IFS Info no. 8/2006
Title: The RMA Examined
Author: Jeremy Black
Revolutions in Military Affairs (RMA) is the notion that development has taken the form of giant leaps caused by political, technological or organisational innovations. But how useful is RMA as a concept in historical analysis? This study examines the use of RMA as an analytic tool. Black lays down a variety of different definitions and understandings of the term, and points out a set of problems in the use of the term. RMA is at once description, analysis, prospectus and mission, and Black argues that the failure to distinguish between these different aspects surrounds the term with confusion. On these grounds, he argues that RMA has limited value as an analytic tool, and applies for caution in the use and application of both the term and concept.
Jeremy Black(b. 1955) Black was an undergraduate at Cambridge where he obtained a Starred First. He was on the staff at Durham University from 1980-95 and has held the established Chair in History at Exeter since 1996. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts and holds an MBE. His books include War and Society 1450-2000; War Past, Present and Future; Rethinking Military History; and The British Seaborne Empire