Military Strategy Magazine  /  Volume 2, Issue 2  /  

Strategy: Some Notes for a User’s Guide

Strategy: Some Notes for a User’s Guide Strategy: Some Notes for a User’s Guide
To cite this article: Gray, Colin S., “Strategy: Some Notes for a User’s Guide”, Infinity Journal, Volume 2, Issue No. 2, Spring 2012, pages 4-9.

[I]t is more important to make correct decisions at the political and strategic level than it is at the operational and tactical level. Mistakes in operations and tactics can be corrected but political and strategic mistakes live forever.

Williamson Murray[i]

Strategy is easy to understand, but hard to do. Long and sometimes frustrating debates with officials, soldiers, and scholars, has caused me to doubt the former claim; the latter comes close to being one of those truths that Americans can hold with confidence to be all but self-evident. To resort to a British term, concepts are part of the ‘kit’ that people pack when they set forth to do strategy. Action is fuelled by ideas — sound, unsound, and both. Infinity Journal has the mission of improving understanding of strategy, because that is an important way to help improve strategic performance. If people lack a grasp of strategy’s meaning, of why and how it should work, they must be unready to cope with practical challenges. Instinct and luck are not to be despised but neither should they be trusted. Some education in strategy must be regarded as prudent insurance.

What is the challenge?

When in doubt, turn to the master. So, what does Clausewitz advise? He says: “The political object – the original motive for the war – will thus determine both the military objectives to be reached and the amount of effort it requires”.[ii] Sounds great. The challenge is to serve policy by military behaviour. Unfortunately, while stating the challenge may be important as a step towards meeting it, it does not actually advance you very far.

In historical practice, the neat, tidy, and logical world of the scholar and theorist rapidly is revealed to be substantially illusory. It is sensible to say that policy determines military objectives, but it is necessary also to recognize that there are at least three major practical difficulties with that sound information. First, the “political object” may well not be stable and certain, but rather the fuzzy and shifting outcomes of a continuous (political) process. Second, the often somewhat floating nature of the political products known as policy means that it is difficult for generals to know just what it is that they are required to accomplish in their military efforts to secure strategic effect. Third, even when the political direction is clear and stable, there is always some uncertainty about how much military effort, applied how and at what cost, will be needed. In other words, matching military endeavour to political achievement is a matter of guesswork; educated guesswork, but guesswork all the same. Strategists and their political masters and mistresses should not be confused about this. Matching political objectives with military objectives is an exercise that is both art and science, but principally the former.

The answer in part is strategy.

This has to be true. But the answer is neither merely nor only strategy, it has to be a “right enough” strategy. And until you try, in the field with a command performance, you will not know whether your strategy, ab initio, was/is good enough. You only need a “good enough” strategy, it does not need to be brilliant – unless you have some major weaknesses for which strategy needs to compensate – or when the enemy has an exceptionally gifted strategist in charge, or you suffer truly bad luck (there is much to go wrong in war). The potential gap between military operational aims and policy goals should be filled by strategy. In fact, without strategy how can you decide on operational military aims? What are you trying to accomplish? How do you know without guidance from the strategy bridge?[iii]

Let us make the heroic assumption that the political process has produced a sensible and stable outcome that can function well enough as policy guidance. In this event it is possible for prudent policy to be subverted, perhaps fatally, by inadequacy in its instruments. It is commonplace to claim that if strategy is absent, weak, or simply wrong, despite the relative high quality of its political direction, tactical excellence will not rescue the project. If one is fighting the wrong war militarily, though not politically, then indeed policy success is likely to prove fatally elusive. However, faulty or at least confused conceptualization is apt to be a guilty party in this case. When strategy is nowhere in sight, let alone plainly effectively in command, it may be that the essential unity of strategy and tactics has not been understood. Strategy and tactics constitute a unity. Strategy is theory (of desired and intended cause and effect) that has to be practiced not only by tactical behaviour, but also as that behaviour. Theory and practice are one.

