October 17, 2003
Globalization-or the spread of information and information technologies, along with greater public participation in economic and political processes-is transforming every aspect of human affairs, to include war. Yet, it is not clear that we fully understand how the forces of globalization might be affecting the nature of war. Or that we fully understand the nature of war itself. These are more than academic questions, since the nature of a thing tends to define how it can and cannot be used. The Clausewitzian Trinity-made up of the subordinating or guiding influence (policy), the play of chance and probability, and the force of enmity or basic hostility-remains a valid model for understanding the nature of war. From this perspective, globalization is strengthening the role that politics plays in war by affording political leaders the capability to exert greater real-time control over military operations. And, contrary to expectations, the increased flow of information attributed to globalization may simply intensify the play of chance and probability, rather than enhance knowledge and situational awareness. Finally, globalization makes the forces of hostility more critical in the conduct of war. Political leaders can now mobilize hostile passions more quickly and over a larger area than hitherto, particularly among cultures attempting to resist the spread of globalization.
Lieutenant Colonel Antulio J. Echevarria II is a U.S. Army officer currently assigned as the Director of National Security Affairs in the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1981, was commissioned as an armor officer, and has held a variety of command and staff assignments in Germany and Continental US. He has also served as an assistant professor of European history at the U.S. Military Academy, as the Squadron S3 (Operations Officer) of 3/16 Cavalry, as Chief of BN/TF and Bde Doctrine at the U.S. Army Armor Center at Fort Knox, as a researcher in the Army After Next project at HQ TRADOC, Ft. Monroe, Va., and as a speechwriter for the U.S. Army Chief of Staff. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army War College, and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Princeton University. His book, After Clausewitz: German Military Thinkers before the Great War, was published by the University Press of Kansas (2001). He also published articles in a number of scholarly and professional military journals to include The Journal of Strategic Studies, The Journal of Military History, War in History, War & Society, Naval War College Review, Parameters, Joint Force Quarterly, Royal United Services Institute, Military Review, Airpower Journal, Marine Corps Gazette, and Military History Quarterly