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So much to read, so little time...  Here are key works that each shed light on important implications of Network Optional Warfare (NOW).  Enjoy!



Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P.W. Singer and August Cole, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.

What will World War III look like? Find out in this ripping, near-futuristic thriller.

The United States, China, and Russia eye each other across a 21st century version of the Cold War. But what if it ever turned hot?

In the spirit of early Tom Clancy, Ghost Fleet is a page-turning imagining of how World War III might play out. But what makes it even more notable is how the book smashes together the technothriller and nonfiction genres. It is a novel, but with 400 endnotes, showing how every trend and technology featured in book— no matter how sci-fi it may seem — is real. It lays out the future of technology and war, while following a global cast of characters fighting at sea, on land, in the air and in two new places of conflict: outer space and cyberspace. Warship captains battle through a modern day Pearl Harbor; fighter pilots duel with stealthy drones; teenage hackers battle in digital playgrounds; American veterans are forced to fight as low-tech insurgents; Silicon Valley billionaires mobilize for cyber-war; and a serial killer carries out her own vendetta. Ultimately, victory will depend on who can best blend the lessons of the past with the weapons of the future. includes flyer and promotion video


Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II by Arthur Herman, Random House, 2012.

Remarkable as it may seem today, there once was a time when the president of the United States could pick up the phone and ask the president of General Motors to resign his position and take the reins of a great national enterprise. And the CEO would oblige, no questions asked, because it was his patriotic duty. In Freedom’s Forge, bestselling author Arthur Herman takes us back to that time, revealing how two extraordinary American businessmen—automobile magnate William Knudsen and shipbuilder Henry J. Kaiser—helped corral, cajole, and inspire business leaders across the country to mobilize the “arsenal of democracy” that propelled the Allies to victory in World War II.
“Knudsen? I want to see you in Washington. I want you to work on sorme production matters.” With those words, President Franklin D. Roosevelt enlisted “Big Bill” Knudsen, a Danish immigrant who had risen through the ranks of the auto industry to become president of General Motors, to drop his plans for market domination and join the U.S. Army. Commissioned a lieutenant general, Knudsen assembled a crack team of industrial innovators, persuading them one by one to leave their lucrative private sector positions and join him in Washington, D.C. Dubbed the “dollar-a-year men,” these dedicated patriots quickly took charge of America’s moribund war production effort. [...] Featuring behind-the-scenes portraits of FDR, George Marshall, Henry Stimson, Harry Hopkins, Jimmy Doolittle, and Curtis LeMay, as well as scores of largely forgotten heroes and heroines of the wartime industrial effort, Freedom’s Forge is the American story writ large. It vividly re-creates American industry’s finest hour, when the nation’s business elites put aside their pursuit of profits and set about saving the world. and also video


Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War by Paul Kennedy, Random House, 2013.

Paul Kennedy, award-winning author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers and one of today’s most renowned historians, now provides a new and unique look at how World War II was won. Engineers of Victory is a fascinating nuts-and-bolts account of the strategic factors that led to Allied victory. Kennedy reveals how the leaders’ grand strategy was carried out by the ordinary soldiers, scientists, engineers, and businessmen responsible for realizing their commanders’ visions of success. In January 1943, FDR and Churchill convened in Casablanca and established the Allied objectives for the war: to defeat the Nazi blitzkrieg; to control the Atlantic sea lanes and the air over western and central Europe; to take the fight to the European mainland; and to end Japan’s imperialism. Astonishingly, a little over a year later, these ambitious goals had nearly all been accomplished. With riveting, tactical detail, Engineers of Victory reveals how. [...]

The story of World War II is often told as a grand narrative, as if it were fought by supermen or decided by fate. Here Kennedy uncovers the real heroes of the war, highlighting for the first time the creative strategies, tactics, and organizational decisions that made the lofty Allied objectives into a successful reality. In an even more significant way, Engineers of Victory has another claim to our attention, for it restores “the middle level of war” to its rightful place in history. 


War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897-1945 by Edward S. Miller, U.S. Naval Institute, 2007.

Based on twenty years of research in formerly secret archives, this book reveals for the first time the full significance of War Plan Orange—the U.S. Navy's strategy to defeat Japan, formulated over the forty years prior to World War II.  It recounts the struggles between "thrusting" and "cautionary" schools of strategy, the roles of outspoken leaders such as Dewey, Mahan, King, and MacArthur, and the adaptation of aviation and other technologies to the plan.  The book shows that the strategy of Plan Orange was the basis of prewar U.S. naval development in training, ship and aircraft design, and amphibious and tactical thought.

War Plan Orange is the recipient of numerous book awards, including the prestigious Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize.

Related reading: "The New War Plan Orange" by LCDR Scott Allen USN (Ret.), U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, vol. 122/8/1,122, August 1996.

Force reductions have weakened the U.S. military’s role as a stabilizing influence in the Western Pacific. Asian leaders see—and plan to fill—the power vacuum. [...] It is time to think about a new War Plan Orange.

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  1. Feedback:

    Singer and Cole's Ghost Fleet is an absolute must-read and won't take long. The footnotes alone are worth the price of the book.

    I also esteem Miller's War Plan Orange but with a twist. It took us 318 war games, mostly played against the Japanese, to evolve our winning strategy and our planning was still not complete in the mid-1930s. Yet in 1926, Hector C. Bywater, an English naval observer and journalist, published The Great Pacific War, 1931-1933 and in it captured many or most of the campaign and tactical phenomena it took the Naval War College and OPNAV another 20 years to figure out. Bywater's novel even had the war start with a Japanese surprise attack, but on the Panama Canal instead of Pearl Harbor. He had the Philippines fall just as fast as they did in the real war ten years later.

    Wayne Hughes, CAPT USN (Ret.)