The proposition that one has a strategy, but one does tactics is false. When one does tactics, one also behaves tactically for strategic effect, i.e., one behaves strategically (for good or ill). There is need to beware of the confused misconceptions which hold, plausibly but nonetheless wrongly, either (1) that it is easier to correct faulty tactics than faulty strategy, or its logical polar opposite (2) that it is easier to adjust strategy than tactics — the second misconception which would appear to be merely commonsensical on empirical grounds. One can hold a meeting and in a matter of hours shift strategy; whereas major tactical changes may well require the retraining and at least partial reequipping of a whole army. If strategy is understood only to be the direction given to a military instrument, then this logic holds. However, the strategic ways in which military means will be used cannot be separated in practice from what those means can do, behaving tactically as they must. Strategy and tactics are a gestalt. Many scholars and not a few practitioners of statecraft and warfare have difficulty grasping this argument. Strategy can only be practiced tactically. All strategy has to be done by tactics, and all tactical effort has some strategic effect, but not all such effort reflects, expresses, and enables purposeful strategy. The operational level of war is a concept and practice that has serious potential to fuel confusion about the essential wholeness of strategy and tactics.[iv]

Strategic sense:

The idea of operational art to direct large military forces in campaigns is only sensible. The problem lurks not in the idea, but rather in the consequences in practice of the idea when very senior command fails to exercise a tight enough strategic grip on tactical behaviour, no matter that it is organized and directed operationally. In his book The Generals (about Allied military leadership in the war in Asia, 1941-45), Robert Lyman talks about the need for generals to conduct their operational tasks with “strategic sense”.[v] So, the operational level of war ought not to be regarded by its commanding generals as a politics-free or politics-lite zone wherein a professional military can do its thing untroubled by policy considerations. But, if strategy is missing or confused, strategic sense will be hard to demonstrate, because the generals will not know how and why their efforts should contribute to success overall.

When political guidance worthy of the name is weak or missing from the action, the strategy bridge cannot function. Strategists need to know the political ends that can be advanced purposefully by the instrumental effect of their tactical enablers. In order to practice strategy, each element of the relevant trinity of ends, ways, and means is essential. Everyone functions in conflict to strategic effect, but such effect is realized both with and without the benefit of strategy. It is tempting to argue that history abhors a vacuum, and that therefore the political ends that strategists require will be provided by someone, whether or not legitimate political authority is up for the duty. Most likely, one can suggest, the senior leadership of the military instrument will step up to attempt to play the policymaker’s role, in actuality if not formally. The interface between war and peace inherently is almost as challenging to the strategist as is the conduct of war itself. In 1918, the Allies did not inflict a military defeat fully adequate to match their political ambitions for an orderly and peaceful post-war world. In 1945, the enemy in Europe was beaten soundly enough, unlike 1918, but the Western Allies compromised the post-war order in Europe by not exploiting adequately the military advantages that they enjoyed all too briefly. Both in 1918-19 and 1945-46, the victorious Western military power melted away so rapidly that the desired post-war order was severely compromised.[vi] The statesmen laboured hard, in the face of daunting difficulties, and it is easy to be wise with hindsight. As usual the Owl of Minerva only flies at dusk. Nonetheless, one is obliged to note that strategic sense was seriously lacking when it was needed most. Unlike the situation in 1814-15, in 1919 and 1945 the most successful British, French, and American military commanders made no significant contribution to the shaping of the post-great war political order. Strategic sense would seem to have been exhausted by the effort required for successful war-making.

What is strategy?

There are many definitions, but they all must have at their core the strategy function, which is to provide coherence between ends, ways, and means. My definition of military strategy is: “The direction and use made of force and the threat of force for the purposes of policy as decided by politics”. I adjust the wording for grand strategy to substitute “all among the total assets of a security community, including its military instrument”, for “force and the threat of force”. Precise wording is less important than is clarity on the essential difference between force and policy. Purpose and instrument must not be confused. Policy, strategy, and tactics are different in nature and they answer different questions. Policy decides why and what; strategy decides how; and tactics do it. When politicians fail to understand this, one is in trouble. To set policy goals has nothing necessarily to do with strategy. Strategy, at best, can be an afterthought! How will we try to do it, whatever “it” may be?

Political desiderata packaged as policy is not strategy. To identify the former is not to register a strategic achievement. Policy is not usually that hard to decide. The difficulty lies more in finding affordable yet effective ways to pursue the policy goals preferred. The command performance required of a strategist at the highest level is one that truly bridges what can be a yawning gap between political wishes and military, inter alia, capabilities. Political desires and their expression as policy are likely to be mere hopes vanity if they are not disciplined by prudent guesswork about feasibility. But, looking at the other end of the strategic bridge, a military establishment and its professional behaviour as a military instrument that virtuously abjures all intervention in the policy process, which means politics, may well condemn itself to militarily impossible tasks gifted by political guidance naked of strategic understanding.

