Book Reviews

The breadth and level of coverage is unprecedented for an unclassified publication. Produced by Military Parade magazine—the glossy journal of the Russian military-industrial complex— NAVY was prepared under the "general supervision" of Fleet Admiral Felix Gromov, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, and a board of 16 senior, active-duty naval officers.

The equipment entries are relatively detailed. Each entry has a general discussion followed by characteristics. For example, for with regard to Typhoon strategic missile submarine, NAVY lists the maximum diving depth (400 meters), maximum speed (25 knots submerged), complement (160), and weapons loadout (20 RSM-52 ballistic missiles and 22 antisubmarine missiles and torpedoes), in addition to basic data on dimensions and propulsion. Beyond excellent overall and detailed external views of the Typhoon, there are interior photos of the craft. As the case with essentially all photos in the book, these are in color—crisp and clear.

The commentary on each ship, aircraft, or system varies from the general to the technical. For the Typhoon, going beyond the technical description, we are told: the officers are accommodated in comfortable double-berthed and four-berthed cabins with washstands, television sets, and air conditioners, while the seamen are accommodated in small, cozy bunk rooms. The submarine also features a gymnasium, solarium, swimming pool, sauna, pets compartment, and other things to enhance habitability.

The description of the Piranha-class midget submarine notes: two hermetic containers comprise special equipment, including individual devices for movement underwater. Divers remain in contact with the submarine, which can keep them supplied with oxygen for breathing, warmth and electricity and also ensure the functioning of hydroinstruments.

This format of commentary and characteristics is followed throughout the book. For the 53-65K wake-homing torpedo the explosive charge is listed at 305 kilograms, with a range up to 19 kilometers, and a running depth of 4-14 meters. Here again, there are drawings (cutaways and operating concepts) as well as photos. The text states that the 53-65K "is equipped with an active sonar homing system, providing vertical detection of the target-ship wake, thereby enhancing the secrecy of the attack and ensuring target pick-up."

Some of the data differ slightly from other recently published, official Russian publications. But the numbers in NAVY are close enough, if not exact, and future Western reference books on navies must take this book into consideration.

NAVY , however, does not replace traditional Western reference books. There is no discussion of the Russian Navy as a whole, and no indication of ships of existing classes or new designs under construction. The latter is a curious feature as the purpose of the Russia's Arms Catalogue series is, primarily, to advertise Russian arms production to the world military market.

Nevertheless, it is highly unlikely that foreign contracts will be forthcoming to Russian shipyards for nuclear-propelled battle cruisers or large aircraft carriers, or to the aircraft industry for outdated Be-12 Mail flying boats or Yak-38M Forger VSTOL attack aircraft. (The latter's successor, the supersonic Yak-141 is also described.) But many of the smaller ships, combat craft, aircraft weapons, and much of the equipment will be attractive to foreign buyers.

The book does have limitations, especially for the Western user. For example, U.S.-NATO code names are used only for some of the submarine entries. Rather, Russian project numbers and designations are used for ships, aircraft, and weapons. Also, the quality of the drawings is uneven; the cross-section drawing of the Typhoon submarine indicates a single main pressure hull while the description confirms the two-hull configuration (the plan and side perspective drawings appear to be accurate).

The user of NAVY will also find some ships, small craft, and weapons out of their normal order in naval reference works. But these are minor distractions. The discussions, characteristics, and, especially, the vast number of color photographs make NAVY a unique and valuable publication.

The price of NAVY (and the other books in the series) places the book beyond the reach of most individuals. Still, it should be on the shelves of every major naval activity and library where the modern Russian Navy is a matter of interest.

A frequent contributor to Proceedings , Norman Polmar was the author of four editions of the Naval Institute's Guide to the Soviet Navy. He is now compiling the first edition of the Guide to the Russian Armed Forces.

 

Citizen Warriors: America's National Guard and Reserve Forces & the Politics of National Security

Stephen M. Duncan. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1997. 243 pp. App. Ind. Notes. $24.95 ($22.45).

Reviewed by Admiral Leon A. Edney, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Stephen Duncan, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs during the last months of the Reagan administration and the full four years of George Bush's presidency, documents the heritage and importance of the "Citizen Soldier" to our national defense. He does so with clarity and insightful analysis that only an inside decision maker could bring to the complex military and political issues impacting our Guard and Reserves. He provides refreshing insight, as well, into the governmental decision-making process leading to any involuntary call-up of reserve forces, for crises involving the potential for combat operations. The book is a tribute to the courage and sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of citizen warriors who have served America so well in our Guard and Reserve over the years. They have done so—and continue to do so—out of true patriotism, selflessness, and a commitment to our highest ideals.

