Time for innovation
July-September 2014

  Transforming Military Power since the Cold War: Britain, France and the United States, 1991-2012  
By Theo Farrell, Sten Rynning and Terry Terriff 
(Cambridge University Press, 2013, 318pp)

Reviewed by Adhi Priamarizki

Military transformation has become a controversial mantra in determining success on the battlefield and in war. The debate about the sources of military transformation itself creates divisions among military transformation theorists. Nonetheless, rather than jump into the debate, the authors of the book clearly state that they want to strengthen the military transformation theory. By examining the armies of three NATO countries (Britain, France and the United States), Farrell, Rynning, and Terriff try to define the sources of transformation.

They choose the army as a focus point, as this branch has been central to the wars of Western nations since the dawn of the new Millennium. They describe Western militaries as operating in an environment characterized by profound strategic and sociotechnological change, namely the end of the Cold War, the rise of networked computers and expeditionary warfare.

The book finds that the British, French and US armies set out to transform by developing forces that are modular, medium-weight and networked. The authors conclude that in all three cases, transformation was expedited by two external factors: strategic change after the Cold War and sociotechnological change accompanying the information technology revolution. In contrast to previous military innovation studies, the book defines external elements as opportunities for militaries to realize they must be innovative to get past perennial obstacles.

Strategic change

Please login to leave a comment