• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Fish fight left a stench

Infanteer said:
The problem with Dunnigan's data sets is that they are almost purely quantitative.   Read Biddle's Military Power and you'll see an excellent argument that deflates the importance of Technology (systemic or dyadic) or Preponderance in IR theory.

You mean the importance of technology IN preponderance (IE the achievement thereof) in IR theory? Or that he deflates the very importance of preponderance as a primary motivation? I don't quite understand.

I thought Dunnigan took into account non-material factors but I could be wrong. He certainly has some interesting stuff in his sections on leadership and "why soldiers fight" but none of it seems revolutionary or anything. His simulation of the Gulf War was supposed to have been bang-on but that doesn't necessarily mean his predictive abilities are spectacular, given I've only ever heard of him successfully simulating one conflict.
Glorified Ape said:
You mean the importance of technology IN preponderance (IE the achievement thereof) in IR theory? Or that he deflates the very importance of preponderance as a primary motivation? I don't quite understand.

No.  Biddle attacks the two main forms of approaching Military Power in the IR field.

Preponderance theory pretty much looks at the numbers game.  It places a real emphasis on the raw, physical power of a state and basically sees economic power as equating to military power.  You get the idea.  It would look at the physical capabilities of the Soviet Union to point out how it overpowered the Germans in WWII, etc, etc.

Technology theory can be broken down into two different approaches: Systemic and Dyadic.  Systemic Technology theory looks at the general level of technology and whether it favours Offensive or Defensive tactics.  Systemic Technology theorists look at WWI and explain stalemate occurred - the technology of the time (barb wire, rapid-fire artillery, machine gun) favoured the defence.  Conversely, WWII featured things like the airplane, tank, and radio communications, which led to a much more offensive oriented war.  This outlook is used to explain why the Israelis were able to dominate their Arab opponents in 1967 and yet met a bloody repulse in 1974.

The approach of Dyadic Technology views technological advance not as systemic (ie: not favouring the defence or the offense) but rather as "levels" of sophistication for opposing states.  This is the big time theory in the US Military right now - it basically states that Military Power can be increased dramatically when one state has an exponential advantage in technological sophistication over its opponents; the US likes to use the Gulf War as an example of this.  This framework basically underlies most of the RMA junk you see out there.

Stephen Biddle does a good job of deconstructing all three of these approaches and showing that his framework of Force Employment presents a much stronger gauge for measuring state Military Power then either Preponderance or Technology approaches.  He uses both case studies and statistical analysis to show that his framework is much more consistent with the actual outcome of numerous conflicts.  He wraps it all up in a real complicated equation, which (thank goodness) he puts in an Appendix for all of us Arts-students to glance over.  I rambled on about Biddle's notion of Force Employment here:


Anyways, Dunnigan's books are good (I've went through a few versions) but they basically go through different systems and sum up the physical data on all the different facets of a state's military.  Good for a starting point in wargaming, but, as Biddle's Force Employment theory points out (and I argue in the above link), guns and butter only go so far in a conflict analysis.  If you want a definitive example, take the numbers that Dunnigan provides for Vietnam and the US and think about how that panned out.


Has it been 20 years already? 

Bumped with the anniversary today:
.... (Fisheries) Minister (Brian) Tobin and the federal cabinet then told the DFO to demonstrate Canadian resolve on the issue by "making an example" of a European Union fishing vessel. On March 9, an offshore patrol aircraft detected the Spanish stern trawler Estai in international waters outside Canada's 200 nautical mile (370 km) EEZ. Several armed DFO fisheries patrol vessels, and Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Navy support, intercepted and pursued the Estai, which cut its weighted trawl net and fled after an initial boarding attempt, resulting in a several hours' chase which ended after the Canadian Fisheries Patrol vessel Cape Roger fired a .50 calibre (12.7 mm) machine gun across the bow of the Estai. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell used high-pressure fire-fighting water cannon to deter other Spanish fishing vessels from disrupting the operation. Finally, armed DFO and RCMP officers boarded the Estai in international waters on the Grand Banks.

The Estai was escorted to St. John's, arriving with great fanfare across the province and region — and the country. Canada's federal court processed the case and the charges against the crew while Spain and the European Union protested vehemently, threatening boycotts against Canada and wishing to have the case heard at the International Court of Justice ....