges. S cores of books have been written about the Revolution in Military Affairs RMA since the concept gained public attention after the Gulf war, but few have done a better job of navigating the complex, evolving RMA debate than Keith L. Origins of the concept can be traced to Soviet military writers who, witnessing the dramatic advances in high-tech weaponry being acquired by U.

    These questions launched a debate that continued for the next two decades and remains unresolved today.