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Revising our armed forces (2): The core of innovation isn’t technology, either

Just as rule one held that spending isn’t the key to innovation, so too.

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Just as rule one held that spending isn’t the key to innovation, so too:

Rule 2: Innovation isn’t really about technology, either. 

Everybody assumes it is. But it isn’t. Once you understand that, you are ahead of 99.99 percent of the Earth’s population. As Stephen Peter Rosen states in his magnificent study, Winning the Next War, the real building blocks to innovation are “talented military personnel, time, and information.”

To that, I would add imagination and organization. In other words, first do a series of imaginative exercises, including some that make you uncomfortable. After that, begin to think about how to change your organization to use this new approach. Only then begin to think about bending metal to make the necessary machines. Then get out and exercise them and develop the doctrine.

Image credit: Stock Archives of the Soviet Navy/Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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