- Hardcover: 280 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1 edition (September 20, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691137021
- ISBN-13: 978-0691137025
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,365,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Science of War: Defense Budgeting, Military Technology, Logistics, and Combat Outcomes 1st Edition
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"As an introduction to a vital realm of analysis, this book has much to offer. But its greater value may be as a primary text describing the type of military thinking that gets states into trouble. Indeed, a symptom of this pathology is that no rival textbooks exist, and thus The Science of War presents evidence not only of the models' shortcoming but also that of our profession."--Jonathan D. Caverley, Perspectives on Politics
"O'Hanlon allows the reader to make informed decisions on how to best make and analyze projections. The Science of War will appeal to those with an interest in the relationship between foreign policy and the military, economists, and political scientists."--Jeff Obermeyer, On Point
"Although war is as much a matter of art as of science, military planning cannot succeed without an understanding of the technical issues that can make or break operations. O'Hanlon, one of the nation's top defense analysts, has performed a service by writing a book that introduces the complexities of budgeting, logistics, combat simulation, and military technologies. The strength of this work is the way it explains the reasoning behind commonly used models and analytic devices, links assumptions to results, and emphasizes the limitations inherent to the tools of defense analysis."--Choice
"Academics and bureaucrats concerned with Australia's defence would do well to read it. Even military officers familiar with operations research will find the book a useful compendium of practical defence analysis. And for those officers without such a background, The Science of War should be compulsory reading--equally so for students who aspire to work on defence issues inside or outside of government."--Mark Thomson, Australian Army Journal
"[T]he military analytical thinking developed in The Science of War is a key starting point for any comprehensive effort to address defense and warfare matters."--Nicolo Sartori, International Spectator
From the Inside Flap
"Timely, thoughtful, and full of insight. A signal contribution to the field. O'Hanlon's textbook will enable the reader to make sense of a complex, arcane, and hugely important area. It features a superb methodology certain to help make defense analysis more rigorous and more structured. A must-read for those in the defense arena."--General David H. Petraeus, U.S. Army
"This book is a miracle of exposition that makes arcane topics of military analysis both understandable and highly engaging. One of its great strengths is its commonsense modesty, showing how scientific methods in defense analysis are critical to understanding combat yet how they must be complemented by an understanding of the art, history, and politics of warfare. I have no doubt this book will become a staple in security studies."--Harold A. Feiveson, Princeton University
"Never has informed civilian participation in defense policy been more important, but rarely do college or graduate school courses provide the background necessary for civilians to play their needed role. InThe Science of War, O'Hanlon crystallizes insight from his years of practicing defense analysis at the highest level and teaching it in several of the nation's finest universities to lay out the landscape of analytical issues in a uniquely comprehensive way."--Stephen Biddle, Council on Foreign Relations
"Michael O'Hanlon is one of the top defense analysts in the United States, andThe Science of War is an essential guide to the planning and budgetary issues that have shaped American defense. It is clearly written, replete with insightful examples, and takes on the vexing questions that confront military strategists. The defense policy debate has often been influenced more by polemics than hardheaded analysis.The Science of War is a useful corrective and fills an enormous gap."--Michael R. Gordon, coauthor ofCobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq
"Although Clausewitz remains the font of wisdom on war, defense policy for a modern superpower cannot be made responsibly without a range of knowledge about the technocratic complexities of budget tradeoffs, technological alternatives, combat simulation, and logistics. This book is the first to illustrate these issues for audiences outside the Pentagon and gives them better grounds for debating program choices and deciding 'how much is enough.'"--Richard K. Betts, Columbia University
"A very interesting and valuable read. The Science of War explores in operational detail the broad areas that comprise, among other topics, the economics of national security. People who read this book will learn a great deal about very different parts of defense analysis."--Michael J. Meese, United States Military Academy
"This is a significant contribution to the field. The Science of War is a thorough and carefully researched explication and explanation of the public-policy tools for analyzing defense issues. It comes at a time when we have some major defense-policy debates ahead of us. I am not aware of anything quite like this book in the field of defense studies."--Robert H. Dorff, United States Army War College
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The weakest chapter in the book is titled, "Technical Issues in Defense Analysis" that is an exposition on the role of technology and innovation in defense analysis. Now O'Hanlon does provide reasonably good discussions of missile defense issues (a current hot button) and nuclear weapons in this chapter. But he also demonstrates a particularly poor understanding of the what he dismissively refers to as "nifty new gadgetry" and the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). In point of fact, the concept of information driven command and control systems (command, control, computer, communication, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C4ISR)) are integral to successful counter-insurgency operations and to waging asymmetrical war in general (including counter-terrorism). C4ISR systems represent an evolutionary not revolutionary development yet the RMA was the catalyst in their implementation. Network Centric Warfare(NCW) is not as O'Hanlon would have it, a phrase describing " a variant of RMA theory", but is a deployed system representing the latest evolution of the Combat Information Center (CIC) and represents the latest effort by the U.S. Navy to manage a geometrically increasing amount of relevant information. O'Hanlon also appears to be behind the power curve on Information Operations (IO) which he refers to as "effect based operations" and like NCW seems to think it represents theory not practice. This is nonsense and suggests O'Hanlon might want to review the current literature on both subjects. Overall a useful book, but one that would have been better had O'Hanlon made more of an effort to explain how the Information Revolution and its attendant "nifty gadgetry" has impacted on defense analysis in the 21st Century.
