Introduction to Military StrategyBy The Cove May 16, 2019
In addition to our 'Breaking In' to Strategy intro' available on The Cove, we also aim to provide you with links to some educational videos for those with less time available to dedicate to reading lengthy articles and papers. Strategy is a difficult concept to master, and sometimes having an expert explain it verbally initially will help people grasp the basics before they seek to explore in further detail. Here we offer four videos:
Video (2 mins): 'On Why Strategy is Not What People Think it Is' with Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman. Lawrence Freedman is one of the most famous modern strategists. An academic from King’s College London, he has studied and written on strategy since the start of the Cold War. Here, in two minutes, he explains how the word ‘strategy’ is commonly misused in the modern world.
Video (35 mins): 'How Will Strategy Shape the Future of War?' with Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman. This 35 minute video answers the question ‘what is strategy’? He then moves on to a really useful discussion about how strategy has been used (or not used) since 9/11.
Video (23 mins) 'Re-Thinking Strategy' with Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman. This 23 minute video explains that 'strategy' is not simply a science which, if carried out effectively, will result in success at war. He discusses the scepticism surrounding strategy: as it was thought by many that those who understand strategy would be successful in war and be able to control events. Of great use is his explanation that most good strategy is based on the problem at hand (the here and now), not being fixated on the 'end' point.
Video (5 mins) 'Strategies Are Not Plans' with Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman. This 5 minute video explains that strategies are not aynonymous with plans. He uses the well known parable of 'David and Goliath' to help explain the concept and demonstrate just how difficult strategy is. He explains that strategies should not generally rely on cleverness (i.e. being more clever than your opponent when they have superior resources to you) to win, as most actions will not work as effectively once the opposition amends their tactics. Instead he suggests that if you're the underdog facing a resource superior opposition, your best chance of success is to get help from others (coalition strategy).
So if you prefer to do your learning via watching a video over reading a paper - then we recommend you try these videos as your start point and then branch into some of the heavier texts at a later date. Please let us know if these resources helped increase your knowledge on strategy.