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MILITARY STRATEGY. Part 1. Military strategy is a collective name for planning the conduct of warfare . Derived from the Greek strategos , strategy was seen as the "art of the general".

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Military strategy is a collective name for planning the conduct of warfare.

Derived from the Greek strategos, strategy was seen as the "art of the general".

slide3
Military strategy deals with the planning and conduct of campaigns, the movement and disposition of forces, and the deception of the enemy.
slide4
The father of modern strategic study, Carl von Clausewitz, defined military strategy as "the employment of battles to gain the end of war.“

Liddell Hart's definition put less emphasis on battles, defining strategy as "the art of distributing and applying military means to fulfill the ends of policy“.

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Hence, both gave the preeminence to political aims over military goals, ensuring civilian control of the military.
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Military strategy was one of a trivium of "arts" or "sciences" that govern the conduct of warfare; the others being tactics, the execution of plans and maneuvering of forces in battle, and logistics, the maintenance of an army.
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The border line between strategy and tactics is blurred and sometimes categorization of a decision is a matter of almost personal opinion.
fundamentals of military strategy
Fundamentals ofmilitary strategy

"Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances." – Sun Tzu

"You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war." – Napoleon Bonaparte

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Strategy and tactics are closely related. Both deal with distance, time and force but strategy is large scale while tactics are small scale.

Originally strategy was understood to govern the prelude to a battle while tactics controlled its execution.

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However, in the world wars of the 20th century, the distinction between maneuver and battle, strategy and tactics, became blurred.
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It is often said that the art of strategies defines the goals to achieve in a military campaign, while tactics defines the methods to achieve these goals.
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Strategic goals could be "We want to conquer area X", or "We want to stop country Y's expansion in world trade in commodity Z";
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while tactical decisions range from "We're going to do this by a naval invasion of the North of country X", "We're going to blockade the ports of country Y", all the way down to "C Platoon will attack while D platoon provides fire cover".
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In its purest form, strategy dealt solely with military issues.

In earlier societies, a king or political leader was often the same person as the military leader.

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If he was not, the distance of communication between the political and the military leader was small.

But as the need of a professional army grew, the bounds between the politicians and the military came to be recognized.

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In many cases, it was decided that there was a need for a separation.

As French statesman Georges Clemenceau said, "war is too important a business to be left to soldiers."

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This gave rise to the concept of the grand strategy which encompasses the management of the resources of an entire nation in the conduct of warfare.
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In the environment of the grand strategy, the military component is largely reduced to operational strategy -- the planning and control of large military units such as corps and divisions.
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As the size and number of the armies grew and the technology to communicate and control improved, the difference between "military strategy" and "grand strategy" shrank.
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Fundamental to grand strategy is the diplomacy through which a nation might forge alliances or pressure another nation into compliance, thereby achieving victory without resorting to combat.
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Another element of grand strategy is the management of the post-war peace. As Clausewitz stated, a successful military strategy may be a means to an end, but it is not an end in itself.
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There are numerous examples in history where victory on the battlefield has not translated into long term peace, security or tranquility.
principles of military strategy
Principles of military strategy

Many military strategists have attempted to encapsulate a successful strategy in a set of principles.

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Sun Tzu defined 13 principles in his The Art of War while Napoleon listed 115 maxims.

American Civil War General Nathan Bedford Forrest required only one: "to git thar furst with the most men".

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The fundamental concepts common to most lists of principles are:
  • The Objective
  • Offense
  • Cooperation
  • Concentration (Mass)
  • Economy
  • Maneuver
  • Surprise
  • Security
  • Simplicity
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Which are reflected in the United States Army's United States Army Field Manual (FM-3) of Military Operations (sections 4-32 to 4-39) as:
  • Objective (Direct every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective)
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Offensive (Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative)
  • Mass (Concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time)
  • Economy of Force (Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts)
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5. Maneuver (Place the enemy in a disadvantageous position through the flexible application of combat power)

6. Unity of Command (For every objective, ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander)

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7. Security (Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage)
  • Surprise (Strike the enemy at a time, at a place, or in a manner for which he is unprepared)
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Simplicity (Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding)
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Some strategists assert that adhering to the fundamental principles guarantees victory while others claim war is unpredictable and the general must be flexible in formulating a strategy.
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Field Marshal Count Helmuth von Moltke expressed strategy as a system of "ad hoc expedients" by which a general must take action while under pressure.
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These underlying principles of strategy have survived relatively unscathed as the technology of warfare has developed.