Strategy & Warfare

Our Strategy and War course is founded on the Clausewitzian premise that "war is a continuation of policy with the addition of other means." Strategy is the bridge that connects the state’s goal with the operations of its military forces. Students are familiarized with the fundamentals of foreign policy and military strategy. In addition, the course assists students in developing a coherent framework for analysis of decisions involving the use of force to achieve national objectives.

Students in class at Naval War College

Strategy and War Course

The Strategy and War Course examines how the overall strategic environment shapes operational choices and outcomes. In turn, the course also examines the strategic effects of operations, exploring how battlefield outcomes can change the strategic environment. Operational success in war, for example, might open up new strategic opportunities. Operational failures might close off promising strategic courses of action. The interaction between the operational use of military force and strategic outcomes can lead to unanticipated results. The history of warfare provides many examples of disproportionate military victories that were largely unforeseen by planners. Alternatively, the commitment of large numbers of forces and huge resources does not ensure strategic success. Students examine how unanticipated second- and third-order effects frustrate planners who seek to dominate the battlefield and the course of operations.

Strategy and War: Intermediate Level Course on Strategy

The Strategy and War Course adopts an interdisciplinary approach to strategy, drawing on the disciplines of history, political science, international relations, and economics. It integrates with those academic perspectives critical military factors from the profession of arms—such as doctrine, weaponry, training, technology, and logistics. The result is a coherent frame of reference to analyze complex strategic problems and formulate strategies to address them.

Student Outcomes

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