The U.S. Army and Nontraditional Missions: Explaining Divergence in Doctrine and Practice in the Post-Cold War Era

Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 2003 - 962 páginas
This thesis examines the relationship between formal U.S. Army operational doctrine and practice in nontraditional missions during the post-Cold War era. Since its inception, the United States Army has been deployed most frequently in peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and humanitarian operations. Yet the organization has consistently---almost exclusively---prepared its soldiers to fight large-scale battles against similarly arrayed armies. In the aftermath of the Cold War, the Army has undertaken nontraditional missions with greater frequency, using more resources, than ever before. In 1993 the Army published "new" operational doctrine to reflect the changing international system and corresponding national security policy and strategy. Formal keystone doctrine provided principles, guidelines, and tasks unique to the challenges of military operations short of war. However, the Army continued to train, educate, organize and deploy troops primarily for war, virtually marginalizing nontraditional missions in spite of formal doctrine. This study seeks to uncover whether and why Army doctrine does not match up to practice. Along the way it traces the evolution of the American way of war as well as its approach to nontraditional missions; clarifies crucial concepts left conspicuously ambiguous in the prevailing literature (such as military doctrine and practice); juxtaposes post-Cold War military doctrine and practice, setting up a framework to uncover their disjunction; and finally, sets up the doctrine-practice relationship as a new dependent variable to be tested against the prevailing theoretical explanations of military organizational change, including Realism, Organization Theory, Institutional Theory, and Organizational Culture Theory. This study concludes that Army practice only marginally matched formal doctrine during the 1990s. Systematic testing of the new dependent variable reveals that a version of Organizational Culture Theory best explains the existing doctrine-practice relationship. Because the Army approaches nontraditional missions in an ad-hoc fashion, failing to provide long term institutionally recognized organizational learning---virtually reinventing the wheel for each new nontraditional deployment---it has struggled in its effort to carry out national security strategy. Without change, the U.S. Army risks costly setbacks in what appears to be its most likely missions in the foreseeable future.

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