Understanding the problem

(e.g. how to defeat Germany, transform Iraq, transform Afghanistan). Again, let us turn to the great Prussian. He advises, in much quoted wise words: “The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish by that test [fit with policy goals] the kind of war on which they are embarking, neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature”.[vii] In the main this is right, though it is potentially misleading. Unfortunately, our policy goals will not dictate the kind of war on which we embark, because war is a project that we play with others; also, contingency, which is to say chance, rules (or can do so). When you roll the iron dice you are signing on for a mystery tour.[viii] Not all politicians know this (nor all soldiers, apparently). Did our policymakers, or our soldiers, understand the kind of war they were getting into in Iraq and Afghanistan (or in 1914 or 1939)? Are we not usually surprised by what strategic history throws at us?

Where Clausewitz probably errs seriously in the familiar persuasive words quoted above, is in his apparent assumption that a particular war must be one of a distinctive kind that has a fixed character, expressed by him here as “nature”. His point is harassed by, if it does not founder on, the historical reality that the belligerents in any war are engaged in a unique dynamic creative act. The war’s course and outcome is produced by combined behaviours and its course reflects a single collective net strategic effect. The strategic effort of each combatant combines as both cause and effect for a grand effect that cannot be predicted in detail. In other words, it is not sensible to assume that a possible war has a nature (really meaning character) that can be predicted with confidence. Not only is there policy logic to wars, in addition there is grammar to warfare that is ever ready to show its indifference to politics and policy, and instead encourage its servants to wage more warfare more effectively.

The currency conversion problem:

The basic challenge in (military) strategy is the need to convert military power into political effect (by the agency of strategic effect).[ix] The exchange rate is neither stable nor, as a consequence, reliably predictable. Put directly, “how hard must we fight to achieve the political ends that justify the harm that is the violence?” Politics and military power are different currencies. In 1999 NATO expected that it would need to apply only four days of aerial bombardment against Serbia to coerce Milosevic into compliance. In fact, the air campaign (to dignify what happened) lasted 78 days, and we still are not entirely certain why the Serbs said “we quit”. The heart of the challenge with strategy is that it calls for skills that are neither military nor political, but must embrace both (at a minimum). To be a good soldier, or politician, is not necessarily to be a good strategist, because strategy is about neither military effect nor politics, rather is it about the political effect of military use and threat.


Strategy should be made by a civilian-military partnership, with the civilians/politicians on top in the “unequal dialogue”.[x] Typically it is made, if and when it is, which can be unduly rare, in a committee process and by negotiation. And because policy is also politics, strategy is always liable to alteration, to needful adaptation to often-unanticipated circumstances.

Because strategic history is a creative team project (with enemy participation!) influenced by many factors other than the prior intentions reflected in prepared plans, strategic practice must always be obedient to tactical realities. Tactical success or failure is the arbiter of operational and strategic opportunity. Tactics cannot substitute for strategy, but it must enable it and therefore it shapes it, sometimes profoundly. If the troops cannot or will not do it, strategy will be reshaped. In the words of Charles E. Callwell: “Strategy is not, however, the final arbiter in war. The battlefield decides”.[xi] He is not claiming that tactics matter more than strategy, only that the latter is wholly dependent upon the former. This connection, in my opinion, is so intimate and literally essential that one should understand tactics as strategy being practiced. When there is no coherent purposeful strategy informing the fighting, a common enough condition, as argued already the tactical effort must have strategic consequences.

Disharmony among levels of behaviour:

One can identify political, strategic, (arguably) operational, and tactical levels of performance. However, there is no natural harmony between their levels of effort.[xii] Each level has a distinctive nature, and the concerns at each level will be unique. Harmony has to be imposed and enforced by strategic command performance, though frequently it is not; as often as not because the political authorities and highest military command will not have decided firmly on what they want to do. If one is undecided – guess what, strategic grasp and grip will be weak. Operational commanders will enjoy great freedom because there will not be much important traffic sent their way across the strategy bridge. The command performance required of senior generals needs to function both upwards and downwards in the chain of command. Military strategists have to strive to discipline the urges and ambitions of their political masters, while simultaneously ensuring that subordinate generalship is conducted with suitable strategic sense.

