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Military Conscription and Democratic Nation-Building
LTC Benny Tan

In this essay, the author explores whether military conscription supports positive socio-political outcomes in terms of democratic nation-building, reduces states’ propensity for war, and builds social capital. In addition, the increasing trend of thinking about military conscription in socio-political terms rather than military effectiveness was also examined. Using a detailed analysis of the arguments for and against the varying purported outcomes of military conscription, the author determines that there remains a diverse body of views and conclusions regarding the effectiveness of military conscription, and that no meaningful generalisation can or should be reached. He feels that a highly likely explanation is due to different contexts and different policy implementations in each of the case studies and samples that he has raised for discussion. Crucially, this insight points to the need to clearly determine what are the strategic objectives that military conscription, as a policy option, is meant to achieve, and what are the surrounding context and circumstances. This will allow for the implementation of military conscription to be designed for effectiveness, within its specific national security context.

Operation Chromite - Insights for Joint Expeditionary Operations in the 21st Century
LTC Gabriel Choy

Among modern joint expeditionary operations, Operation CHROMITE stands out for its audacity and success despite significant odds. In analysing how success was achieved, the author examined the role of both personality and non-personality reasons. He argues that operational success in Operation CHROMITE was built on more than just the back of its commander. While General MacArthur's operational vision and leadership were instrumental in leading to the birth of Operation CHROMITE, it was the tactical proficiency of the Joint Force in executing operational functions that made accomplishing MacArthur's plans possible. In the author's opinion, it is only by distilling the personality from the non-personality related reasons of success behind Operation CHROMITE that the correct operational lessons can be best learnt. By applying these to any future joint expeditionary operations that any force may find itself embarking on in the 21st Century, they may then be better positioned to reap operational success.

Characteristics of Successful Warfare Since 1945
LTC Wayne Ho

Since the end of World War II, warfare has undergone significant changes in its methods and techniques. In this essay, the author aims to explore the characteristics of successful warfare since 1945 by examining historical examples of conflicts and identifying common trends. He argues that successful warfare has been marked by several key factors, including technological superiority, effective strategy and tactics, a strong logistical base, and a clear, political and social objective. The author has drawn on examples from the Cold War, the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War, among others, to support his arguments. The author concludes that ultimately, the characteristics of successful warfare have evolved over time, and that contemporary warfare requires a holistic approach that incorporates military, political, and social factors.

The Concept of Operational Art
MAJ Ho Chuan

In this essay, the author defines operational art as the cognitive process that enables the design, organisation and sequencing of operations to link tactical actions and strategic objectives. He feels that the ongoing desire of western militaries to seek a decisive military battle may be largely at odds with the concept of operational art. According to the author, contemporary conflicts are complex and dynamic, requiring a multi-faceted approach that transcends military battles. Nonetheless, he notes that the concept of ‘decisiveness’ remains useful to contemporary operational art as it helps to prioritise and direct military efforts. The author discusses his views in three parts. In the first part, he explores the diminishing role of military force and decisive battles by highlighting the hybrid and multi-faceted character of contemporary warfare. Next, he focuses on the ‘technology’ aspect of warfare, noting that Western militaries continue to seek decisive battles due to technological hubris and the increased value of human life. Lastly, he highlights that while Western militaries’ desire for a decisive battle is misplaced, ‘decisiveness’ and decisive effects that extend beyond the military domain are still useful constructs that can help Western militaries prioritise resources and efforts. The author concludes that while the ongoing desire for decisive battle is largely at odds with contemporary operational art, decisiveness remains a useful concept for Western militaries when perceived on a spectrum and applied to other domains such as the cognitive domain.

Last updated on 23 Aug 2023
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