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Transformation Under Fire: Revolutionizing How America Fights 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0275981921
ISBN-10: 0275981924
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Transformation Under Fire: Revolutionizing How America Fights + Breaking the Phalanx: A New Design for Landpower in the 21st Century (Bibliographies and Indexes in American)
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Editorial Reviews


"Colonel Macgregor is to the Information Age joint military what Billy Mitchell was to airpower and what Liddell Hart, Fuller, DeGaulle and Guderian were to armored warfare. He understands what has to be done, understands the principles for creating a 21st century joint military, and has outlined a practical guide to America's next quarter century of military effectiveness. Every citizen who cares about national security should read this book and every professional who wants to be competent in the information age MUST read this book."-Newt Gingrich Former Speaker of the House of Representatives


"Colonel Doug Macgregor was a courageous combat commander in Desert Storm and is an even more courageous leader in transforming U.S. Land Warfare against an entrenched mindset that was proven wrong in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Airmen and soldiers must read this book!" (Thomas G. McInerney, Lt. Gen USAF (Ret)) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; 1st edition (September 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275981924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275981921
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Samuel P.N. Cook on November 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In recent internal memorandum to the top brass of the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, expressed deep reservations about our progress in the war on terrorism. He challenged the uniformed leadership to speed up transformation, writing "It is not possible to change DOD [Department of Defense] fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror." Of all the branches of the military, the Army has been the most reluctant to restructure itself to meet the post cold war security environment's demands.
In Transformation Under Fire: Revolutionizing How America Fights, Colonel Douglas MacGregor examines the Army's failure to transform itself and forge a truly effective force to carry its burden in the war on terror. Instead of delaying transformation, he argues, the war on terror makes structural reform all the more urgent. MacGregor maintains that recent Army attempts at transformation, relying on the Stryker and a distant Future Combat System, fail to address the heart of the Army's problem: its anachronistic and cumbersome organization on the tactical and operational levels. MacGregor, however, spends the majority of his book proposing a solution to the problem: an immediate re-organization of the Army's combat units; and the fielding of currently available technology that will quickly address its tactical and operational needs.
MacGregor's ideas are not new. A Gulf war veteran who fought in the battle of 73 Easting, Colonel MacGregor went on to command 1-4 Cavalry at Ft. Riley. While serving there, he recognized the need to re-structure the Army to meet the post cold war demands.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hold this author to a higher standard, for he is in the top rank of perhaps 10 people who really know what they are talking about with respect to transformation. I believe he is the single most important mind behind the Army's recent transition from 10 divisions to 40+ brigades as the basic form of organization. Where he falls short (and remember, this is a master who in falling short is still light years ahead of the others) is in not going far enough: in not carrying his ideas out to inter-agency collaboration and multi-national inter-agency planning and coalition operations.

He also fails to properly put the failings of the US Navy and the US Air Force in context. The US Navy today is a disgrace, largely incapable of moving anything or getting anywhere at flank speed, and the US Air Force is even worse off--incapable of lifting what needs to be lifted, when it needs to be lifted, in the distances and quantities that need to be lifted. Without a chapter on this joint "sucking chest wound," the author's otherwise brilliant work loses much of its potential at the SecDef level.

This is a very serious book, not an essay. It is packed with substantive information, it is well-documented, and the footnotes are as useful as the main text.

The underlying theme in this book is that the Chief of Staff of the Army will not succeed until he breaks the back of the cultural mafia that persists--like the horse cavalry of old--in focusing on big units and expensive platforms. While the author is among the foremost and earliest proponents of small, fast, and many, it is clear to me that he does not consider the current Army to be moving in the right direction--a direction that he makes clear could lead to our achieving a sufficiency within months rather than years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Retired Reader on December 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a stand alone book, but it builds on the work Colonel Macgregor did in his earlier book. "Breaking the Phalanx." The first book dealt with tactical and operational issues of command and control (C2) and force structure in the Information Age. This book builds the case that information technology enables the creation multi-service, joint military commands and operations. And that the threat environment of the 21st Century makes the use of joint commands a necessity.

As in his previous book, Macgregor demonstrates his understanding that Command, Control, Computers, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Systems. C4ISR Systems are information driven and allow battlefield awareness to be pushed to the top of the command structure while allowing decision making to pushed down to the tactical level of a command structure. This is brought about by the fact that functioning C4ISR systems simultaneously provide near real time information (situational awareness) to all levels of a military force.

This availability of information allows force structures to be both more flexible and to execute rapid maneuver warfare using dispersed tactical units. Also Macgregor believes that common or at least inter-operable C4ISR Systems make joint operational commands feasible. He argues that warfare in the 21st Century will require multi-service joint operations using small mission oriented modules of air, ground, and naval units. Again such joint operations are made possible by sharing a common and timely information base.

Perhaps most importantly, Macgregor discusses the cultural change that must take place among the Officer Corps of the U.S.
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