Defense and the National Interest


He was a most gallant officer, ready to lead his command wherever ordered.  With him, it was "Come boys," not "Go."

--U.S. Grant, on Brig Gen Alexander Hays (commenting on his death at The Wilderness,
May 5, 1864)

Weapons are important, no doubt.  And certainly our fighters deserve the best we can give them, where "best" means "most effective on real battlefields against real, thinking enemies."  But you would be hard put to find one example of a war that was won primarily because the winning side had superior weapons.

On the other hand, it is easy to find examples of wars won by the side with fewer or less sophisticated weapons.  In addition to Vietnam, the list would include Germany (Western Front, 1940), Israel (1949 - 1967), Afghanistan (1980 - 1988), Chad vs. Libya (1987) and Somalia (1993).

Since wars are fought by people, wars are won and lost by people.  This section looks at the classic people issues that have been identified by successful military leaders as the real basis for victory.

The Specter of ‘Taylorism’ By Major Donald E. Vandergriff, USA

Educating the Post-Modern U. S. Army Strategic Planner: Improving the Organizational Construct, A Monograph by Major Isaiah Wilson III, Ph.D, US Army. (PDF 1770.97 KB)

Read MAJ Don Vandergriff's columns on personnel reforms - on

Unit manning will benefit the many, MAJ Donald E. Vandergriff, US Army.  The incoming (as of July 2003) Chief and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army should dust off the 1970 "Study on Military Professionalism" [see below] to remind themselves what can happen when the system "forces its leaders to pick their careers over their soldiers."

Study on Military Professionalism (US Army War College, 1970) In the middle of the Vietnam War, the Army took a hard look at itself. It documented the erosion of traditional values of duty, honor, and country and their replacement by a focus on whatever it took to get the next promotion. (9.3 MB PDF scan of the 219 page original.)


CERTAIN TO WIN: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business, by Chet Richards. Boyd's real OODA loop and ancient strategies working for business today. More...
Advance Reviews;
Amazon and B&N


RAISING THE BAR, by Donald Vandergriff (U.S. Army, ret.) Published by the Center for Defense Information Press. Read the DNI review. Order from Amazon.


SCIENCE, STRATEGY AND WAR, by Col Frans Osinga, RNAF. Read the DNI Review.  Order from Amazon or B&N. New! Now in paperback directly from Routledge, $35.95.


NEITHER SHALL THE SWORD, by Chet Richards.  If you thought A Swift, Elusive Sword was too tame.  Read the Introduction and view the Briefing. Podcast review.  Available now on Amazon


BOYD: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram
Amazon & B&N.


BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION : A Future Worth Creating, by Thomas P. M. Barnett. Read the DNI review. Buy at Amazon and B&N


NOT A GOOD DAY TO DIE: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda, by Sean Naylor. Read the DNI Review; Amazon and B&N


THE WASTRELS OF DEFENSE: How Congress Sabotages U. S. Security by Winslow Wheeler.  You'll be disgusted, then just mad.
Read Comment #527.
Amazon and B&N


THE AFGHAN CAMPAIGN, by Steven Pressfield.  Read the DNI Review. Amazon and B&N.


The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield
Read the DNI Review.
Amazon and B&N. Now in trade paperback.


The Sling and The Stone by Col T. X. Hammes, USMC
Amazon and B&N


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