What Is A Military Innovation And Why It Matters

27 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2019 Last revised: 26 Oct 2021

See all articles by Michael C. Horowitz

Michael C. Horowitz

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science

Shira Pindyck

The University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC); University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science

Date Written: October 25, 2021

Abstract

The study of military innovation is one of the most important topics in the strategic studies arena, but when it comes to defining the term “military innovation,” there is a remarkable lack of consensus. Lack of agreement on a definition makes it harder to advance knowledge beyond specific cases and for ongoing research to have policy relevance. Currently, what one might consider an innovation another might call an adaptation of an existing technology or tactic, or neither. To move forward, we survey dozens of existing studies and review articles for proposed definitions and examples of military innovation. We locate common and differentiating themes across a wide range of definitions and (at times) conflicting conceptual terminology. We then propose a new framework for thinking about military innovation that builds on existing research and suggests a path forward for future research. Finally, in an appendix, we demonstrate the plausibility of the framework applied to prominent cases.

Keywords: military innovation, military adaptation, international security, organizational change

Suggested Citation

Horowitz, Michael C. and Pindyck, Shira, What Is A Military Innovation And Why It Matters (October 25, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3504246 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3504246

Michael C. Horowitz (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science ( email )

Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Shira Pindyck

The University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science ( email )

Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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