Cover: Military Reengineering Between the World Wars

Military Reengineering Between the World Wars

Published Mar 3, 2005

by Brett Steele


Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.4 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback102 pages $18.00

This study analyzes the contrasting military responses of various militaries to the internal combustion engine between World War I and World War II. The Italian, British, and American armies adopted the tank but left basic military processes intact. The French army, virtually all of the naval forces, and the U.S. Army Air Corps changed their processes (i.e., reengineered) but based their work on fallacious strategic assumptions. The Red Army, the German Wehrmacht, and the U.S. Marine Corps, despite relatively successful reengineering attempts, discovered serious shortfalls when their new forces were exposed to combat but were able to use feedback to correct the errors of their peacetime reengineering efforts. For the Germans, however, such feedback came too late to avoid catastrophic defeat. Five conditions are necessary for successful military reengineering: a willingness to exploit new technological opportunities systematically; the ability to anticipate and prepare for the range of future strategic demands; securing sufficient resources (financial, material, and human) for the reengineering process-both externally from civilian political authorities and internally from the military ranks; the ability to balance the skilled, traditional warrior and the scientific or rational analyst; and the ability to objectively diagnose weaknesses in the reengineered processes and to proceed to correct them expeditiously. The countries’ experiences have lessons for modern-day efforts to transform U.S. military forces.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.