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Lifting the Fog of War

'Lifting the Fog of War' cover image

Lifting the Fog of War

"Owens makes a compelling case that... the U.S. is not adequately preparing for the battles of the future."—Jay Winik, Wall Street Journal

Is the United States an exhausted superpower? Recent military operations in Iraq, Somalia, and Kosovo have resulted in defeat or stalemate. America's key weaponry is fast becoming obsolete, and its men and women in uniform are disenchanted. Yet the U.S. remains committed to a wide variety of conflicts around the world and is increasingly confronted by threats against which traditional military power will be ineffective.

As Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Clinton administration, Admiral Bill Owens saw the challenges facing the U.S. military firsthand. In this trenchant, fascinating, and forward-looking book, Owens explains the full extent of the military crisis and proposes bold new solutions to revolutionize the armed services. Instead of spending trillions of dollars to update obsolete weapons systems, he argues, the Department of Defense should take advantage of recent advances in computing, communications, and satellite technology and bring our military into the Information Age. These changes—collectively known in defense circles as the Revolution in Military Affairs or RMA—would transform the way that America wages war, bringing about a smaller, stronger, and more flexible military better able to monitor enemy forces in real time and thereby counter the "fog of war" that has bedeviled commanders throughout history. Lifting the Fog of War offers both an insider's account of today's armed forces and a vital blueprint for a more effective and affordable military tomorrow. For the paperback edition, the author has written a new preface about the Bush administration's attitudes toward military reform.