Challenging Transformation's Cliches   [open pdf - 272KB]

"Much of the dialogue concerning military transformation in the United States employs a number of popular, but hitherto unchallenged clichés. Clichés and catchwords are merely handy ways of capturing and conveying truths. Unsubstantiated clichés, however, can masquerade as truths and, unless exposed in time, ultimately prove costly and harmful to policy. This monograph examines five of the more popular clichés, or myths, found in transformation literature today. The fact that they continue to gain currency in the dialogue suggests that we need to examine our accepted truths more regularly. The first cliché is that military transformation is about changing to be better prepared for the future, as if we could somehow separate the future from our current agendas, and as if we had only one future for which to prepare. [...] The second cliché is that strategic uncertainty is greater today than it was during the Cold War. [...] The third cliché is that mental transformation is the most difficult part of any effort to change. [...] The fourth cliché is that imagination and creative thinking are critical for any successful transformation. [...] Finally, the last cliché is that militaries tend to transform slowly, or not at all, because they like to 'refight the last war,' rather than preparing for the next one."

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