From ancient struggle for independence, World War I, World War II, to the Gulf War and from John Hanson in 1781 to Barrack Obama in 2008, military organizations have remained significant. Many states and personalities especially in political and presidential positions have gained fame and dominance in the world by use of the military. In other words, it is a defense unit that plays a pivotal role in history. It ensures the security well being of a given country through border guarding and fostering of good international relationships. It is however important to note that when used for selfish gain, military groups can turn out to be dangerous. Countless leaders have been toppled and lives lost due to misuse of military power not only in Africa or in the United States but throughout the world. To gain fame dominance and guarantee full time security leaders continually improve and strengthen their militaries. One of the ways this is done is by use of military innovations. These innovations attempt to set an operational pace which address ever rising security threats and changing criminal trends. This paper explores some of the factors that affect military innovation without considering technology which has dominated innovation in many other sectors.
Military innovation a key factor linked to strategic competition. In moments of security threats and danger, many countries and leaders turn to innovators, looking for new and competitive ways of expanding and strengthening their national power. Groundwork framework is essential before making military innovations as major national priority project. This is because of the effect and cost involved which may drastically affect the economy and general operations of a country. Many countries like the United Sates there are various massive challenges which lay a head even as it considers military innovations as a matter of not only national priority but also national security. It has been faced with non existence of peer competitors in its operations for a very long time, operates in an uncertain world where criminal and terrorist attack threats are extremely common. With the current economic recession, there are manifold global issues which capture the attention of many countries with constrained budgets and the task of knowing what, when and how to innovate (Horowitz, 2010). It is therefore clear that military innovation debates face natural opposition from numerous corners which address issues of setting priorities, having a sound system of governance with vision and fostering strategies which augment change.
What prompts innovation? Mandeles (2002) argues that human beings have always lived with innovation. This desire to carry out tasks in a different way is usually triggered by the need for better results to counteract the effect of existing challenges. Mandeles further affirms that although change is very important in military operations, it does not always become certified to be considered as innovation. Since innovation refers to effecting of a change or introduction to introduce something new, every military organization needs it (Mandeles, 2002). With comparison to early days, Mandeles notes that the world has continued to experience military innovations at a faster rate compared to what transpired before the twentieth century when relatively low attention was accorded military advancement. It is obvious that current military operations, tactics and strategy implementation are significantly different compared to what happened in the ninetieth century when weaponry innovation was quite minimal. Why then is that military innovation was not common in the passed several centuries? Wasn’t there need for states and leaders to invest in military innovations? Was this approach caused by insufficient resources? Definitely, there are reasons which limited military innovations. These factors ranged from inadequate technology to innovate to lack of military completion and fight for supremacy among different states and leaders in the world.
As noted by many experts and analysts, technology has led to huge innovative ideas which have resulted into exponential development and drift in various aspects of life. These range from information and technology discoveries in which the internet has recently dominated to military operations which employ high tech tools and response strategies. With regard to military organizations, advancement in weaponry has been on the fore front with many states engaging high skilled researchers and experts in both air and marine operations (Mandeles, 2002). It is however noted that other factors have also influenced military innovations for a very long time some of which leading to massive loss of innocent lives.
Military Innovation in the Interwar Period
Among other factors which have influenced military innovation include but not limited to competition between countries, the impact of war in human community with focus on World War I and World War II, and the numerous changes within military structures which have taken place with elapse of time (Posen, 1984). There are countless literature works which have been documented covering ideas of experts who have keenly examined the foundation of disruptive innovations which have continued to rock the world, shaking its security pillars. Although these ideas covering military innovation belong to a wider spectrum, they both narrow down to two theories: organizational theory and the balance of power theory. These theories give detailed explanation regarding the behavior of different states in the world. According to theorists who support balance power theory, actions taken by a state are usually due to lucid thoughts considered by state leaders. On the other hand, organizational theory experts affirm that such actions are mainly based upon ordinary trends of behavior as opposed to debatable set of choices. Nevertheless, these schools of thought largely correlate with each other in comprehending the mentioned three factors which influence military innovations in the world with an exception of technology.
As noted by Barry Posen in his 1984 research, military innovation is closely related to si0gnificant changes which take place especially at international level based on competition which exists between countries and power. As a result, there is usually an external force in the form of a threat and civilian interference as the mega determinants of military innovation in the current world. There is weighty explanation linked to competition between nations as compared to organizational theory described by other theorists. This therefore plays a significant role in influencing a government’s or military organizations’ position concerning military innovation. The ability of a nation to get either fully or partially involved in military innovation depends mightily on its security environment (Posen, 1984). Due to the rational behavior of states, they frequently react to insecurity cases or threats by strengthening the external balance they enjoy by wooing allies. These allies help in establishing a concrete military ground that is able to favorably counterattack the effect post by the threat or dreadful environment. Additionally, some states react to insecurity signals by improving their internal balance. This is done through improvement and reinforcement of the military mainly through innovation. To hit their targets most these states introduce new skills, ideas and weaponry in stabilizing its internal military capability.
On the other hand, when the level of insecurity is at bay and well contained, civilian leaders are usually satisfied with any improvement which may be adopted by military organizations. Nevertheless, high insecurity levels and threats cause a direct increment in incentive to acquire destructive innovation. It is worth noting that in such cases; civilian leaders may also take an active role in auditing and enforcing such disruptive innovation. According to Rosen 1984, civilian intervention may produce different military innovation through security officers and agents he refers to as “mavericks” (Posen, 1984). Such officers provide civilians with relevant skills and information needed together with an individual who can lead the organization towards achieving the goal. Generally, the level of security determines the position of civilians.
Moreover, military innovations which continue to be experienced in the world are also as a result of changes which take place in military structures. Based on organizational theory, military groups have the ability and potential of developing their own military innovations. Although security levels influence the operations of military organizations, innovations is usually realized when units of service strive to dominate in guaranteeing security at a given period of time (Rosen, 1994). When such abilities overlap, what is experienced is competition from senior military officers who end up controlling quarrels which arise. There usually is a high possibility of military innovation to be witnessed when an upcoming insecurity issue is backed by senior officers and approved by civilians. Innovation in the military calls for specific paths which are aimed to instill reform spirit in the mind of other leaders. To achieve innovative support, senior officers usually challenge the old military structures and give suggestions of other structures which need to be considered in ensuring state security.
The effects of war on the society also influence military innovations in a very significant way. War creates an environment that is conducive for innovation because of countless threats it offers. As a result, senior military officers use such environmental situation in pushing the need for military innovation in containing war in the society (Rosen, 1994). Whether a state innovates or stagnates, it is pretty clear that the impact of war is quite significant. Since war creates an imbalance in military ability, it has power to cause innovation due to internal dynamics. Generally, military innovations are quite significant in understanding security patterns in the world. However, the innovation path depends on a number of factors; not only technology but also competition between countries, the impact of war in human community with focus on World War I and World War II, and the numerous changes within military structures.