War is changing. Unlike when modern military doctrine was forged, the United States no longer mobilizes massive land forces for direct political gain. Instead, the US fights small, overseas wars by global mandate to overthrow dictators, destroy terrorist groups, and broker regional peace. These conflicts hardly resemble the total wars fought and expected by foundational military theorists such as Carl von Clausewitz, yet their paradigms are ingrained in modern thinking. The twenty-first-century’s new geopolitical situation demands new principles for warfare - deemphasizing decisive land victory in favor of airpower, intelligence systems, and indigenous ground forces.
In Thoughts on War, Phillip S. Meilinger confronts the shortcomings of US military dogma in search of a new strategic doctrine. Inter-service rivalries and conventional theories failed the US in lengthy Korea, Vietnam, and Middle East conflicts. Jettisoning traditional perspectives and their focus on decisive battles, Meilinger revisits historical campaigns looking for answers to more persistent challenges - how to coordinate forces, manipulate time, and fight on two fronts. This provocative collection of new and expanded essays offers a fresh, if controversial, perspective on time-honored military values, one which encourages a critical revision of US military strategy.