Mick, as always, you are pushing thought provoking ideas institutions that have not always been at the forefront of adaptation. I cannot help but think of the use of aircraft carriers and torpedo planes first used effectively by the British at Taranto and “perfected” by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.

I use this as an example since the focus on limiting naval power during the interwar years was in battleships and cruisers of various types but nothing on aircraft carriers. Japan went all in on carriers and drug the US kicking and screaming into adaptation to counter this threat.

But on a more continuous level, adaptation and the concept of “luck” also come from the same core: preparation! But luck comes where preparation meets opportunity. Adaptation comes where preparation meets, as you say creativity and innovation and willingness to try and fail at things. But I would offer that adaptation also comes from serendipity and the ability to find beneficial relationships between seemingly disparate ideas/data/technologies/methods.

Yes, this form of serendipity comes out of creativity, but this kind of creativity differs from what most think of as creativity. It comes from bringing people together with deep knowledge in one area, but wide knowledge of other areas so their collective work becomes greater than the sum of the parts.

For example, think about the UKR operation to hit RU air bases deep into RU or the Kerch bridge, or air and naval bases in Crimea that have left many puzzled as to how this was done. Creative and bringing disparate pieces together to make an operation.

In contrast, the adaptation undertaken by RU to vulnerabilities to GLOC, resupply and logistics are relatively rudimentary, or the minimum to ensure they can fight another day (Kherson). But overall, looking at Donbas, RU simply keeps sending wave after wave of “meat” to break UKR in places like Bakhmut to no avail. It is the definition of insanity trying the same things over and over again hoping for a different outcome.

Adaptation comes from a culture that embraces and nurtures change, a culture that embraces differences and different ways of thinking, a willingness to and expectation that some ideas will fail, but rather than punishing failure, using that failure to gain experience and learn from it, and be grateful for those lessons. All of these are ideas that are required for adaptation are often feared (change and failure) or seen as threatening (differences).

Putin’s Russia hates change and differences. After all, success is to avoid failure or being discovered to have failed in Russia today. Thus, corruption and lack of truth telling is rampant and is a rot in the whole of RU political, economic, and military institutions to avoid the failure, or push it on to somebody else.

UKR in contrast is a more open, tolerant society. It has succeeded since the Maidan revolution to throw off the shackles of corruption, to learn new ways of political, economic, and yes military thinking. UKR embraces change, embraces their differences (Zelensky being Jewish is a minority in UKR)

I enjoy your insights and find them refreshing and critical to not just military progress, but social, political, and economic progress that benefits all of us. Keep fighting the good fight! We are here to fight with you!

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Great article. I believe that adaptation is also cultural. It seems to be the case that the Ukrainians have moved far enough away from “Soviet” culture/doctrine that they are ahead of the game. It would also seem that the Ukrainians are more inclined to listen to their lower ranking soldiers/others for how to make the most of what they have. In comparison, US has long been a nation of adapt and overcome.

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