Adamsky (2010): Culture of Military Innovation

Dima Adamsky discusses the intellectual history of the revolution in military affairs (RMA) in Russia, the US, and Israel.

Title: The Impact of Cultural Factors on the Revolution in Military Affairs in Russia, the US, and Israel.
Author: Dima Adamsky
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Published: 2010
Number of pages: 248 pages
ISBN: 978-0804769518


This book studies the impact of cultural factors on the course of military innovations. Although one would expect that countries accustomed to similar technologies would undergo analogous changes in the perception of warfare, the intellectual history of the revolution in military affairs (RMA) in Russia, the US, and Israel indicates the opposite.

The US developed technology and weaponry for about a decade without reconceptualizing the existing paradigm about the nature of warfare. Soviet “new theory of victory” represented a conceptualization which chronologically preceded technological procurement. Israel was the first to utilize the weaponry on the battlefield, but was the last to develop a conceptual framework that acknowledged its revolutionary implications. Utilizing primary sources that had previously been completely inaccessible, and borrowing methods of analysis from political science, history, anthropology, and cognitive psychology, this book suggests a cultural explanation for this puzzling transformation in warfare.

Adamsky illustrates how the differences in strategic cultures account for the various ways in which military innovations, based on similar technologies, developed in the US, Russia, and Israel. Under the rubric of strategic culture, he addresses social structure, cognitive styles, strategic mentality, organizational approach to innovations, culture of war, structure of the military bureaucracy, attitude to technology, and approach to weapons procurement.

Though framed in the context of specific historical experience, the insights of this book reveal important implications related to conventional, sub-conventional, and nonconventional security issues and are relevant for practitioners, scholars, teachers, and students of security studies. The cultural analysis outlined in this work can clarify other aspects of current security developments that might seem puzzling and counterintuitive. Application of this analytical approach does not predict strategic behavior of international security actors, but offers a smart, systematic, and thorough way to think about it.


About the author
Dima Adamsky
is a fellow at the National Security Studies Program at Harvard University. He has been a visiting fellow at the Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University, and was guest researcher at the IFS in 2008 and 2009. While at the IFS Adamsky published American Strategic Culture and the US Revolution in Military Affairs in the IFS series Defence and Security Studies.


Publisert 5. april 2010 14:05.. Sist oppdatert 3. august 2015 08:18.