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Improving in war: Military adaptation and the British in Helmand, 2006-2009

Chapter


Abstract


  • How do militaries improve operational performance in war? Improve- ments may involve major organisational change. But, equally, they may involve only minor change to how militaries operate, or indeed no change at all (just better implementation of existing organisational routines). Up to now the scholarly literature has focused on the imperatives and pro- cesses of major military change, i.e. military innovation.2 But innovation is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for victory in war. What victory almost certainly requires is for militaries to adapt to the operational environment and challenges they face, both when they first deploy and as the campaign evolves. This chapter develops a theory of military adapta- tion, which it applies to an analysis of the British campaign in Helmand from 2006-2009. It shows how British brigades adapted different ways of using combat power to try and defeat the Taliban from 2006-2007, and how from late 2007, British brigades have adapted a new population- centric approach that has focused more on influence operations and non- kinetic activities.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Farrell, T. (2012). Improving in war: Military adaptation and the British in Helmand, 2006-2009. In Contemporary Military Innovation: Between Anticipation and Adaption (pp. 130-152). doi:10.4324/9780203112540-14

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9780415523363

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85122337561

Web Of Science Accession Number


Book Title


  • Contemporary Military Innovation: Between Anticipation and Adaption

Start Page


  • 130

End Page


  • 152

Abstract


  • How do militaries improve operational performance in war? Improve- ments may involve major organisational change. But, equally, they may involve only minor change to how militaries operate, or indeed no change at all (just better implementation of existing organisational routines). Up to now the scholarly literature has focused on the imperatives and pro- cesses of major military change, i.e. military innovation.2 But innovation is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for victory in war. What victory almost certainly requires is for militaries to adapt to the operational environment and challenges they face, both when they first deploy and as the campaign evolves. This chapter develops a theory of military adapta- tion, which it applies to an analysis of the British campaign in Helmand from 2006-2009. It shows how British brigades adapted different ways of using combat power to try and defeat the Taliban from 2006-2007, and how from late 2007, British brigades have adapted a new population- centric approach that has focused more on influence operations and non- kinetic activities.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Farrell, T. (2012). Improving in war: Military adaptation and the British in Helmand, 2006-2009. In Contemporary Military Innovation: Between Anticipation and Adaption (pp. 130-152). doi:10.4324/9780203112540-14

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9780415523363

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85122337561

Web Of Science Accession Number


Book Title


  • Contemporary Military Innovation: Between Anticipation and Adaption

Start Page


  • 130

End Page


  • 152