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Military Power


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Table of Contents

Preface ix Abbreviations xiii CHAPTER ONE Introduction 1 CHAPTER TWO A Literature Built on Weak Foundations 14 CHAPTER THREE The Modern System 28 CHAPTER FOUR The Modern System, Preponderance, and Changing Technology 52 CHAPTER FIVE Operation MICHAEL-The Second Battle of the Somme, March 21-April 9, 1918 78 CHAPTER SIX Operation GOODWOOD-July 18-20, 1944 108 CHAPTER SEVEN Operation DESERT STORM-January 17-February 28, 1991 132 CHAPTER EIGHT Statistical Tests 150 CHAPTER NINE Experimental Tests 181 CHAPTER TEN Conclusion 190 APPENDIX A Formal Model of Capability 209 Notes 240 Index 325

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Stephen Biddle's Military Power is one of the most important contributions to strategic studies in recent decades. Presenting a very powerful case for a very surprising argument on a very important question, it will be controversial in some quarters, but critics will be hard-pressed to refute the case. -- Richard K. Betts, Columbia University, author of "Military Readiness" Fascinating, precisely written, indeed, brilliant, Military Power is among the most important books ever published on modern warfare. Stephen Biddle fundamentally rethinks the causes of victory and defeat in modern war and challenges almost the entire corpus of scholarship on assessing force capability and the role of offense and defense in determining war outcomes. Presenting his argument with power, balance, and subtlety, he synthesizes many partial historical explanations and provides a basis for understanding why so many 'rules of thumb' and other explanations are misleading. A landmark work. -- Lynn Eden, Stanford University, author of "Whole World on Fire" Steve Biddle may be the best American defense analyst of his generation, and this book is quite possibly his career masterpiece to date. Few are as well qualified as Biddle to weave together vivid descriptions of the modern battlefield, clear explanations of historical lessons, a detailed understanding of defense technology, and a sophisticated use of military models and war games. Biddle does all these things, helping the reader understand modern warfare more than does any other book on the market. His argument about trends in warfare transcends the popular theory that a revolution in military affairs is now underway. He replaces this theory with a more convincing, more historical, and less technology-obsessed view of the modern battlefield. -- Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

About the Author

Stephen Biddle is Senior Fellow in Defense Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has published extensively in defense policy and international relations, and he has held teaching and research positions in both academic political science and official defense policy analysis.


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2005 Winner of the 2005 Silver Medal for the Arthur Ross Book Award, Council on Foreign Relations Winner of the 2005 Col. John J. Madigan III Book Award, U.S. Army War College Foundation Winner of the 2005 Koopman Prize, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Winner of the 2004 Huntington Prize, Olin Institute at Harvard "Superlatives hardly do this book justice. It simultaneously makes major contributions in political science, military history, social science methodology, and contemporary policy debates. Stephen Biddle comprehensively and convincingly dismantles two of the most important literatures in international relations theory in the United States: realism and the offence-defense balance."--Ted Hopf, International History Review "Stephen Biddle has written perhaps the best volume on the causes of battlefield victory and defeat in a generation... This is a seminal work on an issue of critical importance."--Spencer D. Bakich, Virginia Quarterly Review "Biddle's focus is on medium--and high--intensity land war; he combines a sophisticated formal model with analysis of critical case studies of actual battles. His argument has important implications for the structure of all modern military forces and shows persuasively that troops skilled in executing the modern system, not high-tech weapons alone, assure victory. It is a major achievement."--Choice "Stephen Biddle's Military Power deserves serious attention from military historians. Military Power makes a powerful argument that has redefined thinking within political science and policy circles on why armies win battles... Biddle has produced an outstanding work that addresses a question central to historians, political scientists, and policy-makers."--Carter Malkasian, Journal of Military History "Stephen Biddle has written a worthy book on the never-ending debate over why land wars are won and lost. It contributes to the academic literature, and his policy judgments deserve attention... It is well worth reading, owning, and remembering."--Richard L. Kugler, Perspectives on Politics

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