“People have to live somewhere and that somewhere to them is important[:] The land has historical and cultural significance, strategic value,” McRaven said. “If we forget that, then geography will have its revenge.”…But Odierno’s full argument, which was backed up forcefully by McRaven, is considerably subtler and more interesting. “There are three things that I think intersect,” Odierno said. “I’m not sure quite how they intersect yet – what it means tactically, operationally, and strategically,” he added with his typical frankness, “but I know they are intersecting”: human beings, the online world in which humans increasingly interact with one another, and the physical terrain on which they live.
“Military Geography is the study of the linkages between humans and the natural and cultural landscape insofar as it pertains to the employment of military force.”
--Peltier and Pearcy, 1966
WEBSTER'S THIRD NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY DEFINES GEOGRAPHY AS "A SCIENCE THAT DEALS WITH the Earth and its life; especially the description of land, sea, air, and the distribution of plant and animal life including man and his industries with reference to the mutual relations of these diverse elements." The next edition likely will add space to the list. Geography consequently embraces a spectrum of physical and social sciences from agronomy to zoology. In simple terms, it describes what the environment is like at any given place and time. MILITARY CONSIDERATIONS Military geography, one of several subsets within those broad confines, concentrates on the influence of physical and cultural environments over political-military policies, plans, programs, and combat/support operations of all types in global, regional, and local contexts. Key factors displayed in table 1 directly (sometimes decisively) affect the full range of military activities: strategies, tactics, and doctrines; command, control, and organizational structures; the optimum mix of land, sea, air, and space forces; intelligence collection; targeting; research and development; the procurement and allocation of weapons, equipment, and clothing; plus supply, maintenance, construction, medical support, education, and training.
I wish the Admiral had clarified this statement with the fact that SOF (and most specifically ROK SOF with US assistance) will have a major role in north Korea during war or regime collapse. There will be a huge need for that connective tissue that SOF can provide in north Korea:
“I see SOF as the connective tissue between the populations and the conventional forces,” McRaven went on. It’s the regular Army and Marine Corps units that have the numbers, firepower, and logistics to seize and defend terrain. “SOF’s never going to stop the North Koreans from going south,” McRaven said. “We can’t keep the Strait of Hormuz open. We can’t conduct an opposed landing. We can’t bring a nation to its knees; but we can shape the outcome of the fight well before the battle begins by knowing and influencing the populations in Phase 1, and, once the fight starts, we can provide insights that will place the right force in the right place at the right time.”