The late military historian Sir Michael Howard likened the role of service chiefs—those responsible for preparing their institutions for future contests—to that of a “sailor navigating by dead reckoning. You have left the terra firma of the last war and are extrapolating from the experiences of that war.” Howard realized that the greater the distance from the last war, the greater the risk in getting this difficult calculation right.
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Dr. Frank Hoffman is a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, Center for Strategic Research at National Defense University.