Military Communications

From Ancient Times to the 21st Century

by Christopher H. Sterling, Editor


From messengers on foot to carrier pigeons to satellites and Blackberries, methods of military communication have evolved side-by-side with technological breakthroughs. Indeed, military necessity has often been the motivating factor behind communication advances (such as the Internet) that were later adapted for civilian purposes.

Print Flyer
Cover image for Military Communications

October 2007


Pages 565
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Military History/Military Technology and Weapons

An alphabetically organized encyclopedia that provides both a history of military communications and an assessment of current methods and applications.

Military Communications: From Ancient Times to the 21st Century is the first comprehensive reference work on the applications of communications technology to military tactics and strategy—a field that is just now coming into its own as a focus of historical study. Ranging from ancient times to the war in Iraq, it offers over 300 alphabetically organized entries covering many methods and modes of transmitting communication through the centuries, as well as key personalities, organizations, strategic applications, and more.

Military Communications includes examples from armed forces around the world, with a focus on the United States, where many of the most dramatic advances in communications technology and techniques were realized. A number of entries focus on specific battles where communications superiority helped turn the tide, including Tsushima (1905), Tannenberg and the Marne (both 1914), Jutland (1916), and Midway (1942). The book also addresses a range of related topics such as codebreaking, propaganda, and the development of civilian telecommunications.


  • Over 300 alphabetically organized entries covering all innovations in military communication technology (in the United States and around the world), as well as key people, locations, organizations, and signature battles
  • Over 40 expert contributors—both researchers and practitioners of military communications
  • An annotated guide to basic reading plus further readings and references for all entries
  • Glossary of key terms including acronyms


  • Covers the primary historical periods, individual wars, key people, major organizations, locations, and technologies that have played an important role in the tactical and strategic application of communications to ground, naval, and aerial fighting
  • The first one-volume historical survey of an important application of communications
  • Offers citations of previous writing about military communication history, generally a little-known area of research
  • The first historical reference book on military communications that surveys the full story, from ancient times to the present
Author Info

Christopher H. Sterling, PhD, is professor of media and public affairs at The George Washington University, Washington, DC, and the editor of Communication Booknotes Quarterly. He has edited or authored over 20 books on media and telecommunications policy and history.



"A useful book for collections with a military emphasis, this specialized reference work will also find a home in special libraries, research centers, and media outlets."ARBA

"Recommended for academic and large public libraries."Booklist

"Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers."Choice

"it is recommended for medium to large public libraries and individuals with large military history collections."Library Journal

"The book belongs in the collections of large libraries and of any that specialize in military affairs."Reference & User Services Quarterly

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