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Thread: dissertation help please! US military culture and small wars.

  1. #61
    Council Member Sigaba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    good suggestions and comments. I might quibble with a few - since I am a political scientist, not a historian - but they are quibbles. Regarding comments, I would put both Marc and me in your strategic culture rather than your political culture. There is, of course, some overlap here. Where do we put John Nagl - or Michelle Flournoy both in and out of office?

    Cheers

    JohnT
    JohnT--

    Thank you for the compliment on my suggestions.

    I agree that you and Marc would fit into the sphere of strategic culture as would Mr. Nagl and Ms. Flournoy.

    My rule of thumb is that if one's goal is to advance the understanding, discussion and formulation of policy, I'd be inclined to think that person is situated in strategic culture. If one is looking to advance a political agenda and to trade horses, one's in political culture.

    As noted, the spheres overlap and one's position can shift over time or on a given issue. All four spheres bring something to the table. (For what my two cents are worth, I have questions about the CNAS that will be answered over time.)

  2. #62
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    Default Obviously CNAS

    had, as one of its goals, to find jobs in the national security sector of the next Democratic Administration for its founders, a goal in which it succeeded admirably! That it survived and florished with new top leadersip is a credit to its founders. But where it goes will, of course, be determined by the actions it takes over time. I know that John N wants to be a policy player - he told me so before he joined CNAS.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  3. #63
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Sigaba,

    I would agree with John that most of your comments and suggestions are spot on. As for the overlapping spheres model of culture, it is certainly one way of looking at it although I prefer Malinowski's version based on institutions, but that's the Anthropologist in me speaking .

    I hope that Xander is following this discussion !

    I did want to add on to some of your specific suggestions - more elaboration than anything....

    1. Use operational definitions: either adopt someone else's definition of a key term or create your own definition.

    2. Draw a flow chart / systems model of your argument: this is useful for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it helps you clarify the sections in your argument. I'll note that it is usually quite acceptable to "black box" some of the nodes in such a model, defining them as "beyond the scope of this study".

    3. Get your committee to sign off (in writing) on the model including the inevitable changes that will happen.

    4. Drink lots of beer / scotch / wine with your committee members: This may sound like a joke, but it isn't - you will learn a lot more from them in an informal setting and a free-flow discussion over a few pints than you will in formal meetings.

    5. Build yourself a support group crossing disciplines and, specifically, including people in the service you are studying. These people are your safety net that will (hopefully) stop you from making an idiot of yourself when you write (believe me, I know how easy that is to do !).

    Cheers,

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Default Unless, Marc

    one or more of your committee members object to alcohol, in which case only drink with the others

    JohnT

  5. #65
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    one or more of your committee members object to alcohol, in which case only drink with the others
    Doesn't sound like any academics I'd want on my committee, John . Then again, I hang with archaeologists, anthropologists and security studies people - a scruffy crowd !!!!
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Thanks very much for the help guys! Sorry that this reply has taken so long: handed the dissertation in 6 months ago and so i wasnt able to use some of the help that you have all given me. For issues of brevity i had to reduce the title of the piece to 'Does Americaís subscription to the Big War paradigm damage itís capacity to wage small wars?' The good news however is that i am now doing a masters, and am expanding upon this topic back to what it originally was, so i can utilize the info that was put forward
    aaaaaanyway: replies.

    Sigaba: I like what you said about the usefulness of investigating Upton, that is: possibly unuseful. I still want to (feel that i have to) discuss him as Cassidy and Weigley both give him quite a role in the formulation of american military culture. Any advice other than 'be careful!'?
    I cannot find the books that you suggested in my university library, which is a result of its non-military specialisation. Will carry on looking because they sound really useful, especially Ingo Trauschweizer's book, The Cold War U.S. Army: Building Deterrence for Limited War.

    Intel trooper: I like the title change! think that i will have to do that.

    Steve blair: yeah will expand the date range from what intel trooper said. Given that I am looking at military (and political culture) it will need to be from the very start. Worried that my 20k word limit may be utterly breached by such an expansion, but will give it ago.

    John Fishel- what is this Nagl-Gentile debate? I get who Nagl is and pretty much what his position is, but what of Gentile? Sounds like a perfect counter-point. though.

    Oh yeah, and with you guys talking about transparency- if it wasnít for this board I would have missed out on alot of useful stuff. and given that i am a total non-military type sat in a university with no military specialisation, i would say that it is somewhat easier to get access to this sort of information.

    Thanks again!

  7. #67
    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default In Re: Xander

    A simple google search on Gian Gentile will give you plenty ot chew on.... Gian Lurks (not used in a pejorative sense) so he may contact you directly...

    Best of luck...

    Gian where have you been.... giving additional instruction to the women's basketball team???

    Hacksaw
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    Say hello to my 2 x 4

  8. #68
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    Gian where have you been.... giving additional instruction to the women's basketball team???
    He mostly comes at night.... mostly.

    Xander Day chap

    As opposed to 'Does Americaís subscription to the Big War paradigm damage itís capacity to wage small wars?'
    you might try,
    "Does the US Army's focus on regular threats damage it's ability to fight irregular threats." - Big War and Small War are both excellent, valid and coherent terms, but this subject does demand some semantic precision, which to date is sadly lacking both in military and academic writing on the subject.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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