The Most Perilous Time Ever in Human History

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Austrian National Library | via ThomasW01 | Wikimedia Commons

MacDonald, James. When Globalization Fails: The Rise and Fall of Pax Americana, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. 320, Hardcover (paperback, ebook available).

Porter, Patrick. The Global Village Myth: Distance, War, and the Limits of Power, Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2015. 243. Paperback (hardcover, ebook available).

Preble, Christopher and Mueller, John, eds. A Dangerous World?: Threat Perception and U.S. National Security. Washington DC: CATO Institute, 2014. 390. Paperback (ebook available).

The new century is full of rapid change. It is complex. It is more dangerous than ever before. Such is the conventional wisdom that we hear from political leaders and senior military officers, we read from scholars and policy experts, and is repeated unthinkingly in the media for the benefit of the world. But what is it about the twenty-first century that makes things so different from the past, so much more challenging and threatening? …

The Gun Doctor on Mission Command & the Subordinate

Recently there has been a great deal written on the ideals of mission command. From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to thoughtful field and company grade officers, there has been a movement to use the lessons of the past fourteen years to implement its methods of command and leadership. The foundations of today’s concept were laid in the Prussian military a century and a half ago. Possibly because of these continentalist roots, the vast majority of the writing and thinking on the subject has been done by Army officers, even when they sometimes embrace a naval example.

In 1916 the United States Navy eyed the potential that the war in Europe may, at some point, begin to spread. A program was put in place to introduce interested volunteers to the concepts and methods that they would need for naval service if a mass mobilization was required. Lectures commissioned by the Navy’s Bureau of Navigation included subjects like coastal defense, torpedo boats, and other technical subjects. Captain William Sims, a well known officer in the service, was asked to deliver a lecture on “military character.” …

This post was provided by BJ Armstrong, a naval aviator currently serving in the Pentagon. He is a member of the Naval Institute Editorial Board and a PhD Candidate in War Studies with King’s College, London. His first book, with leadership and professional lessons from the writing of Alfred Thayer Mahan, is “21st Century Mahan: Sound Military Conclusions for a Modern Era.

In early 1916, Europe was engulfed in The Great War. The rapid campaign expected in the summer of 1914 had degenerated into something unexpected, a long and almost siege-like struggle. While the United States proclaimed neutrality, the U.S. Navy suspected things would get worse and they would eventually either need to protect the American coast, or carry an army across the Atlantic after a mass mobilization. They began to prepare a group of volunteers who expressed interest in joining the naval services. …

What Would Alfred Thayer Mahan Do?

BJ Armstrong is a naval officer, helicopter pilot, and a PhD candidate in War Studies with King’s College, London. He has served as an amphibious search & rescue pilot and led an MH-60S gunship detachment in Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR and in counter-piracy and counter-terror operations in the Middle East. He is editor of “21st Century Mahan: Sound Military Conclusions for the Modern Era.” The views expressed are those of the author alone and are presented in his private capacity. This first appeared at the Naval Institute Blog.

A couple of weeks ago the U.S. Naval War College hosted the Current Strategy Forum, 2014. It was a two day conference which brought the soon-to-be graduates of the War College programs together with fleet planners and strategists, some of the world’s top scholars, and a few of us strap hangers to discuss maritime and military strategy in the 21st century. The lectures and panels were all livestreamed and then posted to Youtube, so you can watch them yourself here. …

Mahan, Nelson, and the Heart of Leadership

Trust. In principle it sounds great, but in practice it appears to be a frightening concept to some leaders. Sometimes it even appears ineffective. Over a century ago the naval officer and strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan thought and wrote about the vital importance of trust and its critical place in effective leadership. A founding member of the faculty at the U.S. Navy’s War College, Mahan believed that teaching leadership and command was as important as strategy. His lessons about the interplay between risk and trust are applicable to leaders in all organizations in the 21st Century.

Mahan’s best example of the positive results of trust came from his study of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson, the most celebrated Royal Navy officer in history and a renowned combat leader. His victories at defining battles like Copenhagen, The Nile, and Trafalgar have inspired generations of officers and sailors. In his studies of Nelson, Mahan wrote that the British Admiral combined the attributes of conviction, confidence, and most of all: “the natural, inborn power of trust.” …

Bringing Balance to the Force

This essay is part of the Personal Theories of Power series, a joint Bridge-CIMSEC project which asked a group of national security professionals to provide their theory of power and its application. We hope this launches a long and insightful debate that may one day shape policy.

This is offered not as a personal dogma, or a theory of overall power, but instead as some general thoughts on a specific element of national power: sea power.

“The Navy, within the Department of the Navy, shall be organized, trained, and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained combat incident to operations at sea.” …


B Armstrong

Naval strategy, history, policy, leadership...What Would Alfred Thayer Mahan Do? KCL @WarStudies Student, Navy Rotorhead (Opinions are personal)

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