MODERN WAR AND THE UTILITY OF FORCE: CHALLENGES, METHODS AND STRATEGY/Jan Angstrom and Isabelle Duyvesteyn (Eds)

  • Gerhard Louw Directorate Technology Development, Defence Matériel Division, SANDF

Abstract

The utility of military force in general, and that of military forces in particular, has been the subject of much debate since the end of the Cold War in 1989.  At the same time, as the threat and incidence of state-on-state war receded, along with its associated conventional force strategies, structures and doctrine, governments were increasingly calling upon their armed forces to carry out missions that they were not trained and equipped for.  These tasks included peace support, state-building, humanitarian aid, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, all of which engendered a plethora of arguments pointing to a new paradigm of war.  The Utility of Force, produced by General Sir Rupert Smith in 2005, is still one of the seminal works in this regard – and the ideas contained therein stand central to the arguments contained in Angstrom and Duyvesteyn’s book.  Since the latter is concurrently a critique, an elaboration and a validation of Smith’s tome, one should preferably have read The Utility of Force before tackling Modern War.  This is not essential, though: Modern War is perfectly able to stand on its own, especially since it targets those academics that would be conversant with its main themes anyway.
Published
2011-11-05
Section
Book Reviews