Why ‘Military Strategy’? Because, the word strategy has become meaningless in all functional sense. In terms of what Infinity Journal aimed to do, nearly a decade ago, in the winter of 2010, as in educate and inform practitioners in the use of force for political objectives, we have so far failed.
How so? In simple terms everyone who could blog became a “strategist” and everything became about strategy. Policy became strategy. Campaign planning became strategy. Ideas became strategy. There is even “strategic policy”, as ludicrous as that may sound.
Strategy became whatever the strategist wished to define it as, and those unable to justify their definition accused Infinity Journal of “defining strategy” as we wished. As we often pointed out, we did not define strategy. Clausewitz did, and he merely used the accepted terms of the time, which were replicated in British doctrine from the mid-19th century and well into the 20th. To claim “things have changed” is laudable but currently unproven and evidence free. If things have changed, how come the old stuff works so well and so consistently?
Clausewitz himself pointed out that the dividing line between Strategy and Tactics was thin-to-meaningless. You cannot talk about one, without a sound understanding of the other. Colin Gray has stated that Strategy can only be done in and as tactics. With this in mind, the change of renaming our publication is aimed at holding any definition of strategy as the being inextricably linked with the consequences of military action. This is upsetting to many, because the requirement for practical knowledge and understanding of how armed forces work tramples the abstract complexities, which many wish to chew on, and the political opinions they wish to pump.
That is not say that epistemology and the origin of ideas is not a vital part of strategic theory, and theory is required, but the reason it is required is because it finds expression in practice.
It is thus no mistake that many of the articles in this first edition of Military Strategy Magazine are written by those who have been “hands on” with practitioners or policy makers for the majority of their careers, but let us be clear. Background is no guarantee of insight or quality. For example, we have rejected at least two articles written by very senior officers on the basis that they failed to provide the level of insight we require. Likewise, one of the most insightful articles we have ever published was by a twenty-something techno-dweeb that had one of the keenest strategic minds we have ever encountered.
Infinity Journal had always struggled to find articles. Our requirement that all articles undergo a double-blind peer-review process probably hasn’t helped, because the perception of something being “online” as opposed to “printed and mailed” is that everyone’s opinion is equal. It is not. Knowing stuff still counts. Knowing more than someone else is still an advantage, despite the sophistry and intellectual posing of knowing how much you don’t know.
Regardless, welcome to the first edition of Military Strategy Magazine (henceforth, Military Strategy). Read it, tell others about it, or rub the printed edition all over your chest just to find out what it feels like. We don’t care. We have never chased an audience. We just continue with our objective to educate and inform those who find us useful. The changes from Infinity Journal to Military Strategy adhere to that tradition.
William F. Owen
Editor, Military Strategy Magazine