"The Science of War" is a very sound, accessible text book that stresses the importance of scientific methods as an essential complementary component of defense analysis. It's about the technical preparation required to be ready for combat. In the end this book strives and succeeds in explaining to the layperson the immense challenges and the need to refine and develop improved quantitative tools in defense policy analysis. Author and defense and foreign policy specialist Michael E. O'Hanlon provides the reader with methodologies for military analysis and how it applies to many defense policy matters. This 280-page book is broken out into four chapters: I. Defense Budgeting and Resource Allocation, Modeling Combat and Sizing Forces, III. Logistics and Overseas Bases and IV. Technical Issues and Defense Analysis.
1. As well-cited and referenced a book as you will find.
2. Well written and straight to the point.
3. Accessible book for the general reader who has interest in the military and technical elements of defense policy.
4. The author focuses strictly on the topics of the book without getting into partisan politics; it is a text book after all.
5. Provides a very helpful introduction to general defense matters.
6. A good look at how defense dollars are spent. How the money is defined and how it's categorized. America's budget as it relates to the rest of the world. "Most defense dollars go to one of two main activities in the United States: preparing forces for combat and other missions over the long term, through research and development and procurement of weaponry as well as other efforts".
7. Good use of tables to help the reader grasp the concepts. Cost estimate of major equipment in millions as an example.
8. The challenges to grasp deployment costs. The methods used to assist the defense budget. The limitations of these methods. The estimates that result from these methods.
9. One of the biggest strengths of this book is the countless number of scenarios/examples provided in which the reader can apply some of the concepts presented. O'Hanlon does a wonderful job of asking practical questions and even better at analyzing them. Kudos.
10. A chapter devoted to modeling combat and sizing forces. Understanding the complexity of it, the variables involved and the need to get better at it. The considerations taken when assessing whether or not to go to war.
11. I enjoyed a lot of the more tactical discussions of the book. As an example, the vulnerabilities of large assets like ships to approach a defender's shores.
12. The always interesting topic of technology trends.
13. Many interesting international scenarios and conflicts of note discussed. As examples, Pakistan-India and Taiwan-China.
14. An interesting look at the daunting aspect of logistics involved with tactical mobility. The author divides logistics issues into two broad categories: transportation and bases. The general challenges of overseas military operations. The main ways to move people and supplies.
15. A look at basing. The American base network abroad. Identifying the crucial bases by global importance.
16. Basic understanding of scientific and technical issues in defense policy that are essential for policymakers.
17. Examples of how understanding basic military principles and technologies can inform policy debate.
18. The technical revolution of military affairs (RMA) in perspective. "Decisions about when to wage war, whom to fight and whom not to fight, which interests to defend and which interests to recognize as indefensible must be informed by the technical and doctrinal realities of warfare".
19. The three approaches to understanding the degree to which modern technology is the driver behind how humans battle each other.
20. The computer age in perspective and a discussion of key areas of technology. Trends and future opportunities. Great stuff.
21. The links worked fantastically which was crucial for a book like this. The author also provided a bibliography at the end of each chapter.
1. The writing style can be dry; typical of text books.
2. The science of war is very complex. Some topics will still elude the general reader. Some of the models can be challenging to comprehend.
3. There are a limited number of charts and illustrations in the appendix but not one that captures a list of all the wars and battles and the methodologies used.
4. Some additional resources would have enhanced the educational experience; a flowchart of the budgetary cycle and how it pertains to the department of defense.
5. I enjoyed the chapter on technical issues but wanted more.
6. Readers would have benefitted from a chapter or appendix on introductory weapons and large assets.
In summary, this is a really solid and helpful book. Although intended as a text book I find this book to be accessible and useful to the general reader. O'Hanlon does a good job of providing insight into the complex world of defense policy. The book provides the methodologies and techniques used to develop budgets, model combat sizes and discusses technical issues and the logistics involved. I also enjoyed the section on defense technology. It provides many practical and topical examples and in doing so helps the readers grasp the concepts presented. Though wanting more and some minor reservations, this is a very useful book for any general reader interested in technical matters as it relates to defense policy. I recommend it.