Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Military Element: An Introduction

Six Elements of Power: Military

I didn’t pick this element to begin with because it is nearest and dearest to my heart (its not), but because for the purposes of this blog, it is probably the easiest to characterize to a sufficient degree.

This does not mean the Military Element is any less complex than the others; it is just that, in the United States anyway, it has some of the clearest lines drawn around it. Like a lot of free societies, we have specific charters and responsibilities that are formally and explicitly stated for the military, its structure, and its implementation. In ‘less free’ societies the purpose and activities could sometimes be generously described as ‘capricious’.

In a free society, the Military Element of a nation’s or state’s power is the sum total of ALL combat, combat support, command, control, and intelligence apparatus and resources used to project and employ armed force (sometimes violent) for the purpose of exerting the will of the nation or state on an actor or actors (external to the nation or state).

For mature national entities, the primary purpose of the Military Element is to act as a deterrent against adventurism and malice that can spring from friction with ‘less mature’ actors on the world stage. The secondary purpose is to successfully defend and promote the interests of the nation-state when that deterrence has failed.