Dr. Walter Kretchik Presents Paper at Society for Military History Conference

Apr 6, 2009

Dr. Walter E. Kretchik, Associate Professor of History, organized a panel and presented a paper at the Society for Military History annual meeting April 2-5, 2009 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Dr. Kretchik's paper was entitled, "Regulating Chaos: The Role of Army Doctrine in Shaping a U.S. Army Warfighting Culture in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries."

Professor Kretchik argued that today's U.S. Army's cultural fixation upon conventional war fighting versus other forms such as counterinsurgency is a direct result of decisions made by key political and military leaders centuries before. George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Charles Coatesworth Pinckney, Henry Knox, and others viewed foreign threats from Britain, France, and Spain as more dangerous to the Republic than Indians and criminals on the frontier. Believing conventional warfare practice to be more legitimate and suitable for the Early Republic, the policy-makers' views became imbedded within government-approved army doctrinal publications in 1779 and carried forward in revised versions into the 1800s. By 1855, army doctrine, taught to officers through West Point, ensured that the service would remain fixated upon fighting wars conventionally rather than unconventionally with often dramatic consequences.

Dr. Kretchik's paper is based upon his book manuscript on the subject, which is currently under publication review by a noteworthy academic press.

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