Force XXI: What Are the Risks of Building a High Tech, Narrowly Focused Army?   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the thesis abstract: "This monograph examines the doctrinal and acquisition focus of Force XXI in light of the projected future strategic environment. Despite its conceptual overtones, Force XXI is currently physically manifested in both a doctrinal publication and in the Army's modernization plans. Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Pamphlet 525-5, Force XXI Operations, contains the Army's initial effort at defining the probable nature of the future strategic environment and the technological acceleration that is anticipated. It outlines the Army's concept for conducting war in the future, and provides a conceptual framework for the types of weapons and systems the Army will need to counter the diverse nature of future threats. Although cognizant of the requirements for modernization to meet threats throughout the spectrum of conflict, Force XXI is aimed at a very narrow portion of the upper end of that spectrum. TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5, while providing a comprehensive summary of the dangers emerging in the last part of this century, fails to adequately address how the Army will deal with the entire spectrum of conflict. The baffle dynamics explained in the text are centered on traditional, conventional warfare. OOTW [Operations Other Than War] is initially addressed, but its presence is marginalized in favor of discussion of conventional baffle. A review of programmed expenditures illustrates the Army's almost total dedication to the high end of the spectrum; the traditional form of combat that some critics assert is the least likely to occur in the near future. The concentration of resources on this very narrow slice of the spectrum of conflict does not come without a corresponding cost. Assessing that cost is the crux of the Army leadership's modernization dilemma. Judging where along the spectrum of conflict to accept risk is an infinitely difficult process."

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