GO NAVY BEAT ARMY

GO NAVY BEAT ARMY

'87 Sir

Thirty years of service ----USNA Class of 1987 '87 Sir

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wrap up post on summer strategy

So, as we enter the dog days of summer, I am trying not to go completely crazy contemplating the political goings-on in Washington...so, as always, I turn to blogging about military history and bacon.  However, bacon is a very short topic to write about in its awesomeness, so I decided to wrap up the summer history series on strategy.  Over the course of the summer I have posted about Grand Strategy, a very amorphous topic from the point of view of the Ancient Chinese, French, British, GermansAmericans, Soviets, and Israelis.

To wrap up, we close with a really outstanding book edited by a number of terrific authors on the subject. 

In a nutshell, Grand Strategy is HARD.  DUH.  B. H. Liddell Hart probably said it best when he defined Grand Strategy as:
[T]he role of grand strategy – higher strategy – is to co-ordinate and direct all the resources of a nation, or band of nations, towards the attainment of the political object of the war – the goal defined by fundamental policy.
Grand strategy should both calculate and develop the economic resources and man-power of nations in order to sustain the fighting services. Also the moral resources – for to foster the people's willing spirit is often as important as to possess the more concrete forms of power. Grand strategy, too, should regulate the distribution of power between the several services, and between the services and industry. Moreover, fighting power is but one of the instruments of grand strategy – which should take account of and apply the power of financial pressure, and, not least of ethical pressure, to weaken the opponent's will. ...
Furthermore, while the horizons of strategy is bounded by the war, grand strategy looks beyond the war to the subsequent peace. It should not only combine the various instruments, but so regulate their use as to avoid damage to the future state of peace – for its security and prosperity.
 It has also been said that a nation that gets strategy right can learn operations and tactics, but if you get your strategy wrong, the best operational and tactical acumen mean nothing.  Look at the difference between the Allies and Axis in World War 2.  The Germans were far and away the best operational and tactical army, at least until very late in the war, yet the Allies were able to suffer pretty horrendous reverses early in the war because their overall strategic goals were achievable...if they had enough time.  The Germans really never had a chance to win the war after the failure of the 1942 Summer Offensive in Russia, and the fact that they held on for three more years speaks to their tactical, not strategic prowess.

So, that ends our summer of Grand Strategy.   Lots more to write about....the whole COIN debate in the U.S. military is coming to a head as the retreat from Afghanistan continues...more on that later.

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