The Downside of the Cutting Edge

The American military loves organizational tradition at the same time that it hungers for technological progress.

Issue: Fall 1996

The American military loves organizational tradition at the same time that it hungers for technological progress. Notwithstanding the stereotype of hidebound Colonel Blimps refusing to recognize revolutionary changes--army officers clinging to horse cavalry for decades after the invention of tanks, pooh-poohing the combat potential of aircraft in the face of Billy Mitchell's sinking of the Ostfriesland, and all the rest--military leadership is usually enthusiastic about technological innovation, as long as it is an add-on for which they do not have to give up other cherished equipment and doctrine.

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