The Four Generations of Modern War Kindle Edition
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Punch Me Up to the Gods" by Brian Broome
"One of the most electrifying, powerful, simply spectacular memoirs I—or you— have ever read." —Augusten Burroughs Learn more
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- ASIN : B00PO4KD4U
- Publisher : Castalia House (November 14, 2014)
- Publication date : November 14, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 2383 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #446,818 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Lind's thesis is that there are four generations of warfare in the modern age, which, according to him, began with the formation of the Prussian state. The first generation was inward-looking based on well-defined rules of order, and routine practice of tasks like the 92 separate movements need to load and shoot a musket. Assaults were en masse in linear lines. The US Civil War illustrated the first generation's deficiencies and led to the second generation of warfare.
Long-range artillery and rifled arms necessitated the second generation of warfare. In this generation of war, assaults were dominated by firing leading indirect artillery over the infantry lines. Once the commander determined the enemy was sufficiently weakened, he sent the infantry in to take the enemy positions and push the enemy backward. Summed up, the artillery conquers, the infantry occupies.
During both the first and second generations, thinking and initiative were squelched and considered dangerous. The military was centralized and inward-focused versus a decentralized military that is outward-focused and prizes initiative. The worst mistake a soldier or officer could make was to do something different from their commanders' expressed and detailed orders. The object of warfare was to close and destroy the enemy forces. This could only be achieved through better disciple and more resources.
The third generation of warfare broke the object of "close and destroy enemy forces" by making the objective to "bypass and collapse the enemy forces." This was performed by finding gaps in the defense, exploiting these to get behind the enemy forces to interdict the enemy forces' lines of communication. The Germans developed these concepts to support "Blitzkrieg" during World War II. In this warfare system, troops' leaders had to have more initiative to find the gaps in the enemy lines and exploit them as the opportunities become available. This was the start of "Maneuver Warfare."
Nation-states fought the first three generations. Warfare did not exist separate from the state. The fourth generation changed that: non-national organizations were now fighting. The objectives of warfare changed, also. Whereas warfare was dominated by destroying or making ineffective enemy forces, warfare's new objectives are to change societies rather than defeat their military forces. It is insurgency: the US military, led by its civilian leaders, locked into concepts of the first three generations of warfare, do not understand the fourth generation of warfare. The proponents of the fourth generation do not obey the rules of the previous generations of warfare. They do not fight the way that the US leaders expect them to fight. They use terrorism with all of its psychological baggage to achieve their objectives.
Lind is an admirer of the USAF COL John Boyd, who developed the concepts of maneuver warfare. Lind says, John Boyd used to say, "when I was a young officer they taught me that if you have land superiority and air superiority and sea superiority, you win. Well, in Vietnam, we had land superiority and air superiority and sea superiority, but we lost. So there's obviously something more to it."
There is a point made here: what the US military considers as the keys to winning, they are locked into second generational warfare. These keys do not produce victory against opponents using later concepts of warfare.
The author's thesis is that modern war began with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 where Europe arrogated the power to conduct war solely to the state. Since the state maintained order, war required order as well. Hence, marching, saluting, uniforms, and other customs and practices commonly associated who the military came into use.
European armies during the first generation consisted largely of soldiers who didn't want to fight and mainly wanted to desert. The second and third generations of war mutated into being by technological changes (the battlefield became much more lethal) and social changes (armies came to have many more soldiers who wanted to fight). World War II may represent the apex of war conducted by states.
Many non-state actors with grievances, or at least a desire to fight, have drawn the lesson that to fight a competent state military on its own terms is a loser's game. So, the fourth generation of war is arising. Technology is broadly disseminated and increasingly cheap so non-state actors can duplicate many advanced military capacities. As in the days before the Treaty of Westphalia (the old becoming new), war may be waged by parties other than the the state.
The author considers how state militaries should respond to this changing environment. If you have an interest in military history and strategy, I believe that you will find this worthwhile.
In this lecture, Lind calls the modern military on the carpet, and berates them for being the fatbody private that can't keep up in PT.
I rated this book 5 stars because it was so succinctly able to get the point across and leaving me hanging on until the 4th Generation Warfare Handbook is released next year.
4GW has also arrived here for our nation's law enforcement. The recent events in San Bernardino are proof its here, and it will only get worse. At the same time law enforcement is losing the public relations battle with the public. The police-public relationship is at its lowest point since the late 60s and early 70s.
Top reviews from other countries
I give only 4 stars because it's little more than a very good monograph, though I understand the publisher Castilia House will be bringing out a full-scale 4gen war manual/book soon. Count me in.