Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Military Strategy and the Future of Land Wars: Conversation with Major General Robert H. Scales, Jr. (U.S. Army, ret.); March 9, 2004, by Harry Kreisler, with Thomas Barnes

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Major General Robert H. Scales, Jr., U.S. Army, Retired. He is a veteran of Vietnam and a Silver Star recipient. He served over thirty years in the U.S. Army, culminating in a tour as the commandant of the United States Army War College. He is most recently the author of Yellow Smoke: The Future of Land War for America's Military, and coauthor with William Murray of The Iraq War. He is the 2004 Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Lecturer at Berkeley.

  1. Background ... military family ... early interest in military history ... dissertation on British military
  2. Doing Military Strategy ... linking to national destiny ... ideas and vision ... learning from loss ... new technologies ... need for cultural awareness
  3. The Perception of America's Weaknesses ... perceived half-heartedness ... current overreliance on technology
  4. New Demands on American Soldiers ... nation-building as a phase of war ... managing public expectations ... shifting gears overnight ... balancing technological and cultural training ... the nature of indirect command ... high responsibility at lower rank ... blind trust in computer icons
  5. Lessons of Vietnam: Hamburger Hill ... need more than firepower ... unpredictable consequences ... soldiers' tenacity ... public's post-Vietnam distaste for protracted warfare ... choosing our wars more carefully
  6. Military Strategy after 9/11 ... Americans feel more globally connected ... military's newest technological revolution ... greater need for cultural understanding ... need for more troops ... clearer definition of national interests ... help from allies ... a diffuse enemy over longer timespan ... war as a thinking man's game

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