February 26, 2010
How has globalization a set of connected processes that lead to a greater interaction capacity in the international system affected military planners at the beginning of the 21st century? Over the years globalization has transformed social trends, and national and foreign policies. Its consequences for military strategy, i.e. policy-makers' conception of how to employ military force to achieve political objectives, however, has been comparatively neglected. The goal of this article is to fill that gap by empirically tracing the ways in which army planners in the United States and Europe have thus far grappled with globalization. The article has four main findings. First, I show that the resource dependence approach in organizational theory provides a useful analytical framework to conceptualize army planners and army organizations as strategic actors who can choose among different ways to respond to their globalizing transnational environment, which potentially puts their relevance into question. Second, the evidence shows that army planners have perceived, and have reacted to, changes in the interaction capacity of the international system insofar as they appreciate that land power is not immune from globalization's influence. Third, while political and military strategists perceive the growing interconnectedness of the international system, they react in different ways: some dismiss it as irrelevant, others focus on only one of its dimensions (like technology), while others disagree on how much it matters. Fourth, land power adaptations to the stresses and strains of a globalized international system have both international/transnational and domestic implications.