Creating Military Power: The Impact of Culture, Society, Institutions and International Forces on Military Effectiveness

A book project organized by Risa Brooks and funded by a grant from The Searle Foundation.

The print edition, released in 2007, was published by Stanford University Press. An online edition is also available. 


This book examines how societies, cultures, political structures, and the global environment affect countries' military organizations. Unlike most analyses of countries' military power, which focus on material and basic resources—such as the size of population, technological and industrial base, and gross national product (GNP)—this volume takes a more expansive view. Its overarching argument is that states' global environments and the particularities of their cultures, social structures, and political institutions often affect how they organize and prepare for war, and ultimately impact their effectiveness in battle. The creation of military power is only partially dependent on states' basic material and human assets. Wealth, technology, and human capital certainly matter for a country's ability to create military power, but equally important are the ways a state uses those resources, and this often depends on the political and social environment in which military activity takes place.


  1. Introduction: The Impact of Culture, Society, Institutions, and International Forces on Military Effectiveness by Risa A. Brooks
  2. Nationalism and Military Effectiveness: Post-Meiji Japan by Dan Reiter
  3. Social Structure, Ethnicity, and Military Effectiveness: Iraq, 1980–2004 by Timothy D. Hoyt
  4. Political Institutions and Military Effectiveness: Contemporary United States and United Kingdom by Deborah Avant
  5. Civil-Military Relations and Military Effectiveness: Egypt in the 1967 and 1973 Wars by Risa A. Brooks
  6. Global Norms and Military Effectiveness: The Army in Early Twentieth-Century Ireland by Theo Farrell
  7. International Competition and Military Effectiveness: Naval Air Power, 1919–1943 by Emily O. Goldman
  8. International Alliances and Military Effectiveness: Fighting Alongside Allies and Partners by Nora Bensahel
  9. Explaining Military Outcomes by Stephen Biddle
  10. Conclusion by Risa A. Brooks