Tofflerian "RMA" Firepower versus Heinlein/Fehrenbachian/Van Crevaldian "4GW" Maneuver: which is right for 21st century combat?
To understand the direction the U.S. Army is headed in, you need to read two books, Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" and Alvin and Heidi Toffler's "War and Anti-War". If this doesn't alarm you, that reading sound wisdom like Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is not required to understand the current U.S. Army's technotactical course charted, it should alarm you. To understand the true 21st century conflict arena, you must read Martin Van Crevald's "The Transformation of War". Since you may not have read the above books, I will summarize.
Aside for the neo-fascist bitterness of Heinlein wanting a society where only military veterans can vote and hold elected office, Starship Troopers written in 1959 (!) is about Super-Infantry dropped from space like Paratroopers in capsules, that have power suits enabling situational awareness (SA) through shared communications and increased firepower and mobility by armor and a "jump" capability to fly short distances for 3D positional maneuver advantage.
The force structure is all teeth, no tail "everybody fights, everybody works" egalitareanism where subordinates are powered down with the ability to take the initiative. This action and sense of shared adventure is what attracts our best young men to join the U.S. Army, and is why Starship Troopers has been one of the most, if not THE most beloved book at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where idealism is still a virtue. The Army is well underway towards a primitive "Starship Trooper" with its digitized 21st Century Land Warrior program for the dismounted Soldiers of our Army.
Another book with the same emphasis on ground MANEUVER is T.R. Fehrenbach's "This Kind of War" which bitterly recounts how the air strike firepower mentality failed in the mud and mountains of Korea in 1950-53. Reading this in conjunction with Van Crevald's Transformation of War, you soon realize man is in the 4th Generation of War (4GW) where the battle is over the MIND and loyalty of the people themselves. Whereas 1st generation warfare was hand-to-hand implements, the 2d machines as in firearms, the 3rd maneuver to collapse enemy organizational structures, the 4th generation strategem seeks the dominant will. In 4GW, ALL previous manifestations of war are still in play as possible courses of action.
In contrast, Alvin and Heidi Toffler's War and Anti-War (WAAW) is a very popular book with senior U.S. military leaders who ride around in staff cars a lot surrounded by yes-men staffs and spend little unscripted time with the troops. WAAW offers us an illusion of painless war because we are in an alleged enlightened "third wave" of civilization where computers (mentalism) replaces the physical (2d Wave) as "industrial age" and passe'. Even though we still live in a world that has to grow food to eat (1st wave) and live in physical bodies requiring the physical resources of our earth (2nd wave), the Tofflers offer us a hubristically labeled "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA) feast full of expensive stand-off firepower munitions that ironically were condemned as unsound, unworkable tactics and strategy in Starship Troopers even as far back as 1959! The recent ground MANEUVER victory in Iraq has not fazed the Tofflerians, they simply ignore by convenient "spin" the 99.9% reality and say that we need to spend more money on expensive guided munitions, launched from sexy, expensive aircraft, soon unmanned ones; all designs of civilian DoD technowonks who never served a day in a uniform. See the DoD news story below. Never mind that it was several divisions worth of Army and marine troops marching on Baghdad with some flying in from the north that compelled the Iraqi regime to collapse---the Tofflerians don't want any money going to these big units, they want ALL DoD monies poured into their gold-plated munitions which they can create so they can act as quasi-generals. The Toffler's "snake oil" is just what risk-averse politicians, wannabe civilian technowonks and power-hungry generals would want: a force that doesn't employ large terrain-controlling maneuver which requires trusting lots of young men on the scene making decisions, but a top-down bombardment of the enemy using digital mental means fired from small groups of sexy but expendible special forces teams or small units some in emasculated VEHICLES like the fragile rubber-tired Lav3stryker armored car and the proposed Future Combat System (FCS) for the mounted Soldiers of our Army to get into the mouse-clicking firepower act. Whereas Heinlein's Starship Troopers have stand-off firepower means on their power suits (but no ground vehicles to more efficiently do this--a flaw in the book) they never assume that these things replace physical ground maneuver which the "Mobile Infantry" does to ro