In This Review

The Defense Reform Debate
The Defense Reform Debate
Edited by Asa A. Clark IV and others
Johns Hopkins, 1984, 370 pp

A potpourri of innovative ideas and proposals designed to bring about changes in American military doctrine, strategy, weapons and organization have been made in recent years. Their scope and diversity is striking: should conventional war doctrine emphasize maneuver rather than attrition? Should priority in military procurement shift from a smaller number of sophisticated and expensive weapons to a larger number of proven, less sophisticated and cheaper arms? Should the Joint Chiefs of Staff be reorganized, and, perhaps, given a general staff? These and other questions are at the heart of the defense reform debate; its participants include liberals (Gary Hart) and conservatives (Newt Gingrich), civilians and soldiers, technicians and strategists. This volume, the best on the subject, contains papers presented at a 1982 West Point conference. Although its contributions make clear that "reformers" often point in contradictory directions, it is evidence that the debate is wide-ranging, fundamental, and likely to have lasting impact on the defense establishment.