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Why America Beat Iraq but Loses to Japan

AUTHOR: Romm, Joseph
DOCUMENT ID: S91-39
YEAR: 1991
DOCUMENT TYPE: Book or Book Chapter
PUBLISHER: RMI
 
This paper compares superiority of the Japanese over the US in competitive business strategy to the US win over Iraq in the first Gulf War. The author argues that America won the military war against Iraq for the same reason the Japanese are winning the high-technology trade war against the Americans: the application of a fast-cycle, time-based competitive strategy. In the Gulf War, America used a dynamic, maneuver-based strategy to defeat the entrenched Iraqi forces who expected a head-on attack. Similarly, the Japanese use fast-innovation, flexible manufacturing to out-compete traditional mass production techniques widely used in the US. The author warns that unless American business abandons its traditional methods and adopts these techniques to a far greater degree, and unless the federal government supports the rapid research, development, and manufacturing necessary to sustain such a transition, then not only will American economic security suffer; ultimately, so will our military security, as our high-tech weapons will increasingly have to rely on foreign-made parts that may not be available fast enough in a future crisis.