Stephen Duncan was the responsible civilian decision maker for the Reserve and Guard forces during the only large-scale involuntary mobilization of Guard and Reserve forces in the last 50 years. Once mobilized, these forces were sent halfway around the world to engage in combat

In Part One of Citizen Warrior , Duncan leads us through the thought process, policy considerations, and decisions associated with an involuntary mobilization of sizeable reserve forces. He documents the significance of the achievement and discusses the equally time-sensitive demobilization issues after successful war termination. Many questions existed about the nation's first involuntary mobilization in an all-volunteer force arrangement. The two most pressing questions were: "Would they come?" and "Would they be ready to fight?"

Part Two looks to the future. Stephen Duncan provides valuable insight into the policy considerations and criteria necessary to ensure a proper mix for the development of a credible total force in the new and still-evolving post-Cold War era. He voices some concerns that we not get too far afield from the mission of fighting this nation's wars, and provides a valuable check list of criteria to measure future decisions that will impact our Reserve and Guard forces.

Although there were many lessons to be learned in the call-up process, clearly, " If called, they will come !" Citizen Warrior properly focused on the question of mission readiness of the activated Reserve and Guard forces as well as the time required to become fully combat ready. Duncan pulls no punches in identifying resident bias on the part of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and other field commanders toward mix-and-match, active-duty ground forces, rather than relying on reserve round-out brigades, as called for in the Total Force Deployment plans. The measures of effectiveness used to establish warfighting readiness become less clear when one leaves the arena of individual or unit skills, and enters the world of synchronized, fast-moving, joint and combined operations. Duncan properly observes that too much of this debate is uninformed, lacks proper focus, and serves various agendas. Readiness evaluations always will have a subjective nature, and few commanders will be as comfortable with reserve units with an actual—or perceived—delta in training and preparedness that are sent to round out a division just prior to combat. He points out correctly that this is less a factor with air units and even naval assets. He highlighted the additional 60-90 days estimated as required to bring a round-out brigade up to full combat readiness before it deploys to bring to full complement the active division in the field. General Schwartzkopf was rightly concerned with the fact the reserve call-up was limited to 180 days and the fact that the enemy controlled the timing of when the battle would begin.

Fortunately, Saddam cooperated, and the ground reserve forces not only arrived in time, but met the test. Nowhere was this more evident than in the story of Bravo Company 4th Tank Battalion U.S. Marines, a reserve unit based in Yakima, Washington. Activated on 15 December 1990 and directed to transition into the new M1A1 tank at Twenty-Nine Palms before deploying to Saudi Arabia in late January, Bravo Company was on the line on 24 February, when the ground war began at 0430. The company breached and successfully passed two minefields on the first day. Just before dusk on the morning of the second day they were engaged by several columns of Iraqi [Soviet-made] T-72 tanks. The ensuing battle was quickly over. Bravo Company had surprised an entire battalion of Iraqi tanks that were moving with two mechanized infantry battalions to attack a Marine supply convoy. Without suffering a single casualty, they destroyed 30 T-72 tanks, 4 T-55 tanks, and 7 armored personnel carriers. They clearly were ready to fight and win. The world took notice that more than 246,000 American reservists were ordered to active duty for a major armed conflict more than 8,000 miles away. Clearly the logistic and warfighting capabilities that were demonstrated placed America's Total Force in a category by itself.

Stephen Duncan reminds us that the casualties of warfare do not differentiate between reserves or active components. This became all-too apparent when a Scud missile hit the barracks at Al Khalan, killing 28 reservists and wounding 98 more. Of the many valuable lessons learned, I wish Duncan had pursued the issue of medical readiness more in-depth. Only an unusually low number of combat casualties permitted us the luxury of complaining about in-theater and military medical facilities back home being underused. Similarly, just as the author criticizes the weakness in the Aspen BottomUp-Review methodology he should have pursued more thoroughly the total assessment of reserve warfighting readiness across the board-not just highlighting selective outstanding performance. Clearly, serious questions remain concerning the mental and physical readiness of large-scale reserve units to rapidly and effectively integrate with forward-deployed active forced on today's fast-moving, synchronized, joint battlefield.

