In this edition

The Theory of Surprise, derived from Michael Handel’s work on intelligence, can explain the origins, course, and aftermath of the 7 October 2023 Hamas attack on Israel. Strategic surprise attack and associated intelligence-policy failure occurs when weak opponents use surprise to gain objectives that are impossible to attain when facing an alert, and militarily superior, opponent.

Clausewitz, Theory, and Ending the Ukraine War

Donald Stoker, Michael W. Campbell

One of the least developed arenas of strategic studies is how to end wars. The authors examine the challenges involved in ending the Russia-Ukraine war through the lenses of Clausewitz's ideas and three key factors: 1) What to ask for politically; 2) How far to go militarily; and 3) Who will enforce the peace and how.
This paper brings together two key themes in my research, the development and application of strategy in the Anglo-Russian 'Crimean' War of 1853-56, and the intellectual legacy of Sir Julian Corbett, who defined 'The British Way of War', and shaped national strategy in the first decades of the twentieth century. Corbett understood the limits of maritime strategy, and the need to focus all aspects of national power, notably legal and economic, on the ocean to defeat a continental military power through asymmetric means.
This article explores what four great Soviet military theorists of the past would say about Russian military strategy and performance in Ukraine in the twenty-first century. Specifically, Aleksandr A. Svechin, Mikail N. Tukhachevsky, Triandafillov, and Isserson would take the Russian Army to task on many points, although the Russians may have adopted a long-term strategy that will prevail.
Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban is known to history as one of the great generals of the Baroque era and as a prolific builder of fortifications. Looking at the strategic problems of our time through his eyes is illuminating. It reveals that one reason for the failings of the West in the War on Terror is the aesthetically denuded quality of our strategic culture.
Hans Delbrück’s theories represent a useful organizing framework for a look at the 2001-2021 war in Afghanistan. The West could not overcome the effects of domestic politics on policy and strategy that led to ineffectual strategies of annihilation. The Taliban had a consistency of direction and a willingness to endure that enabled their successful strategy of exhaustion.