Introductory Resource for Studying Military Strategy

By The Cove May 16, 2019


An excellent resource to consider if you have never been a scholar of strategy in the past, is: 'Military Strategy: A Very Short Introduction'  by Antulio Echevarria.  It is part of the very successful 'Very Short Introductions' series available through the Oxford University Press. The resource covers topics such as:

  • What is Military Strategy?
  • Annihilation and Dislocation
  • Attrition and Exhaustion
  • Deterrence and Coercion
  • Terror and Terrorism
  • Cyber Power and Military Strategy

The Oxford University Press suggests that since ancient times, poets, historians, and philosophers have contemplated warlords' exploits in battle and praised their ability to lead armies toward victory as the "art of the general." Military strategy plays a vital role in every conflict, because, as the United States' involvement in the Vietnam conflict showed, when the overarching strategy is weak it is possible to win every battle but still lose a war.

Taking inspiration from the greatest military theoreticians of history, such as Sun Tzu, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Carl von Clausewitz, this 'Very Short Introduction' highlights the dynamic relationship between the principal components of strategy: purpose, method, and means. Drawing on paradigmatic examples, from Hannibal's war against Rome to Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz, from the Allies' campaign to overwhelm Hitler's fortress to the terror attacks of September 11, the author illustrates the factors contributing to the success or failure of military strategy. Echevarria describes the major types of military strategy and their advantages and disadvantages: annihilation and dislocation; attrition and exhaustion; deterrence and coercion; terror and terrorism; targeted killing; and cyber power. He also explores the emerging nano- and bio-genetic technologies and explains how they are affecting today's military strategy.

This book shows that military strategy is essential for understanding major events of the past and becomes even more critical today, in a world increasingly threatened by weapons of mass destruction, terrorist attacks, and new dimensions of conflict, such as cyber-war and space.

The book is available via the links above, or alternatively through the Defence Library Service for serving ADF members.



The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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