In Part Two, Duncan expresses some concerns and recommends some measures of effectiveness for determining the right mix of active and reserve forces for future Total Force requirements. He points out that as we continue to downsize (and, hopefully, rightsize) our Total Force, the issue of cost-versus-effectiveness of active and reserve forces will enter the equation more and more. Since reserve forces are significantly cheaper than the active, all-volunteer force, increased dependence on reserve forces is likely. If we are going to become routinely involved in peace-making and enforcement actions like Somalia. Haiti, Bosnia, and Northern Iraq, then the active forces should be manned and resourced accordingly. While optimum capabilities of active and reserve units should be integrated to form the total force, the reserves should not be routinely activated involuntarily for actions short of a major regional crisis. Involuntary mobilization should be reserved to send a true signal of U.S. concern and resolve on issues of vital interest to the United States. Duncan agonizes over the increasing U.S. commitment to operations other than war, the related and hard-to-detect loss of total force combat skills and warrior culture, as well as the increasing intolerance for even moderate U.S. casualties. He makes a plea for the National Security Strategy to define more clearly the intended use of U.S. armed forces so that the right total force can be generated within existing cost constraints, and makes several concrete proposals to attain these objectives.

How well we understand the complex issues addressed in Citizen Warrior , in making the decisions that are required today, may well determine the comfort level of our national security for years to come.

Admiral Edney served as Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, during Desert Storm.

 

Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War

Edwin E. Moise. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. 304 pp. $34.95 ($31.45).

Reviewed by Jeffrey Record

Clemson University history professor Edwin E. Moise has written two books and integrated them beautifully. The first is an exquisitely detailed examination of what, on 4 August 1964 was a supposed second attack on U.S. warships in the Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnamese naval units. It was this attack—not the first one two days earlier—that prompted the Johnson administration to escalate U.S. involvement in Vietnam by ordering retaliatory air strikes against targets in the North, and by engineering quick congressional passage of the notorious Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

The second book is a tale of governmental duplicity and stupidity, congressional docility, and media gullibility. The Johnson White House and McNamara Office of the Secretary of Defense deceived the American people about the events of August in the Gulf of Tonkin. They also deceived themselves into believing that Hanoi lacked the interest, will, and capacity to risk a real war with the United States. The Tonkin Gulf incidents provided the pretext for threatening a sustained air campaign against North Vietnam, and that threat alone, key policymakers believed, would cow the professional revolutionaries in Hanoi into submission. Neither President Johnson nor Secretary McNamara had reason to worry about Congress or the established press, since both had sacrificed their institutional responsibilities long before, on the twin altars of Cold War conformity and Imperial Presidency worship.

Moise's painstaking analysis should put to rest once and for all, the issue of whether the 4 August attack actually took place. In contrast to the actual attack on the Maddox (DD-731) on 2 August, the subsequent officially alleged attack on the Maddox and Turner Joy (DD-951) was almost certainly a figment of the imagination of "excited witnesses" on board both ships. Moise's examination of the evidence—radar, sonar, signal intercepts, aerial reconnaissance, pilot reports, testimony of subsequently captured North Vietnamese naval personnel, and Hanoi's official statements—leads him inexorably to the conclusion that whatever the U.S. Navy thought it was shooting at on the night of 4 August 1964, it was not the North Vietnamese Navy. "The weight of the evidence is overwhelming: no attack occurred," Moise writes. "There exist rational explanations of how all the evidence of an attack could exist without there having been an attack. There do not exist rational explanations of how all the evidence of no attack could exist if there had in fact been an attack."

Indeed, the fact of an attack was doubted at the time, or within days of its "occurrence," by individuals up and down the chain of command, from the "battle" scene to the White House. But within hours of receiving the first reports, President Johnson already had decided, regardless of subsequent evidence, to use the 4 August "attack" as a pretext for long-desired escalation of hostilities, and advanced congressional approval of war against North Vietnam to be waged at the President's discretion. The war was being lost in Indochina, and the escalation crowd in Washington and Saigon (which did not include General Westmoreland, who saw the obvious: that Hanoi would reply to U.S. air attacks by escalating the communist ground war in South Vietnam) was looking for any excuse to start bombing. Even the first (2 August) attack was portrayed to the Congress and public as unprovoked, when in fact, the United States had been sponsoring commando raids against North Vietnamese targets for more than a year. The U.S. Navy was using ships like the Maddox to gather signals and other intelligence for those operations.

"By August 1964, Washington and Hanoi were already on a collision course," concludes Moise. "If reports from the Gulf of Tonkin had not caused President Johnson to order airstrikes against North Vietnam, . . . something else would have done so within a few months."

Edwin Moise has written a fine book on an important subject. Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War is must reading for anyone interested in the events of early August 1964 in both the Tonkin Gulf and Washington.

Mr. Record , formerly a professional staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is a visiting professor at the School of International Affairs of the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He served in the Mekong Delta from 1968 to 1969 as assistant province advisor.

 

The Future of War: Power, Technology, and American World Dominance in the 21st Century

George and Meredith Friedman. New York, NY: Crown 1997. 480 pp. $30.00 ($27.00).

