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This book studies the impact of cultural factors on the course of military innovations. One would expect that countries accustomed to similar technologies would undergo analogous changes in their perception of and approach to warfare. However, the intellectual history of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) in Russia, the US, and Israel indicates the opposite. The US d This book studies the impact of cultural factors on the course of military innovations. One would expect that countries accustomed to similar technologies would undergo analogous changes in their perception of and approach to warfare. However, the intellectual history of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) in Russia, the US, and Israel indicates the opposite. The US developed technology and weaponry for about a decade without reconceptualizing the existing paradigm about the nature of warfare. Soviet 'new theory of victory' represented a conceptualization which chronologically preceded technological procurement. Israel was the first to utilize the weaponry on the battlefield, but was the last to develop a conceptual framework that acknowledged its revolutionary implications. Utilizing primary sources that had previously been completely inaccessible, and borrowing methods of analysis from political science, history, anthropology, and cognitive psychology, this book suggests a cultural explanation for this puzzling transformation in warfare. The Culture of Military Innovation offers a systematic, thorough, and unique analytical approach that may well be applicable in other perplexing strategic situations. Though framed in the context of specific historical experience, the insights of this book reveal important implications related to conventional, subconventional, and nonconventional security issues. It is therefore an ideal reference work for practitioners, scholars, teachers, and students of security studies.


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This book studies the impact of cultural factors on the course of military innovations. One would expect that countries accustomed to similar technologies would undergo analogous changes in their perception of and approach to warfare. However, the intellectual history of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) in Russia, the US, and Israel indicates the opposite. The US d This book studies the impact of cultural factors on the course of military innovations. One would expect that countries accustomed to similar technologies would undergo analogous changes in their perception of and approach to warfare. However, the intellectual history of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) in Russia, the US, and Israel indicates the opposite. The US developed technology and weaponry for about a decade without reconceptualizing the existing paradigm about the nature of warfare. Soviet 'new theory of victory' represented a conceptualization which chronologically preceded technological procurement. Israel was the first to utilize the weaponry on the battlefield, but was the last to develop a conceptual framework that acknowledged its revolutionary implications. Utilizing primary sources that had previously been completely inaccessible, and borrowing methods of analysis from political science, history, anthropology, and cognitive psychology, this book suggests a cultural explanation for this puzzling transformation in warfare. The Culture of Military Innovation offers a systematic, thorough, and unique analytical approach that may well be applicable in other perplexing strategic situations. Though framed in the context of specific historical experience, the insights of this book reveal important implications related to conventional, subconventional, and nonconventional security issues. It is therefore an ideal reference work for practitioners, scholars, teachers, and students of security studies.

30 review for The Culture of Military Innovation: The Impact of Cultural Factors on the Revolution in Military Affairs in Russia, the US, and Israel.

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marshall

    This is an excellent book that covers the main trends in the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and the impact information technology on 21st century warfare from the Russian/Soviet, US, and Israeli perspectives. The book provides a good overview of the prescient assessments the Soviet General Staff did in the late 70s to determine the direction of future technology and the impact these paths would have on precision guided munitions, C4ISR, and long range targeting. The writings that discuss th This is an excellent book that covers the main trends in the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and the impact information technology on 21st century warfare from the Russian/Soviet, US, and Israeli perspectives. The book provides a good overview of the prescient assessments the Soviet General Staff did in the late 70s to determine the direction of future technology and the impact these paths would have on precision guided munitions, C4ISR, and long range targeting. The writings that discuss these trends are massive and while there is a wealth of Russian language data prior to 1990, most significantly N. A Lomov’s Scientific-technical progress and the revolution in military affairs is probably the most groundbreaking, this only mushroomed after all these words were made flesh with Desert Storm. These writings assumed fabulous proportions and importance when exploited by the US to develop its own doctrine on the various technologies that emerged and were implemented during Desert Storm and all subsequent US military campaigns. Here the work of Andy Marshall, “the last of the Jedi knights” is central. Unlike the Russians who developed a strategic plan to employ weapons it would not possess until the 21st century, the US developed these weapons in response to the lessons learned in Vietnam, the strategic vision came only following successful employment. The author relies on a thesis that employs an examination of the cultural variables that led the US to develop its own RMA before the implications were fully understood, focused as it was on specific goals. The Russians developed a strategic vision, but were handicapped in implementation by cultural, economic, and political shortcomings (to include the implosion of the Soviet Union). While the Israeli section provides insights into the implementation of operational level employment, I found this section to be the least satisfactory. The cultural drivers, that are an important part of the thesis, are not as well defined in this section as they are in chapters 2 &3. This book is incredibly well researched and the footnotes provide a wealth of further sources to consult on RMA.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sam Seitz

    This is another book on military innovation, but it primarily focuses on the role that strategic culture plays in limiting and enabling states’ adoption of novel doctrines. To demonstrate the importance of cultural factors, Adamsky studies the Soviets, Israelis, and Americans. He looks particularly at how they adapted to the revolution in military affairs that emerged from the creation of improved long-range weapons and sensors in the 1980s. The case studies are interesting and extremely well-re This is another book on military innovation, but it primarily focuses on the role that strategic culture plays in limiting and enabling states’ adoption of novel doctrines. To demonstrate the importance of cultural factors, Adamsky studies the Soviets, Israelis, and Americans. He looks particularly at how they adapted to the revolution in military affairs that emerged from the creation of improved long-range weapons and sensors in the 1980s. The case studies are interesting and extremely well-researched, and they show that the Soviets were much better at theorizing while the Americans were better at creating the requisite technology. The Israelis, for their apart, implemented effectively but did so without much theoretical understanding. There were two serious issues with the work, however, that made me quite dislike it. First, Adamsky never truly assesses whether the RMA was real. In other words, he chooses to sidestep the strategic relevance of these novel concepts and technologies. The problem, of course, is that this makes it exceedingly difficult to determine the value of Soviet theory or American technology. The bigger problem, though, is that his theory is underspecified and, quite frankly, incomprehensible. Adamsky never takes the time to clearly define what he means by culture, and he constantly jumps between national culture, bureaucratic culture, and the sentiments of particular individuals. By switching the unit of analysis, he fails to offer any coherent explanation for the failures and successes of the three countries he studies. Thus, while this book is a fascinating history of different countries’ responses to an RMA, it is absolutely awful political science. Unless you are particularly interested in the contents of the case studies, I would implore you to avoid this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ambuj Sahu

