Military Strategic Studies People

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Liddel Hart


Grand Strategy – needs to focus on peace afterwards (policy makers didn’t think much after removal of Saddam)

grand strategy: to coord and direct all the resources to political object of war—the goal defined by fundamental policy.

•Instruments of grand strategy DIME (Diplomatic, Informational, Military, and Economic instruments of power.)



-Revolution war is an internal conflict. Insurgents have the initiative; policy starts before the use of force.

-Prerequisites for a successful insurgency: cause, weakness of the Counterinsurgent, geographic conditions, outside support.

-A good cause is necessary, lasting, malleable, expendable, must mea different things to different people.

-The insurgent can lie and misdirect; the CI must walk the walk.

-How to approach insurgency: take away outside support, control the borders, undermine the cause, etc.

-Two approaches: Orthodox Pattern, and Bourgeous-Nationalist Pattern (shortcut).



 •Protecting the people, winning their hearts and minds is more important than killing insurgents.

• US military is a learning organization willing to adapt.

•Successful counterinsurgencies take time: ten years is the norm, difficult ones take a generation.

•Counterinsurgency is a competition for the right and ability to win hearts and minds.  Your enemy is smart and adaptive.

•The 28 Articles emphasize:preparation, presence and inititive



-Fault lines between civilizations

-fails to acknowledge globalization, modernization aspirations.

-ignores conflict within civilizations


Bloody Border’s Postulate – invade a muslim country not right on its border.


Torn Countries


Pollack (Iraq)


No good option. Best = invasion.

 – Containment against Saddem was unraveling.

-Deterrence – not effective without help to stop econ from bordering countries

-Hussein cannot be coerced because he is a risk-taker and unpredictable.

-Coercion fails also because he is getting outside support from other countries such as China.

Abizaid (Iraq)


-Issues with long war: terrorist groups gaining WMDs, radical muslim youth perpetuate violence, loss of US support and political will.

Salafist jihadists: revolutionary muslim preachers who seek to overthrow the existing order

-Ideological war

Weapons of mass effect – Islam’s successful use of the globalmedia


Similar to Sun Tzu (know your enemy know yourself and Lawrence(psychological – must have will to win)

Krepinevich (Iraq)


-We failed to implement counter-insurgency warfare and are suffering as a result.

-No clear goal, establish democracy

Three centers of gravity: Iraqi people, American People, American soldier. Insurgents need 1, US needs all 3 to win.

-Must establish security – “oil spot” counterinsurgency strategy is best.

Three sources of Insurgency:

-Iraq is a great example to show how Grand Strategy can fail or be misaligned. The US overwhelmingly relied on the military to accomplish its goals in Iraq. The DI and E of the DIME have had a difficult time securing objectives in Iraq.
– Liddell Hart notes that ultimately Grand Strategy needs to focus on the peace afterwards. It is not known whether or not US policymakers thought much further than the removal of Saddam.
Nagl (Afghanistan)


-Displace Al Qaeda and keep them displaced to ensure security. This will win support by the people.

-Unify the diverse population so they will be easier to protect.

-Do it “The Afghan Way” so they can sustain their own security after we leave.

-CAPTF = Combined Air Power Transition Force



– Afghanistan poses an extremely difficult counter-insurgency problem “Know your enemy, know yourself . . . certainly applies.” – Sun Tzu

•Counter-insurgency theory will be critical.  Lawrence will to win. 

•Afghanistan strategy must include considerations of Pakistan and an understanding of that country.

•Time is perhaps the crucial element for insurgent and counter-insurgent.  Mao’s thoughts on protracted war may prove vital, although the Taliban is not the highly organized Chinese Red Army.



-Argues that sea power is the key to world power.

-Believes that command of the sea can be gained through decisive battles  won by the main battle fleet; commerce raiding is the weaker form of naval war.

-Command of the sea means production, shipping, colonies, and markets.

-Elements of sea power are 1) Geographical position, 2) Physical Conformation, 3) Extent of territory,

4) Number of Population,

5) Character of the people,

6) Character of the Govt



-You cannot conquer the sea; most often the sea is uncommanded.

-The object of naval warfare is control of communications, not conquest of terrotory. Command of the sea means control of maritime communications.

-Command of the sea means the enemy can no longer attack our lines of passage and communication effectively, and that he cannot use or defend his own.



-Air power is inherently offensive, with no chance of defense.

-Independent Air Force—key to national defense indep. of other services. 

command of the air is crucial to success in war

– Advocates bombing with high-explosives, incendiaries, and poison gas – kill population

Vital Centers (more focused on population centers)

Targets: 1)Industry 2)commercial buildings

3)transport hubs

4) Cities



-Air power is inherently offensive, with no chance of defense.

