4Understanding (1): Piercing the Fog of War in Fluid Spaces

Conducting a critical review of the RMA/Transformation amounts to examining the relationship of these documents to the nature of war – which we have done up until now – and the prime components of war, the organs that make it a living phenomenon. In this regard, “revolution” is primarily a techno-strategic confrontation between several historical constants that it hopes to at least disperse, if not totally dissolve. The first constant is the Clausewitzian concept of “fog of war”: the multitude of actors and their actions and the diversity of their abilities and intentions, from the tactical level to the political level, creates a complex, chaotic and fleeting situation, which is as difficult to understand cognitively as it is to understand practically. Following this, the second constant is an uncertainty and a deficit of structural ontological predictability. This complexity generates errors and inefficiency for armies as much affected by the sociology of organizations as by an adversary who, by definition, seeks to destroy them [COU 11, BAR 08]. The concept of “friction” takes into account the difficulty of operating in a contentious environment: “Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult”. The combination of these constants, interconnected with matters of life and death, is specific to military operations and can be summarized by A. Wavell: “war is disorder; it can only be that. There ...

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