A belligerent does not require a definite and unified strategy in order to do strategy. As observed earlier, military practice is strategic practice, whether or not one has a clear strategy. In the Asia-Pacific War against Imperial Japan in 1941-45, U.S. military effort was short on strategic grasp and grip. Which of the American threats was the principal Schwerpunckt? The truth was that the United States allowed circumstances (contingency), personality, and the relative eventual abundance of its mobilized military assets to determine that it would menace Japan via the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, the Chinese mainland (air threat), and the Central Pacific (with the Marianas as key). Would the Americans by-pass the Philippines, Formosa/Taiwan? Both the Japanese and the Americans indulged in diffusion of effort in posing and defending against threats from many points of the compass. The Principle of War that insists on concentration of effort was plainly mocked. But, the United States could afford multiple threat vectors, while Japan could not. It made some strategic sense to confuse the enemy as to one’s principal threat(s). In this major case from World War II it was ironic that a genuine indecision on the American part, had net beneficial strategic consequences. One is reminded of the maxim that quantity has a quality all its own. Also, to coin a maxim by adapting Herman Kahn’s advice that “[u]sually the most convincing way to look willing is to be willing”, there is some scarcely deserved strategic merit in the thought that “the most effective way to confuse the enemy is to be confused oneself”.[xiii] Whether the all too genuine confusion in U.S. strategy that probably proved to be strongly net strategically advantageous was a rare genuine paradox, or merely an irony, is debateable.[xiv]

Education in strategy.

It ought to be a good idea to educate the military in strategy, but in practice few soldiers, sailors, and airmen are really thus educable.[xv] Genius as potential can be polished and helped along, but one cannot put in what God and nature have left out.[xvi] One can train for the mastery of operational skills, but the imagination needed for strategy cannot reliably be taught. Still, one should not blame armed services for trying to do the very difficult. A huge problem is that politicians are likely to be even less gifted in aid of an understanding of military strategy than are soldiers. Clausewitz claims that that ought not to matter, because allegedly policymakers can find the military expertise they need, when they need it. Manifestly, this is not the case.

Strategic competence, if not necessarily excellence, should be widespread. After all, the strategic function captured in the ends-ways-means mantra, is a basic need for human (inter alia) life at all levels of behaviour. Competence in the design of national grand strategy is a challenge to which few can aspire plausibly, but in our day-to-day activities we all need to achieve some match between goals, designs for reaching them, and means. Military officers perform the strategic function at every level of command, from a platoon on upwards. But, what is exceptionally challenging about the strategy function that is of concern to this essay is, to repeat, the requirement to employ force and its threat for its transaction value in political coinage. This is one reason why “business strategy” is not a close fit with military strategy. The strategists that are my subject here know how best to attempt to turn water into wine. Sound, or better, military judgment – even excellent creative imagination – is highly valuable for the strategist. But, as just stated these assets point only to a person who is first-rate at solving military problems. Strategy requires that military problems be solved, or at least effectively bypassed, but also it demands that the military problems and their military solution or alleviation be understood for their political meaning. Strategy needs us to fight well, but it is not about our fighting well.

Every war/conflict is different:

Although all wars have the essentials in common (e.g. war’s “climate” is enduring), and strategy is eternal and universal, the details are always changing. There are no thoroughly reliable experts on the future. In a vital sense, if and when politicians and soldiers conduct a dialogue about a possible future war, it has to be a case of the blind talking to the poorly sighted. Did the British military understand Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s (and do they now)? And the same can also be said of World Wars I and II. Ignorance of what has yet to happen is the normal condition in the interactive project that is future war.

Given that one cannot know, really know, what the costs and benefits of the resort to war will be, is rational policy decision-making possible? If the costs of a future war are unknown, and its benefits similarly must be strictly speculative, how can strategy be a rational project? Since the political ends called policy cannot be metrically valued, not least for the reason that they are not certain, and the price of tactical success is not established ahead of time, the utility of war plainly requires a high measure of risk tolerance. By analogy, the strategist seeks to purchase a ‘good’ (strategic effect) of price unknown and unknowable, incurring the uncertain transaction costs inalienable from the employment of a military instrument that has unknown combat prowess. Indeed, it must be said not only that strategy is not a science, but also that its status as a social science has to be judged fragile. The purposes of these sceptical remarks is not to damn the strategy project, but rather to highlight its challenges and perhaps encourage some sympathy for those who strive heroically against the odds to design and practice it competently.[xvii]