-Independent Air Force—key to national defense indep. of other services. 

command of the air is crucial to success in war

– Advocates bombing with high-explosives, incendiaries, and poison gas – kill population

Vital Centers (more focused on population centers)

Targets: 1)Industry 2)commercial buildings

3)transport hubs

4) Cities



Independent Air Force

-vague about the concept of vital centers (military and strategic targets)

1) cities 2)supply 3)transport

-Need a tactical and strategic air force but leaned more towards strategic.

-Navy obsolete

-Mitchell’s ideas change overtime

– Air and ground commanders must coordinate their efforts

“Air superiority must be earned . . . is temporary . . . and only is a means to an end.”

-Fighters role is secondary to ground role.

-Just have to interrupt targets not destroy them





•Deterrence is the dominant concept of nuclear strategy.

•Protecting the retaliatory force is the essential requirement for deterrence.

•Lots of nuclear weapons means nothing as long as each side fears the capability of the other.

• “In no case is the fear of the consequences of atomic bomb attack likely to be low.”

•War no longer brings political benefits without cost.



• coercion theory focuses on diplomacy, bargaining, and the limited use of force.

• emphasizing the national power more than military power

• “The power to hurt is bargaining power.  To exploit it is diplomacy.”

•threat of violence that can make someone yield or comply.

War is no longer a contest of strength, but of endurance, obstinacy, nerve, and pain.  Linked to Clausewitz’s contest of will.

•Deterrence rests on the threat of pain and extinction, not just on the threat of military defeat (b/c of nuclear weapons). 



OODA-loop: Observation, Orientation (Most important component), Decision, Action

-fast – seize advantage

Strategic paralysis(fastly/disable no destroy) confuse, disorient the enemy, render helpless mentally

– Mao a counter point to Boyd.  Fast, transient maneuvers may not matter to prolonged war.



-emphasizes strategic paralysis (through organizational distruction)

– seeks to destroy his leadership structure.

– centers of gravity (5 rings)

Five Rings                             :  

1)National Leadership (inner ring/easiest)

 2)Key Production/ Organic Essentials

3) National Infrastructure 4)National Population

5) Fielded military Forces (outer ring/hardest to destroy)

-PARALLEL WARFARE – hit all major targets at same time. Large attack.



Not likely to affect will/moral through strategic paralysis by destroying inner rings, focus on outer rings/ground forces.

-Airpower is not the revolution but gives a new way to “hammer” against enemy in addition to ground forces (anvil)

Decapitation does not work: killing top leadership is hard to do and if successful they can just be replaced.

-Combined attack is best – hammer and anvil.


-Denial instead of coercion



•diminish enemy resistance w/ movement and surprise., ideally to win w/out serious fighting.

•don’t  seek battle, but strategic advantage,+ strategic dislocation.

•Adaptability governs survival


-Work with the army to reduce the enemy’s ability to succeed in the field.


3 principles                              :

1) Concentration

2) Offensive Action

3) Security



3 part strategy – 1)renounce OST 2) deploy space-based BMD system eliminate missile born threats and dominates space 3) establish space coordination agency to encourage space efforts.

-Gains new era of peace and prosperity.


6 dimensions: Society/Culture, Political Environment, Physical environment, Military / Technology, Economic base, theory / doctrine

Two schools of space theory: Space as a sanctuary and space as a high ground



– war is politics by other means and war is policy by other means

Nature(unchanging)  vs character (changes)

-War is politics/policy

-Warfare purpose is really important


-Military genius is the ability to overcome friction (strength of mind plus strength of character)

Paradoxical Trinity (balance):

-People (passion)

-Commander (probability)

-Govt (reason)

Dule Nature of War: balance between absolute and real war is controlled by politics.

Mao Tse Dong


protracted war is the advantage of the revolutionary.

Political Mobilization – winning “hearts and minds.”

-three stages of protracted war: (strategic defensive, strategic stalemate, and strategic counter-offensive) provide a system and process for success.

– Theory of asymmetric warfare that appeals to the materially weak and technologically backward.

-Weapons not as important as people

“Preserve oneself and destroy the enemy”

Lawrence of Arabia


Guerilla Warfare (good attack and bad defense) – hit and run

Algebraic: Stats / numbers vs size of the area / (what you have as opposed to the enemy)

Biological: How long can you physically last/sustain

Psychological: The will to fight/morale

-Drawling out benefits Unconventional warfare

-War of detachment

– Fight is moral/will to win

Earn the support of people through the printing press

Sun Tzu


-War is extremely important to the state.

– A speedy victory is the main object of war. Protracted war sucks (afgan)

Attack the enemy’s strategy, alliances, army, and last, his cities.

Speed is the essence of war.

-All warfare is Deception. Espionage is everywhere.

-“To subdue the enemy without fighting is of supreme excellence” use diplomacy

-Allies = important to have

“know your enemy know yourself” (afgan)

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