Mobilizing for War in the Philippines, 1898
By Stephen D. Coats
Dr. Stephen D. Coats’s study of the Army’s efforts to assemble a contingency force at San Francisco for deployment to the Philippines in 1898 is an example of how the Army got it mostly right. One could argue that 1898 was a much simpler time and that the complexity associated with deploying ground forces has grown dramatically since then, and that would be correct. However, the Army of 1898 was not professionally trained to deploy and fight wars overseas. Additionally, the force that assembled at San Francisco was not a professional army. It was largely a volunteer force led by a few Regular Army generals and managed by a handful of Regular Army staff officers, none of whom had any appreciable experience in deployment operations. Yet they succeeded.
As in all facets of military art, there are timeless principles that, if applied correctly, will go a long way toward helping planners achieve success. A careful reading of Dr. Coats’s work will illuminate many of those principles. We and the author hope that those principles will increase the likelihood of successful Army deployments in the future. The Past is Prologue!
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