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The Psychology of US Army Generalship
415 pages; 17 chapters and 5 appendixes
Everyone knows what a generals is; yet few understand how they think and
operate. Now the reader may obtain fascinating insights into the inner-workings
of a combat general's mind. This book examines the American approach to
high command and generalship in all its modern ramifications. Special
emphasis is upon the conflicting and competing currents of opinion and
thought, which are shaping or stymieing modern US army generals. The
strange psychological quirks and habits of American generals are contrasted
against standards for good generalship, which have heretofore been
presented in only fragmentary form. Other important topics such as wargaming,
military robotics, decision making, artillery and close air support, logistics,
staffs, campaigning, and air mobility are discussed according to their influence
on the art of generalship. The skills of a US army general are laid before
you, but if your wise you will select that small body of skills, which few US
Army generals covet.
”Military operations must be more than just a series of predictable steps to an engineered goal. Operational plans must
advance with asymmetry, deception and the unexpected if they are to succeed. However, USA army generals don't see
military reality like that. They plan for linear battles.
Linear thinkers believe that problems are solved by : (1) throwing more resources at them, and (2) breaking the "whole
enchilada" down into a series of simple sequential steps. Naturally such thinking among USA army generals offers little
opportunity for imaginative or unorthodox solutions. The emphasis is upon applying well known orthodox or doctrinaire
solutions to all problems. After all, an inch is an inch everywhere, and doesn't two plus two always equal four?
Informed, observers cannot fail to notice, "...the radically different way in which Soviet and Western commanders
approach operational planning. The Russians think inward from the extremities and thus on the time scale of the
operation as a whole...Western generals, including Germans of Wehrmacht vintage, envision the operation...and apply
time scales appropriate to each phase..." Thus everything is expected to proceed in steps, 1, 2, 3 and so on.
Such linear thinking inspires USA army generals to resist innovation and new ideas. As a result, American ground
forces have not developed even one new method of warfighting during the past 100 years. Whatever they do that works is
invariably copied from a foreign army.”
Excerpt from High Command
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