ABSTRACT

This chapter outlines the origins and development of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) hypothesis. It discusses the role of technology in strategy, identifying it as an important, but not decisive, dimension. The chapter focuses on an assessment of whether the RMA hypothesis and discussions of the technological dimension have any real utility in the theory and practice of strategy. The modern origins of the RMA debate can be traced back to Soviet writings in the 1980s and historical analysis of European military innovation in the sixteenth century. A final criticism of the RMA hypothesis, in particular its undue focus on technology, relates to the concept of control in strategy. Strategy is fundamentally about human interaction. Technology, even when used to great effect, plays only a supporting role in that interaction. The RMA hypothesis may be flawed, and it may primarily speak to only one aspect of strategy: technological innovation.