The ability to learn has long been regarded as key characteristic of history’s most powerful militaries. In this book, Toronto explains why not all militaries can achieve such excellence, arguing variations in political will and economic development explain both why some are learning organizations and others are not as well as why some can quickly acquire such capabilities. His argument – well-supported by a wide range of evidence – has important implications for scholars and policymakers alike, especially as the United States works to share military best practices with armed forces in developed and developing states around the world.
How militaries learn is a vital question for scholars and policymakers interested in international security issues. In this fascinating new book, Nathan Toronto explains the way political will and the access to capital influence whether militaries adopt what he calls a system of military reflection, and how they succeed on the battlefield and beyond. Using a combination of statistical analysis and deeply researched case studies, from the UAE to Prussia, Toronto contributes significantly to our understanding of military power.
Among its many important insights, How Militaries Learn persuasively argues that creating an enduring battlefield advantage by advising foreign military forces is about more than delivery of training and equipment. It is a systemic endeavor that must link security assistance to economic development. Drawing from theory and insightful case studies, How Militaries Learn offers cogent recommendations for policymakers wishing to turn national power into strategic success. It is equally as useful for military advisors chartered with building a foreign military education system that is reflective – a critical component in generating the stable civil-military relations, introspection, and critical thinking required in the twenty-first century.