Practical Application of Military History Part I

The use of military history by the armed services, particularly the U.S. Army has seen a dramatic expansion since 2001.  The nearly constant campaigning in Iraq and Afghanistan has not only revived types of military history long dormant, it has created new types of historical writing by melding additional fields of study to provide practical “lessons learned” and historical case studies to assist military officers at both operational and command levels prepare for conflict in areas of the world not well understood by the U.S. military.  These new types of military history are being written not only by traditional military institutions such as the Army’s Center for Military History, but commands more specifically developed to study the practical aspects of warfare.  These organizations include the Combat Studies Institute and the Center for Army Lessons Learned, both part of the Army’s Combined Arms Center in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.  As a subordinate command of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, the Combined Arms Center has been at the forefront of several new trends and methodologies for producing military history in a contemporary setting.

The three main types of military history that have emerged from these disparate organizations include the new official histories of battles and campaigns, monographs that perform historical comparative analysis on related military issues, and monographs or reports that discuss and put into context historical topics that either directly affect or contribute to military operations in a completely new environment for American troops.