Innovating for Defeat:Regressions in Military Affairs Generated by the Impact of         Strategic Culture on Military Inn...
Innovating for Defeat:  Regressions in Military Affairs Generated by the Impact of              Strategic Culture on Milit...
Given the multiple goals of the research, a two- tiered research design wasselected. Built on case study methodology, the ...
The contributions of this study to the research of military innovation areseveral. First, by drawing attention to a hither...
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Robert c. castel innovating for defeat - ph.d. dissertation - abstract

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Robert c. castel innovating for defeat - ph.d. dissertation - abstract

  1. 1. Innovating for Defeat:Regressions in Military Affairs Generated by the Impact of Strategic Culture on Military Innovation By: Robert C. Castel Supervised by: Prof. Uri Bar-Joseph A THESIS SUBMITTED FOR THE DEGREE “DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY” University of Haifa Faculty of Social Sciences School of Political Sciences February, 2012Recommended by: _________________ Date: ___________________ (Advisor)Approved by: _____________________ Date: ___________________ (Chairman of Ph.D. Committee) I
  2. 2. Innovating for Defeat: Regressions in Military Affairs Generated by the Impact of Strategic Culture on Military Innovation Robert C. Castel Abstract The research of military change in general and the research of militaryinnovation in particular are characterized by a prevailing tendency of seeingmilitary change as a unidirectional phenomenon, equating implicitly or explicitlychange with progress. With most of the research interest directed at the rate of thechange (setting partisans of Military Revolutions and Revolutions in MilitaryAffairs against those who regard it as mostly evolutionary), its direction hashitherto received little attention. However, history seems to suggest that change isnot always unidirectional, and military innovation can, under certain conditions,generate regressions. This study seeks to understand and explain why and underwhat conditions military innovations generate regressive outcomes. By answeringthis question I will attempt to challenge the prevailing unidirectional perspective,propose a more accurate and more refined typology of the dynamics of militarychange, and offer new insights about the possible dangers of certain innovatorypractices. V
  3. 3. Given the multiple goals of the research, a two- tiered research design wasselected. Built on case study methodology, the first tier offers a collection ofdescriptive cases, while the second tier is built around the structured-focusedcomparison of two major cases studies, containing several building block cases. Inorder to establish the correlation between the main variables, John Stuart Millsmethod of comparison of most similar cases was used. The discovery of causalchains, conditions and causal mechanisms was facilitated by the use of the processtracing method. Last, recognizing the inherent limitations of case study research,extensive use was made of within-case comparisons, comparisons to synchroniccases and counterfactual analysis. The findings of this research indicate that regressive innovations are not anuncommon phenomenon, nor are they limited to a certain level of conflict, nation,historical era etc. The evaluation of the explanatory power of the existing schoolsof thought suggests that structural-realist explanations are not very useful forexplicating regressive innovations. Second, by applying societal explanations to theproblem it was found that this studys empirical findings challenge the existingmodel, turning its logic on its head. Third, organizational explanations were foundnot very effective in explaining historical cases, predating bureaucracies and civil-military relations in their modern sense. Finally, it was the explanation based onstrategic culture, belonging to the less developed cultural approach that was foundmost effective in explaining regressive innovations. The analysis of the two majorcases compared seems to confirm my research hypothesis that military innovationsmay generate regressive outcomes whenever strategic culture contains coreelements (values, beliefs, norms etc.) that are conflicting with militaryeffectiveness. VI
  4. 4. The contributions of this study to the research of military innovation areseveral. First, by drawing attention to a hitherto neglected phenomenon, that ofregressive innovation, it offers a more accurate and more refined perspective onmilitary innovation. Second, by developing and diversifying the existing typologyof the possible outcomes of military innovation, it opens further ground for moreresearch. Third, it draws attention to the coexistence and co-evolution of severalcompeting strategic cultures in the same country and to the ways in which theircomplex interactions influence military innovation. It also emphasizes thedisproportionate sensitivity of strategic level innovations to the influences ofstrategic culture(s). On the practical level, it seeks to prompt decision makers tore-think the significance of strategic culture(s) in which the emerging innovation isnested. It also urges them to confront the fact that innovation is not necessarilysynonymous with an increase in military effectiveness and that it is perfectlypossible for a country to innovate itself into defeat. VII

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