American combat effectiveness in the Gulf War suggested that a historic revolution in military affairs (RMA) is underway, possibly solving many of the strategic dilemmas the United States faces in the post-Cold War world. Inspired by this notion, a small group of RMA analysts has emerged. So far they have concentrated on defining and describing military revolutions. Now broader theoretical and policy issues must be addressed. The notion of military revolutions grew from Soviet writing of the 1970s and 1980s. Early studies talked of a military technical revolution? (MTR), but this quickly evolved into the more holistic concept of revolutions in military affairs. Most analysts define a RMA as a discontinuous increase in military capability and effectiveness arising from simultaneous and mutually supportive change in technology, systems, operational methods, and military organizations. The current RMA is characterized by four types of changes: ·extremely precise, stand-off strikes; ·dramatically improved command, control, and intelligence; ·information warfare; and ·nonlethality. Analysts see a number of benefits from harnessing the current revolution in military affairs and using it to build 21st century U.S. armed forces: ·rejuvenating the political utility of military power; ·delaying the emergence of a peer competitor; ·providing a blueprint for technology acquisition and force reorganization; and, ·inspiring conceptual, forward-looking thinking.
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