Reviewed by Dr. Dov Zakheim

The authors of this ambitious volume have attempted to postulate, on the basis of the sweep of history beginning with David's sling, the nature of warfare as it will evolve during the next several hundred years. Their effort spans more than 450 fact-filled, crowded, yet surprisingly readable pages, and appears to be the distillation of a university course on military history and high technology.

The Friedmans contend that the current mainstays of American military power—and everyone else's—are becoming "senile." In the future, they assert "whoever controls space . . . will control the world's oceans. Whoever controls the oceans will control the patterns of global commerce. Whoever controls the patterns of global commerce will be the wealthiest power in the world. Whoever is the wealthiest power in the world will be able to control space."

The authors no doubt recognize the circuitry of their argument. Their premise is, of course, that the United States will remain the wealthiest nation in the world. Therefore, they recommend that it should expand its current dominance of space.

The Friedmans appear to be devotees of Admiral William Owens, Andrew Marshall, and others who have promulgated the onset of a revolution in military affairs. They argue at great and often repetitive length that the cost of protecting capital weapons—tanks, carriers, bombers—is becoming excessive, relative to both the cost of attacking them and the firepower they can deliver, hence their "senility." Ultimately, they assert, these capital systems will be eclipsed by force postures that will rely heavily on space-based command, control, and launch mechanisms for super-accurate hypersonic missiles, combined with new offshore base-like structures to preserve free movement of men and material across the seas. Fewer combatants actually would participate in conflict. Land forces would be organized around a virtually invulnerable infantry, supported by unmanned aerial vehicles, robots, and exotic non-line-of-sight systems.

It all sounds terribly exciting, until one realizes that the book does not exactly specify when all these developments are expected to be in place, or how the transition from current capabilities will occur. The book's title invokes the 21st century as a backdrop for new system developments. On the other hand, in discussing the relationship of a new Space Force that would compete for resources with an ultra-modern Air Force, Army, and Navy, the authors speak of budget battles 200 years hence. They even assert that the changes they have described will be the linchpin of military capabilities 250 or even 500 years from now.

Whether the authors have in mind the year 2025, 2075, or some later year is, however, of no small importance. Many of the weapons, systems, and capabilities they describe as the heart of future operations are more than mere gleams in some researcher's eye. Some currently are in concept development, and some have gone slightly further down the traditional path of research and development. The reasons they have not moved further still is budgetary—a sphere that the authors studiously avoid.

All of the services have begun examining what their force structure might look like in 2020-2030. They are finding that too many programs in place at present, will consume resources well into the 21st century. There will not be enough budgetary margin to undertake a large number of research initiatives, and, if history is any guide—and the authors rely heavily on history—few initiatives are likely to be funded if they combine radical change with huge potential expense.

Just as the supply of weaponry will be affected by domestic budgetary constraints, the demand for new systems will be a function of the evolving international political and economic environment. That environment is likely to change every bit as significantly as weaponry, and, if recent history is any indicator, probably more rapidly. For example, six decades ago, when tanks, aircraft carriers, and bombers emerged as major weapon systems in the world's militaries, Europe was driven by economic divisions and political rivalries that had been in place for centuries. Today, although those weapons still are central to U.S. and other force structures, there is a functioning European Union with former World War II antagonists France and Germany at its core. Two decades hence, tanks, carriers, and bombers no doubt will still be major components of America's force structure, but Europe will have a common currency, and perhaps a unified military as well. Under these circumstances, who can possibly assert what Europe, or for that matter Asia, might look like in 100 years? Can one predict with certainty that the United States still will be the world's richest power? Or if Europe became the world's richest entity, that sea-borne trade will be as important a component of international trade as it is today? If maritime trade is not as important in the future as at present, can anyone truly foresee who will dominate space—or whether, in any event, there would be treaties further restricting the use of space for military purposes?

All these are questions that seem to go beyond the scope of the volume, but not beyond the scope of the subject it attempts to address. Budgetary concerns may seem too mundane, and—at the other end of the spectrum—political and macroeconomic concerns may seem too grand. If they are not factored into any equation regarding the future of warfare, however, that equation will be flawed, and ultimately of little value.

There is, in fact, much value to The Future of War , both as a survey of military history and as a review of current technological trends. Unfortunately, the authors' inability to place technological change in context—one that they share with the proclivities of many defense planners—seriously undermines the book's utility as a basis both for making judgments about the future of war, and therefore, for the postulating changes in force posture over the medium and long term, in light of those judgments.

Dr. Zakheim is the chief executive officer of SPC International Corporation in Arlington, Virginia. He is the former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration.

 

 
 

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