Space War College struggles to find applicable Clausewitz readings
PETERSON AFB, Colo. — The faculty of the newly founded Space War College is finding it difficult to slip the surly bonds of Earthly doctrine.
For generations, senior service colleges have relied on writings from Carl von Clausewitz, a 19th century Prussian general, and other great commanders such as Jomini, Sun Tzu and George Armstrong Custer as foundations for strategic theory.
From an office decorated with models from Captain Marvel, Col. Adam “Gotta Problem” Houston, Space War College Academic Dean, described the issues with adapting their concepts to space operations.
“It's way harder than we thought to find grounding for space doctrine,” Houston said, “mostly because there actually is no such thing as space doctrine, for starters.”
The dean continued that all of the standard theory on use of military power is solidly terrestrial.
“Clausewitz wrote that war is a continuation of politics by other means,” Houston said. “But here’s a newsflash smart guys: Space is completely lacking in everything that composes politics. There are no countries, territory, borders. No politicians in space suits. Yet.
“So what’s there to continue? All the dead Prussian ponderings in the world don’t get you shit in space.”
Nevertheless, such historical underpinnings remain an essential part of military senior professional education.
“Leaders applied Clausewitz and his ilk to craft the informed, coherent, and comprehensive strategies that gained definitive victories in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and throughout the Global War on Terrorism in only 18 short years,” said Houston.
For a possible solution, the Space War College faculty consulted with colleagues in the U.S. Air Force. “We figured they faced a similar problem,” Houston said, “but we learned that Air Force doctrine is all just pictures of Gen. Curtis LeMay smoking a cigar or stolen from the film, ‘Dr. Strangelove.”
“One Air War College instructor also told us, ‘Suck it newbie, and find your own doctrine,’ but I’m sure that wasn’t their official response,” Houston said.
As an interim solution, Houston assigned the first prospective Space War College class of lieutenant colonels the task of scouring historical works and popular culture for relevant strategic theory.
“That pack of overachieving asshats ought to be able to find something useful,” said Houston. “In the meantime we’ll just keep copying stuff from that StarCraft video game and nobody will know the difference.”