The Art of Airlifting

A few days ago, the Pentagon made a wise decision–to purchase 80 McDonnell-Douglas C-17 transport aircraft. The plane has intercontinental range, in-flight refueling capability, can carry heavy equipment, land on crude airfields and get out again with minimal delay and maintenance. With the C-17, McDonnell-Douglas had also managed to reverse (at least temporarily) an old journalistic adage and military complaint: Read More ›

Space Control Blasts Off

In war, von Clausewitz once opined, everything is very simple. But simple things become very difficult. Today, his adage is revalidating in a field that barely existed ten years ago: space control–the new equivalent of sea control and air superiority. As a concept, space control is simple. It means using space for your own military purposes; protecting what you’ve got Read More ›


Today, the United States has no national security strategy worthy of the name. This is a good thing for several reasons, not the least of which is that thinking up new strategies provides employment for several thousand otherwise marginal defense and policy wonks. It keeps the think tanks thinking, the grant makers granting, and the pundits both punning and ditting. Read More ›

Unwritten Laws Ground Star Navy Pilot

The Romans had a proverb. Of all our laws, some are written and some are not. As is often the case with proverbs, their surface simplicity conceals deeper truths. In this instance, at least two. First, written law can’t do it all. There must be other sources of value and discipline and mercy: religion, morality, honor, tradition and common sense. Read More ›

The Military as Metaphor

The United States defense establishment is approaching the verge of open rebellion and internal collapse. If Mr. Clinton is re-elected, it will probably happen in 1997. If Mr. Dole wins, it might take a little longer. At this point, perhaps the only thing that can avert it is getting the American people involved. The most pressing defense issue in this Read More ›

Geyser at Yellowstone
Photo by Ava W at Unsplash

The Origin of Life and the Death of Materialism

Introduction Alfred North Whitehead once said that “when we consider what religion is for mankind and what science is, it is no exaggeration to say that the future course of history depends upon the decision of this generation as to the relations between them.” Whitehead spoke early in this century at a time when most elite intellectuals believed that science Read More ›

Backwards Priorities

Consider the following. 1) The United States has no mortal national enemy. No USSR, no new Axis is likely to appear. 2) It is possible, indeed probable, that sometime within the next few years, thousands of Americans, perhaps many times that number, will be killed or injured by a nuclear, biological, or chemical Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) ? the Read More ›

Joint Vision 2010

Students of the military art have long been familiar with the Iron Law of the Inverse. This great truth holds, among other things, that a service’s leadership effectiveness is inversely proportional to the number of generals available to lead; that combat ferocity is inversely proportional to the quantity of medals awarded; and that a service’s budgetary discipline is inversely proportional Read More ›

What To Do About the Reserves

So, in the military budget wars, the Army wants to cut the National Guard. what else is new? The Army and the Guard–or, more broadly, the full-tie professionals and the part-time citizen-soldiers–have been squabbling for at least as long as such categories have existed. The professionals, understandably, tend to resent and /or demean the “weekend warriors” who, for their part, Read More ›

America’s Military

Less than a decade after the great victories of the Cold War and Desert Storm, the U.S. military faces a very different kind of crisis–indeed, a crisis unique in all of military experience. Numerous factors have contributed: a complex, volatile world situation; the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD); the military technological revolution; deep budget cuts; and the ill-advised Read More ›