chapter  5
33 Pages

The American strategic approach: A Clausewitzian analysis

By problematising the concepts NCW, EBO, and, more broadly, a dysfunctional feature of America’s strategic culture (i.e., technological dependence), this chapter brings to light certain flaws plaguing America’s approach to war in the current era. The analysis presented herein is so done within the context of Clausewitzian theory. Among other things, that theory emphasises the need for “good” strategy to reflect a great many “broad, pervasive, and interpenetrating dimensions,”559 all of which affect strategic performance on a fundamental level. Contrast such an approach against that of the United States – a nation that exhibits a cultural predisposition toward emphasising the technological dimension of strategy while minimising the importance of the phenomenon’s various other elements. Indeed, closer analysis of US military strategy using Clausewitz as a counterweight is so revealing of basic-level challenges and issues with the NCW/EBO construct as to cast a shadow of doubt upon the future of America’s war-fighting capability (particularly against near-peer competitors). As Clausewitz implied,560 any perceived advantages that may be reaped from superiority in the technological dimension may well be offset by any single factor or combination of factors residing in one or more of strategy’s other dimensions. The conceptual and technical shortcomings inherent in the NCW/EBO paradigm are illustrative of this point.