Saturday, 13 September 2008

The Evolution of Military Science

Note the excellent historicisation in the first piece which has the makings of an explanation for why and when military science became more biological in its focus. The journal article which follows this thesis excerpt serves as proof positive of the recuperation of sociology in the same context. In that sense, sociology's fate mirrors that of my earlier posting on the Israeli military, who are most interested in Continental philosophers such as Deleuze, when it comes to formulating strategies suited to asymmetrical warfare.
It is important to note that the rise of one regime of the scientific way of warfare has not necessarily signified the disappearance of all the ideas and practices of previous regimes. Some elements of past regimes remain relevant and even complementary under a new regime, albeit sometimes in a modified form. For example, the practice of intensive drilling of recruits which was so central to Frederick the Great’s clockwork army has been pursued ever since to enhance discipline and reliability in the execution of orders, even if the robotic slavishness of the Prussian soldier has been generally abandoned in favour of a greater degree of autonomy and initiative of the individual in uniform. Similarly, if the drive for ever greater mobilisations and releases of energy is no longer the central focus of Western militaries, developments in the motorisation and destructive power of military force have not been cast away but rather integrated into the set of cybernetic technologies and principles which in the following era sought to bring more precise and targeted applications of this energy. And if we are to see a new era of warfare in which self-organising dynamics and decentralised tactics will be privileged, these will in all likelihood be complemented by self regulating processes of stabilisation and a degree of top-down oversight.
One way of understanding these developments is as a process of evolution in the forms of control adopted for the purpose of handling the uncertainty inherent in the practice of warfare. I have sought in this thesis to relate the socio-technical assemblages embodying these forms of control to their contemporary scientific worldviews.If successive worldviews shift the focus of scientific analysis and formulate distinct ontological claims, thereby rejecting or limiting some of the methods and assertions of previous worldviews, acquired means of control do not thereupon vanish but instead remain part of the ensemble of control assemblages liable to be deployed in the social field.

The Scientific Way of Warfare: Science and the Management of Techno-social Systems of Warfare
Armed Forces & Society, Vol. 35, No. 1, 3-15 (2008)
Sociology in Military Officer Education
David R. Segal
University of Maryland
Morten G. Ender
United States Military Academy,

This essay introduces a special issue of Armed Forces & Society examining sociology at military academies around the globe. Articles represent nine countries—Canada, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the United States. We begin with a brief history of sociology and the military and growth of military sociology as a subfield, followed by the development of military academies in general and sociology at military academies more specifically. The essay concludes with six trends found across the nine nations and ten academies—the stigma of sociology; the cannibalization of sociology courses; co-optation of sociological concepts; charismatic leadership; radical social change; and revitalization.
Key Words: military academies • officer education • cross-national • military sociology

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