What is this Thing we call 'Strategy'?

By The Cove May 16, 2019


Strategy' is a term we hear thrown around a lot within the military. In fact, for all officers, they are assessed twice annually through formal performance appraisal reports on their 'strategic perspective' (perhaps without a clear enough explanation as to what this means). The same performance benchmark applies to Other Ranks once they are promoted to the level of Warrant Officer Class Two. Many of us think that when someone refers to the 'strategic level' or having 'strategic perspective' within the workplace, they are simply referring to having an understanding of how things operate at the higher echelons of the Australian Defence Force and its connection with politics and policy. But few of us have a deeper appreciation for what 'strategy' really is within the context of the profession of arms.  

This article by Colin S. Gray via the United States Air Education and Training Command (AETC) Air University provides an excellent explanation and detailed introduction on strategy as a theory.  The author starts us off with an introduction to Prussian Military theorist, Carl von Clausewitz and his body of work on strategy. He walks us through the importance of a holistic approach, and gives 5 points on why strategy is difficult to achieve, suggesting that it is extraordinarily difficult to train competent strategists, and near impossible outstanding ones. Read the article and let us know your thoughts on strategy:

  • Has this article helped increase your understanding of strategy as a concept?
  • Do you think the author has adequately explained strategy for the audience?
  • What are your thoughts on junior leaders within the organisation requiring an understanding of strategy early in their careers?



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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