Military News

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Overview of Military Conflict

The history of humankind is replete with accounts of social and military conflict, and archeological and anthropological research indicates that organized, armed conflict occurred well before the age in which there were written records. Military Conflict in various forms has occurred so often in the past that periods of peace are counted as notable exceptions to the normal state of affairs. War, military and naval campaigns, battles, combat, insurrections, terrorism, duels, and other forms of military conflict are mentioned frequently in most general histories recording social, economic, and political events and are the subject of many specialized histories. Military Conflict, it seems, is endemic to humankind and for thousands of years has had much to do with the rise and fall of tribes, cultures, empires, and nations.

Many explanations have been offered for this condition. Much effort and resources have gone into waging war, and substantial mental effort and research have gone into studying war. The strategy and tactics of war, campaigns, and battles have been the subjects of observation, generalization, speculation, and analysis ever since humans started fighting each other in an organized manner. Literature has many anecdotes, personal accounts, philosophical treatises, and prescriptive essays on military conflict. Many works are sufficiently general to be applied after the fact or ambiguous enough to rationalize whatever a particular commander wants to do. Some works, particularly those written by the victors, reflect significant biases. Other works are excellent descriptions but uncertain prescriptions. Still others present analytical or mathematical descriptions of
military conflict that are definite, numerical, and often incompatible with experience. There are many explanations of military conflict but not very much agreement on the underlying principles and causative factors -- this underlies the work of TMCI.

One reason for lack of agreement about
military conflict is that applying the scientific method of analysis is particularly difficult. Many natural phenomena can be observed and replicated in experiments to help establish cause and effect relationships. However, the most important military conflict phenomena cannot be replicated for experimental purposes, and data are available only from the historical record, which is intermittent and often inaccurate. Military conflict is a human endeavor - perhaps the most complex and challenging human endeavor - and it is therefore not entirely susceptible to the scientific method. One result of the uneven application of scientific method to military conflict has been an array of mathematical models that quantify and relate the physical aspects of conflict but imprecisely represent the human aspects. On the other hand, there is also a body of knowledge from history and the social sciences that describes conflict in human terms but tends to ignore or misinterpret the physical aspects.

A generally accepted conceptual framework, terminology, and approach for addressing Military Conflict is essential for understanding and dealing with this particular set of complex phenomena. Other fields of study, such as psychology, sociology, economics, political science, biochemistry, and physics, have generally accepted conceptual frameworks within which differences can be considered rationally and similarities appreciated. After five thousand years of human and
military history, there ought to be a general theory or framework for the systematic, scientific, study of military conflict.