Martel, William C. 1955-

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Martel, William C. 1955-


Born July 15, 1955. Education: St. Anselm College, Manchester, NH, B.A.; University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Ph.D.


Office—Fletcher School, Tufts University, 160 Packard Ave., Medford, MA 02155. E-mail—[email protected].


Educator and writer. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, postdoctoral fellow, 1991-93; Center for Strategy and Technology (CSAT), Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, founder and former director,1993-99; Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, associate professor of international relations, 1993-99; Naval War College, Newport, RI, professor of national security affairs and chair of Space Technology and Policy Studies, 1999-2005; Tufts University, Medford, MA, associate professor of international security studies, c. 2006—, academic director of Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict, 2006-07. Also U.S. Air Force scientific advisory board member, 2001-02.


(With Paul L. Savage) Strategic Nuclear War: What the Superpowers Target and Why, afterword by Michael Caruso, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1986.

(With James F. Dunnigan) How to Stop a War: The Lessons of Two Hundred Years of War and Peace, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1987.

(With Donald Putnam Henry and C.R. Neu) Improving the USAF Technology Transfer Process: Prepared for the United States Air Force, RAND (Santa Monica, CA), 1991.

(With William T. Pendley) Nuclear Coexistence: Rethinking U.S. Policy to Promote Stability in an Era of Proliferation, Air University (Montgomery, AL), 1994.

(Editor, with Theodore C. Hailes) Russia's Democratic Moment? Defining US Policy to Promote Democratic Opportunities in Russia, Air University Press (Maxwell Air Force Base, AL), 1995.

(Editor) The Technological Arsenal: Emerging Defense Capabilities, Smithsonian Institute Press (Washington, DC), 2001.

Victory in War: Foundations of Modern Military Policy, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to books, including The Absolute Weapon Revisited 1998, and Pulling Back from the Nuclear Brink: Slowing, Stopping, Reversing and Countering Nuclear Threats, 1998; contributor to periodicals, including Washington Quarterly, Fletcher Forum, Strategic Review, Orbis, and Defense Analysis. Member of the editorial board of the Naval War College Review.


William C. Martel is an educator whose wide-ranging interests include international security; policymaking processes and governmental institutions; space policy, ballistic missile defense, nonproliferation, and homeland security; leadership studies; and international relations and American foreign policy. He is also the author or editor of numerous books focusing on these and other related areas.

As editor of The Technological Arsenal: Emerging Defense Capabilities, the author presents a series of essays that explore how new defense technologies could change the nature of war as well as the basic foundation of national and international security. The essays focus on three primary areas of promising technology: directed energy such as lasers and high-power microwaves, military targeting such as cruise missiles and unmanned vehicles, and command and control issues such as directing wars from computers. The contributors do not propone any specific technology but write mainly to introduce readers to the technologies. Martel also contributes a closing chapter in which, according to Air Power History contributor I.B. Holley, Jr., he "wisely points out that the crucial challenge that lies ahead will be for Congress to decide which of the promising technologies merit further funding and support and which to let lapse." A contributor to the Aerospace Power Journal noted that the book "does a fine job of educating the reader on how the future of warfare might look."

Beginning in the 1990s, Martel focused his research on the meaning of victory in war. The result is his 2007 book Victory in War: Foundations of Modern Military Policy. In his book, the author incorporates case studies ranging from ancient Greece to the American Revolution to examples from the Persian Gulf War, Kosovo, and Iraq. He uses these case studies to examine how the concept of victory in war has evolved over the ages. He also examines how, given the apparent nature of modern warfare and geopolitical circumstances, anyone can know when victory has been achieved. In terms of modern warfare, the author takes a close look at U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq in the early twenty-first century to discuss whether or not it is possible to win a war yet lose the peace.

"Until now, people have used the term ‘victory’ in a grand and ambiguous sense to express their belief that an event has produced a positive outcome, but victory is much more complex," the author is quoted as saying by Sharon R. Rivera in an article on the Tufts-Fletcher-News Web site. "I hope that this book will force people to think much more precisely about what victory really means for a country at war."

In his look at the meaning of victory in war, the author provides an historical analysis of the origins of victory that examines the ideas of the principal theorists of strategy and war dating back to ancient Greece. In the process, he discusses issues such as the historical and modern origins of victory and the foundations of victory. "The public needs to understand what kind of victory is being pursued by the government, and to be able to weigh its costs and benefits, as well as risks and uncertainties," the author told Rivera in the Tufts-Fletcher-News Web site article.

Martel's analysis of victory in war has been well received by reviewers. James R. Holmes, writing in the Naval War College Review, noted that the author "accomplishes his chief goal of starting a discussion of a worthy, intensely policy-relevant topic," adding later in the same review that the book "marks the beginning of what promises to be a fruitful debate on matters of vital interest to political and military leaders—and the nations they serve." Writing on the Millions Web site, Timothy R. Homan noted that the author "lays out his well-sourced argument in a fairly readable fashion."



Aerospace Power Journal, summer, 2002, review of The Technological Arsenal: Emerging Defense Capabilities, p. 123.

Air Power History, winter, 2003, I.B. Holley, Jr., review of The Technological Arsenal, p. 65.

American Political Science Review, March, 1987, review of Strategic Nuclear War: What the Superpowers Target and Why, p. 318.

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May, 1987, Thomas J. Knight, review of Strategic Nuclear War, p. 169.

Choice, September, 1986, review of Strategic Nuclear War, p. 215.

Foreign Affairs, summer, 1988, review of Gregory F. Treverton, How to Stop a War: The Lessons of Two Hundred Years of War and Peace, p. 1116.

Harvard International Review, summer, 2007, Owen R. Cote, Jr., "Winning Battles, Losing Wars?," review of Victory in War: Foundations of Modern Military Policy, p. 78.

Journal of Politics, August, 1987, George H. Quester, review of Strategic Nuclear War, p. 845.

Library Journal, October 15, 1987, Edwin B. Burgess, review of How to Stop a War, p. 84.

Naval War College Review, autumn, 2007, James R. Holmes, review of Victory in War, p. 143.

Orbis, winter, 1988, Adam M. Garfinkle, review of How to Stop a War, p. 138.

Parameters, spring, 1995, review of Nuclear Coexistence: Rethinking U.S. Policy to Promote Stability in an Era of Proliferation, p. 138; spring, 2003, review of The Technological Arsenal, p. 140.

SciTech Book News, June, 1986, review of Strategic Nuclear War, p. 37.


Fletcher School Tufts University Web site, (February 5, 2008), faculty profile of author.

Millions, (August 21, 2007), Timothy R. Homan, "Winning Isn't Everything," review of Victory in War.

Tufts-Fletcher-News, (February 8, 2008), Sharon R. Rivera, "Professor William Martel Examines ‘Victory in War.’"