    An interesting book that studies the relationship between 'strategic culture' and military 'innovation' taking the case studies of RMA debates in Russia, the US and Israel. Although I do not completely concur with author's thesis that strategic culture played an integral role on how the above countries adapted RMA in their respective doctrine, this one is a great read indeed. It approaches strategic culture scientifically locating its basis in the anthropological roots and cognitive styles. Gave An interesting book that studies the relationship between 'strategic culture' and military 'innovation' taking the case studies of RMA debates in Russia, the US and Israel. Although I do not completely concur with author's thesis that strategic culture played an integral role on how the above countries adapted RMA in their respective doctrine, this one is a great read indeed. It approaches strategic culture scientifically locating its basis in the anthropological roots and cognitive styles. Gave a lovely break from the conventional rational-choice theories in military innovation. However, culture-based theories usually put the cart-ahead-of-the-horse and sounds awesome only upon retrospective analyses. If the below facts sound fun to you, grab the book - Fun Fact 1 : Israeli military strategists took motivation from architecture concepts and post-modernism in drafting their 'operational art' theory in their RMA. Fun Fact 2 : According to the author, part of Israel's failure in 2006 Lebanon War is attributed to post-modernist origins of their intellectual-ization of their military doctrines. As there was no 'objectivity', people on ground interpreted the reality from their own 'lens' making the Israeli strategy like the 'Tower of Babel'. Moreover, officers used the fancy jargon without getting it in the first place. Ahem! Ahem! Fun Fact 3 : The Soviets contemplate well because they theorized it all in 1970s before the US and Israeli actually their RMA concepts.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Carr

    An outstanding analysis of cultural factors in military innovation, along with an intellectual history of the RMA across Soviet, US and Israeli experience. This is an excellent read for those generally interested in how technology diffuses into militaries, how different cultures approach and develop new ideas, and the broad spread of the recent generation (1980-early 2000s) era of military technology and thought.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Jeckell

    The first chapter featuring Soviet thinking on the Military Technological Revolution (aka Revolution of Military Affairs or RMA in the West) drove me crazy. The language and style reminded me too much of the Communist Manifesto and other crap written with pretentious sounding terms that seem more intended to intimidate or impress a naive reader than informing them. I'm also skeptical that the Soviet methodology or their findings are worthwhile, given the damage much of the same thinking (and res The first chapter featuring Soviet thinking on the Military Technological Revolution (aka Revolution of Military Affairs or RMA in the West) drove me crazy. The language and style reminded me too much of the Communist Manifesto and other crap written with pretentious sounding terms that seem more intended to intimidate or impress a naive reader than informing them. I'm also skeptical that the Soviet methodology or their findings are worthwhile, given the damage much of the same thinking (and restrictions on thinking imposed by ideology) had on almost every other field of research (see Lysenkoism). Once I got past the first chapter, it was much better, although I'm still uncomfortable about sweeping generalizations about cultures. The author did have some great insights into cognitive biases and inclinations, and they affect whether one sees novel new ways to use a technology, or whether you use it in a linear way, or as a force multiplier in your existing organization with the same processes. Although I gritted my teeth through the first chapter, partly because of my disdain for the waste of human lives and talent perpetrated by the Soviet Union, and partly due to the style (necessary due to the subject and source documents), the book was definitely worth reading. I gleaned out some interesting insights, and it's no surprise the author is associated with OTRI (Operational Theory Research Institute) in Israel.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    Although it generalizes more than I'd like, this is a study on one of my favorite themes: how does the existing bureaucratic and social culture of a society effect the way they adapt technology to their ideas and their military planning to new technology. Adamsky contrasts the Soviets (unfortunately, he stops at 1989 rather than continue with the current Russian military and its dis/continuities with the past), the US and Israel as they decided how to use the revolution in technology of the 1970 Although it generalizes more than I'd like, this is a study on one of my favorite themes: how does the existing bureaucratic and social culture of a society effect the way they adapt technology to their ideas and their military planning to new technology. Adamsky contrasts the Soviets (unfortunately, he stops at 1989 rather than continue with the current Russian military and its dis/continuities with the past), the US and Israel as they decided how to use the revolution in technology of the 1970s and 80s in the military sphere.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pavol

  9. 5 out of 5

    Middlethought

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adam Elkus

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve Leonard

  12. 4 out of 5

    Geir

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dermot Nolan

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stockfish

  16. 4 out of 5

    Todd Larsen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alec Trout

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Daly

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ben Peters

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tony Selhorst

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jonatan Lindeberg

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eskild Walnum

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robert Bravo

  25. 4 out of 5

    Yening

  26. 5 out of 5

    Çağlar Kurç

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rob Williams

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pawel Fleischer

  30. 5 out of 5

    John

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