Military Power - Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle

Military Power - Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle

Product ID: 15870

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Author: Stephen Biddle
Publisher: Manas Publications
Year: 2005
Language: English
Pages: 000
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170492300


In War, do mass and material matter most? Will states with the largest, bet equipped, information technology-rich militaries invariably win? The prevailing answer today among both scholars and policy makers is yes. But this is to overlook force employment, or the doctrine and tactics by which material is actually used. In a landmark reconception of battle and war, this book provides a systematic account of how force employment interacts with material to produce real combat outcomes. Stephen Biddle argues that force employment is central to modern war, becoming increasingly important since 1900 as the key t surviving ever more lethal weaponry. Technological change produces opposite effects depending on how forces are employed; to focus only on material is thus to risk major error-with serious consequences for both policy and scholarship.

In clear, fluent prose, Biddle provides a systematic account of force employment’s role and show how this account holds up under rigorous, multimethod testing. The results challenge a wide variety of standard views, from current expectations for a revolution in military affairs to mainstream scholarship in international relations and orthodox interpretations of modern military history.

Military Power will have a resounding impact both on scholarship in the field and o policy debates over the future of warfare, the size of the military, and the makeup of the defence budget.


Steve Biddle may be the best American defence analyst of his generation, and this book is quite possibly his career masterpiece to date. Few are as well qualified as Biddle to weave together vivid descriptions of the modern battlefield, clear explanations of historical lessons, a detailed understanding of defence technology, and a sophisticated use of military models and war games. Biddle does all these things, helping the reader understand modern warfare more than does any other book on the market. His argument about trend in warfare transcends the popular theory that a revolution in military affairs is now underway. He replaces this theory with a more convincing, more historical, and less technology-obsessed view of the modern battlefield.
-Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Stephen Biddle’s Military Power is one of the most important contributions to strategic studies in recent decades. Presenting a very powerful case for a very surprising argument on a very important question, it will be controversial in some quarters, but critics will be hard-pressed to refute the case.
-Richard K Betts, Columbia University, author of Military Readiness

Fascinating, precisely written, indeed, brilliant Military Power is among the most important books ever published on modern warfare. Stephen Biddle fundamentally rethinks the causes of victory and defeat in modern war and challenges almost the entire corpus of scholarship on assessing force capability and the role of offence and defence in determining war outcomes. Presenting his argument with power, balance, and subtlety, he synthesizes many partial historical explanations and provides a basis for understanding why so many rules of thumb and other explanations are misleading. A landmark work.
-Lynn Eden, Stanford University, author of Whole World on Fire