Office of Force Transformation: Mission Accomplished

Thomas Barnett passes along word of a week old announcement that I’d missed about the closing of the Office of Force Transformation. I was an admirer of the late Admiral Art Cebrowski, the OFT’s founding and only director, but Barnett is right in his assessment of the move:

[The Long War is simply taking over. OFT’s decline simply represents the end of the pre-9/11 focus on transformation, which, absent 9/11, was a much needed bureaucratic push.

Art and others played out a most excellent string following 9/11, using OFT as a pulpit to push Network-Centric Warfare’s “many and the cheap” mantra in ways most helpful to waging the Long War. But Art’s success in mainstreaming his thinking meant that OFT always had a limited shelf life.

At some point in any successful project’s development, it goes from being “the Next Big Thing” to the status quo and, eventually, it becomes history.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    The whole “network centric warfare” was nothing more than the military’s adoption of the same idiotic business-speak whose lack of substance presaged the 2001 dot-com boom collapse.

    According to the July 2001 report to congress, Network Centric Warfare is based on:

    The tenets of NCW are:
    • A robustly networked force improves information sharing
    • Information sharing enhances the quality of information and shared situational awareness
    • Shared situational awareness enables collaboration and self-synchronization, and enhances sustainability and speed of command
    • These, in turn, dramatically increase mission effectiveness

    Judging from the failure of Iraq, I am not sure how any of this has “dramatically increased mission effectiveness.”

    The incompetent Rummy & Wolfowitz were employing this ideology when they were predicting a months-long war.

    Because of their internalization of this idiotic theory, they failed miserably in planning and-as Bush said last week–will leave the mess for others to clean up.

  2. Richard Gardner says:

    That reminds me that I haven’t heard anything about Andrew Marshall and the Office of Net Assessment lately. He would be about 85 now. Spring 2006 Parameters says he is still in charge.

  3. James Joyner says:

    I suspect Marshall will die in that chair. Probably 20 years or more from now.