here come times throughout history where military innovations or shifts in the character of warfare take great revolutionary leaps, allowing those able to reap their benefits first to position themselves at a substantive competitive advantage. Militaries that identify and exploit these periods of disruptive changes make major shifts in the balance of power, security, and prosperity for their nations. Those who fail to do so, or fail to adapt to change, risk exposing their country to danger. What will the next big thing in warfare be? And how can militaries successfully adapt to meet the challenge? The Origins of Victory: How Disruptive Military Innovation Determines the Fates of Great Powers provides an authoritative take and the necessary foundation for healthy speculation.
Military strategist Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr. discusses military revolutions—or shifts in the character of warfare—and specifically the most recent precision warfare revolution which is currently reaching its maturity.
According to Krepinevich, an even newer revolution is emerging. This is fueled by the advances of commercial and military-driven technology, such as AI 3D manufacturing, synthetic biology and quantum computing, and directed energy and hypersonic weapons, and is accelerated by the competition between the U.S., Russia, and China.
The precision warfare revolution was introduced by the U.S. military in the First Gulf War. It gave the U.S. a monopoly over this form of warfare for several decades, but now other powers such as China have these capabilities.
In this era of increased competition amongst great powers, The Origins of Victory, first gives a preliminary assessment of the disruptive changes occurring in general war to identify the existing characteristics of the precision warfare regime, and goes on to offer speculation of the overlapping successor revolution.
Second, The Origins of Victory examines the crucial factor of how military organizations have successfully anticipated and exploited disruptive changes in warfare faster than their rivals.
The book consists of two parts. In Part I, Krepinevich considers the characteristics of the emerging competitive environment through trends over the years and identifies the ones that may show yield in the future. He discusses the maturing precision warfare and the overlapping new revolution, as well as their implication for deterrence.
Part II focuses on the strategic importance of being the first to identify and exploit a military revolution’s potential. Krepinevich argues that this is largely linked to a military’s innovative capabilities; however, it was the militaries that went beyond the bounds of mere innovation which changed the fate of nations.
Krepinevich identifies the qualities that enable a military organization’s ability to pursue disruptive innovation on a high level by examining the military organizations that have succeeded in doing so.
The Origins of Victory: How Disruptive Military Innovation Determines the Fates of Great Powers provides an excellent source to understand, follow, and foretell the major developments in the characteristics of warfare. More importantly, it helps experts spot the factors in the structure of a military organization that determine the competence to make disruptive innovations, and also predict the prospective changes that great powers and aspiring powers need to pursue in order to deter one another.
Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., The Origins of Victory: How Disruptive Military Innovation Determines the Fates of Great Powers (Yale University Press, 2023) ISBN: 9780300234091, 568 pages
Written by Dilara Özer