Clausewitzian Friction and Future War

In This Review

Clausewitzian Friction and Future War

By Barry D. Watts
Institute For National Security Studies, 1997
133 pp. $6.50
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Drawing on an unusual combination of talents -- formal academic training in philosophy and a distinguished combat record as a Vietnam-era pilot -- the author plunges into an analysis of friction, or the tendency for things to go wrong in battle. In the opinion of Clausewitz, friction is one of the most important features of war, and the author agrees. Drawing on recent military history as well as philosophy and physiology, he makes a case that friction will continue to dominate war, no matter how brilliant the munitions or how extensive the net of sensors that guide them. Not light reading, but worth the effort.