Decisions to fight:

In practice it is usual, not extraordinary, for politicians to decide to go to war without examining closely the availability of the military story that they need. Often, the decision to fight is believed/felt to be a political (even a moral or a personal) necessity, leaving the military rationale largely in the realm of hope. Politicians tend to assume that the warfare they are licensing and sponsoring will turn out alright in the event, somehow. More often than not, the military is not asked for its honest opinion about the prospects for victory/success. And bear in mind that all decisions for war are a leap in the dark, which has to mean that even honest military judgments are likely to be wrong (“war is the realm of chance”, as the great man wrote).[xviii] It is hard to be expert on future wars, because the future is not foreseeable.

Since strategists are required to prescribe contingently for the use of force in a future that at best can only be anticipated, it follows that their duties oblige them to operate on the basis of assumptions rather than facts. When assumptions are tested in the laboratory of history’s actual strategic narrative and are verified adequately by events, they cease to be assumptions and instead are established as facts. Although assumptions necessarily play a critical role in defence planning, as a vital category of working and contingent beliefs they are greatly under-examined and under-theorized. However, it would be a serious mistake to believe that assumptions’ fragility can be usefully much reduced by a more rigorous planning methodology. The beginning of wisdom should be frank, if unwelcome, recognition of the fact that by definition assumptions transcend proof; if they did not they would cease to be assumptions. It is easy to understand why strategists typically need the reassurance of a truly unjustifiable faith in their assumptions, in order to cope with the moral and other burdens imposed by objectively irreducible ignorance about the future. Assumption generation is improvable, and testing by a “Red Team” may be heuristically useful, but the strategist leaning forward into the future with assumptions about future war is always going to be leaping in the dark. He cannot know, for example, just how much pain will need to be caused for North Vietnam for it to call off its extant campaign against the South. As much to the point, the American strategist cannot be certain that any level of coercion against North Vietnam that is tolerable to U.S. domestic opinion, would suffice to deliver a fair facsimile of political victory. It is commonplace to refer to the calculations of statesmen and strategists. But, it is a fact that decisions to fight, or to fight harder, cannot be made on the basis of metric calculation. There are and can be no verified numbers that a brilliant methodology could convert into clear answers to such questions as “should we fight?” and “how expensive would victory (defined carefully) be?” Notwithstanding these rather negative thoughts, strategists have to practice strategy, even though their assumptions must leave much to be desired. Ignorance cannot be allowed to promote the paralysis of policy and strategy, when “something has to be done” (e.g. over Iran’s nuclear weapons’ programme).

Policy is not always rational and reasonable:

Not only is policy the product of politics – meaning the outcome of a balance of power that is ever shifting – also it is the result of personality and the processes of government. Scholars can err in assuming wholly rational decision-makers, just as they err if they assume that military experts will be uniformly expert because they are licensed as such, in the context of any particular war. Each war involves warfare whose character will be in some measure unique. Experience is useful, but generic military expertise needs to be adapted for, and applied sensibly to, the unique case at hand.

It is important to remember three limitations in particular on the expertise of professional military experts. First, the uniqueness of each conflict demands some translation of the expert’s general expertise for its better fit with the needs of the local place and current moment. Second, each war is unique not in the sense that “it” is what it is as something different from other wars, but rather that it is ever in the process of being created by the competing strategic endeavours of the belligerents.[xix] The strategic historical entomologist may be able to classify every war by claimed categorization, but the real-time narrative will be one of unpredictable creation. Third, the uniqueness and novelty in the character of each conflict demands that the strategist adapts in the application of his expertise.[xx]

Dilemma of ignorance:

