In the end, the answers to “how do we build a powerful army” remain painfully simple. States that have access to enthusiastic populations with high human capital, that can cull the most innovative technologies from robust, modern economies, and that can structure their civil-military relations with just-enough-but-not-too-much independence will tend to do very well. Experience doesn’t hurt, either. The simplicity of the answers does not imply that the prescriptions are easy to achieve, however.
Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to TNI, is a Visiting Professor at the United States Army War College. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.