Although the wider academic and business communities are coming to grips with the fact that many of these advances are changing the way we understand the world, the defense industry does not seem to see this as an issue. We still tend to view the world as responding to linear approaches applied by bureaucratic entities.
Fortunately, over the past couple of decades, a number of books have provided thought-provoking new theories of how the world works. Unfortunately, these theories do not align with the planning processes we use in the defense industry. The first step in fixing our planning processes is to examine how science’s understanding of reality is changing.The authors of these works highlight aspects of how the world has changed. This forces us to change how we frame problems, how we organize to deal with them and even how to get the best out of our people. For instance, if one still saw the world as a hierarchy, then one looked for the “leadership” of the Iraqi insurgency in 2003. Yet if one saw the world as a network in which emergent intelligence is a key factor, then one quickly saw the networked insurgent entities as they evolved an emergent strategy in Iraq. Our ability to adjust to the rapidly changing future security environment will, to a large degree, depend on our ability to understand the world as it is rather than as we have been taught to understand it. Reading these 12 books should help.
Here is the list, and it is a good one. I’ve read several, have some of the other books in my “antilibrary” and a few are new to me. You can go to the article to get some commentary regarding each book by Dr. Hammes:
Commander’s Appreciation and Campaign Design ( U.S. Army pamphlet)
An excellent list but one to which I think we need to add a few more. While any comments are welcome, I suggest that readers also chime in and nominate a couple ( 1 or 2) worthy reads that fit the spirit of Col. Hammes’ intent. My nominations are Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century by Howard Bloom and Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by Edward O. Wilson.