Understanding Strategy

Posted: June 12, 2011 in Uncategorized
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In the military, there is a distinction between “levels of war.” Grand strategy is the overarching state-level plan of war, which involves considerations of politics, social cohesion, national morale, alliances, information warfare, economic strategy, and war production. Strategy (also called military strategy) is the military’s plan of war. Operational art involves campaign planning and creating the conditions for battlefield success. At the lowest level, tactical plans are aimed at victory in battle through a succession of engagements with the enemy. Plans at all levels can be hasty (i.e., improvised) or deliberate (i.e., prepared, include rehearsals). The levels of war play out on the physical plane, the moral plane, and, increasingly, the cognitive plane.

However, strategy can also be viewed generically as the means by which you intend to prevail over the enemy, regardless of the level of war. For instance, you can say your strategy is to draw the enemy into a kill zone so you can wear him down with fire then annihilate him with a counter attack. That would be at the level of the tactical engagement. You can also say that your strategy in a war is to avoid decisive battles and wear down the enemy through blockade, economic sanctions, encircling alliances, and strategic bombardment of his production base, then attack him when you have built up sufficient strength to defeat him on the ground. That’s essentially the strategy for the war in Europe in WWII.

© 2011 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted for non-commercial purposes with full and proper attribution.

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