Military Innovation: Hurdles, Bumps and Jumps

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  • October 2003

    Military innovation is peculiar and distinctive, and has no direct parallels. The military environment itself, with focus on hierachy, discipline and tradition makes innovation a daunting challenge. The process is further influenced by civil-military relations and metrics used for measuring effectiveness of innovative efforts. Factors influencing the process of military innovation vary when examining innovation at the policy and strategy level, at the doctrinal level, during peacetime and under conditions of war. A deeper examination of the process is also essential since innovation is a prerequisite for any revolution, and thus has a direct bearing on the ongoing debate about RMA.

    There is no single source to which success or failure to innovate can be attributed. Innovation in the military is more a cultural than functional issue, and mere exaltation is unlikely to make a military more innovative. It is the creation of a carefully nurtured environment and a suitable framework based on empowerment, adequate risk-acceptance and creation of suitable career paths that can spur innovation.

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