When a war appears not to be progressing well, what does one do? Can one identify the problem? Should we redouble our military effort, try harder with more means, or does that risk the reinforcement of failure? When should we change course strategically? Are we trying to do the wrong things? In which case our strategy is asking too much of our operations, which in turn necessarily asks too much of our tactical effort – all because politics has demanded that policy instructs strategy to do the impossible. The logic is inexorable, but in historical practice often one cannot follow the logic. For example, the overriding problem in 1914-18 was that policy required the military effort to accomplish military results that literally were beyond its ability. Therefore, the deadly tactical problem of the offence-defence relationship in World War I was really a political problem. Policy did not fit military conditions until the Hundred Days Campaign of August-November 1918. German military manpower and other assets needed to be massively attrited and their morale had to be destroyed. The technical and tactical key to battlefield success was the generation of a battlefield dominance enabled by an unmatchable quantity and quality of precise artillery fire. The underlying problem, of course, is that when one chooses to fight, or even conduct “armed and episodically violent social work”, one cannot know just how hard one will have to fight, or for how long. Future warfare is the kingdom of guesswork. Because of the inherent uncertainty about the course and outcome of future warfare, it is a little unsettling to realize that the key factors in decisions to fight or not to fight frequently are not assessments of the believed military balance and suchlike rational matters. Instead, what matters most is the measure of the most influential policymaker’s personal tolerance of risk. And an individual’s risk tolerance/aversion varies widely, as investment and insurance theory and data tell us. Official processes of policymaking should discipline unduly adventurous policies, but all too obviously frequently they either do not really exist or they simply fail to function as a dampener of unwarranted optimism. Some politician policymakers are highly risk-tolerant; indeed, there are people who derive pleasure from the thrill of danger, physical, political, and moral. Yet others will not be risk-tolerant, but instead will be risk-blind, if not indifferent. Peril will not be recognized, or will be noted but hastily dismissed because its possibility is so unwelcome. One should never discount the sovereign potency of human weakness, folly, incompetence, and sheer ignorance, over a context of strategic decision that must strain the abilities even of those who are sober, capable, and well informed. Because strategists strive to cope well enough with a professional realm wherein chance can rule, even their well-laid plans and sound practice can be undone unfairly by the contingency known simply as bad luck.

It is my hope that these notes will serve as a contribution to an ongoing conversation among the readers of Infinity Journal about the enduring nature and changing character of strategy. The general theory of strategy does not change, but it can and should find some new expression for our times. Also, although there is no new knowledge to be discovered about strategy, old knowledge can be lost.


[i] Williamson Murray, Military Adaptation in War: With Fear of Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p.30. Murray is quoting himself from an article he published in 1988. His important thought must not be permitted to encourage any temptation to understate and undervalue the mutual dependency of strategy and tactics.
[ii] Carl von Clausewitz, On War, tr. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (1832-4; Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 81.
[iii] Colin S. Gray, The Strategy Bridge: Theory for Practice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).
[iv] Justin Kelly and Mike Brennan, Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, September 2009), takes no conceptual prisoners. The argument is probably overstated, but in the main it is plausible.
[v] Robert Lyman, The Generals: From Defeat to Victory, Leadership in Asia, 1941-45 (London: Constable, 2008), p.341.
[vi] Margaret MacMillan, Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War (London: John Murray, 2001), would be amusing were it not such a sad tale that it tells in such detail that is appalling. For historical depth, see the case studies that extend from Ancient Greece to the Cold War of the twentieth century, in Williamson Murray and Jim Lacey, eds., The Making of Peace: Rulers, States, and the Aftermath of War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
[vii] Clausewitz, On War, p.88.
[viii] Ibid., p.85.
[ix] Gray, The Strategy Bridge, Ch. 5.
[x] Eliot A. Cohen, Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime (New York: The Free Press, 2002).
[xi] Charles E. Callwell, Small Wars: A Tactical Textbook for Imperial Soldiers, 3rd edn. (1906; London: Greenhill Books, 1990), p.90.
[xii] Edward N. Luttwak, Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace, rev. edn. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), p.xii.
[xiii] With apologies to the late Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War (1960; New York: The Free Press, 1969), p. 287.
[xiv] Antulio J. Echevarria II, Preparing for One War and Getting Another (Carlisle,PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, September 2010), is indispensable as a clarifier of confusion.
[xv] I wrestle with the issues of relevant education in my Schools for Strategy: Teaching Strategy for 21st Century Conflict (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, November 2009).
[xvi] Clausewitz, On War, p.104.
[xvii] Colin S. Gray, “The Strategist as Hero”, Joint Force Quarterly, No. 62 (3rd Quarter, July 2011), pp. 37-45.
[xviii] Clausewitz, On War, p.85.
[xix] My confidence in this line of thought has been strengthened helpfully by Patrick Porter, Military Orientalism: Eastern War Through Western Eyes (London: C. Hurst, 2009), esp. pp. 65, 170.
[xx] Murray, Military Adaptation in War, advances our understanding usefully.