PL SC 437
Dr. Robert Packer
September 21, 2012
Essay #1 - Question #1
A “revolution in military affairs (RMA)” is a concept that explains how advancements in technology, organization, and strategy have changed the nature of warfare. Assuming that the revolution exists as described, the current transition - post-1990 - is defined by the development and use of precision-guided munitions (PGM), standoff weapons platforms (e.g., unmanned aerial vehicles), and remote sensing (e.g., satellite and aerial reconnaissance) (Packer, 2012). It is inarguable that the nature of warfare has changed due to said technological and strategic advancements, but it is equally as important to understand its effect on American military policy and strategy. As the following evidence will show, the RMA has decreased the costs and increased duration of war, which has led to the increased willingness of the American government to commit to the use of force, culminating in the current state of American military omnipotence. A few assumptions with regards to the American political system must be made before assessing the effects of the RMA. It is assumed that democracies - like America - initiate war only when it is militarily and strategically advantageous to do so (i.e., when victory is likely, and when there is no unpredictability, or “fog,” in war). Second, it is assumed that democracies initiate war only when it is economically advantageous to do so (i.e., when financial costs of war are low). These assumptions exist due to the “audience cost” that democratic leaders are faced with, or in other words, the need to appease their constituents (i.e., prospective voters). Moreover, in On War, Carl von Clausewitz states that “war is a continuation of politics with an admixture of other means,” which explains the “intimate and complex relationship between war and the political and social context within which it occurs” (Packer, 2012). Despite the fact that these assumptions...
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