The Strategy Bridge: "The Past as a Prologue: The Future of the U.S. Military in One Graphic"
Thursday, July 18, 2019 at 12:10PM
Thomas P.M. Barnett in Pentagon's New Map

Where have I heard this before?

I wasn't the first to draw this map. Adam Siegel did at the Center for Naval Analyses.  When he went off to get his PhD, I was asked to expand his focus on naval ops to include army and air force. That effort begat The Pentagon's New Map effort.

Now, many years later, similar effort yields similar picture and similar conclusions, which is why I always said that this wasn't an idea or theory but an inescapable reality that was splitting our force in two. We could either embrace it or try to ignore it, but the world out there wasn't going to change along with our fluctuating fascination for, and addiction to, Big War.

So here's the new map - same as the old:

It's part of a strong 2015 piece by Daniel Sukman (strategist in the U.S. Army and a member of the Military Writers Guild)

And yes, he does make the link back to my earlier work:

Interestingly, this review of operations since 1980 confirms the Non-Integrating Gap theory proposed by Thomas Barnett in his seminal book, The Pentagon’s New Map. According to Barnett, areas of lesser development — Latin America, the Middle East, and areas of the Pacific — constitute this gap. Moreover, use of the military element of national power tends to occur in these areas. Nations outside of the gap tend to resolve conflict without outside intervention.

To address global requirements, Barnett introduced the concept of the Leviathan and Sysadmin force. In Barnett’s paradigm, the focus of the Leviathan force is major combat operations. The focus of the Sysadmin force is other missions ranging from humanitarian assistance to “Phase 4” nation building activities.

The creation of the Sysadmin and Leviathan force as envisioned by Barnett may not achievable in an era of fiscal constraints. However, the joint force should prioritize the ten missions outlined in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review per geographic area of responsibility. Using the past as a prologue indicates the feasibility of this approach.

Just bumped into the reference on Twitter, and wanted to catalogue here.

Article originally appeared on Thomas P.M. Barnett (
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