Endurance and War coverThe study of military effectiveness in political science has come a long way in a short period of time. When I started graduate school in the mid-1990s, most of the key works on the subject were written by historians and sociologists rather than political scientists.[1] Beginning in the late 1990s, however, military effectiveness began to enter the mainstream of international security studies in political science. Scholars began to produce a series of works that detailed, inter alia, the martial shortcomings of dictatorships and Arab states,[2] the battlefield virtues of democracies,[3] the critical importance of the ‘modern system’ of force employment,[4] and the link between civil-military relations and effective preparation for and conduct of hostilities.[5] Lively debate continues on many of these subjects, particularly the relative effectiveness of different regime types and how civil-military relations influence adoption of the modern system.[6] This debate has unfolded primarily in the context of conventional (interstate) war, but a related literature on effectiveness in counterinsurgency has been reinvigorated in the wake of U.S. occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq.[7]

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