Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

How the military teaches strategy

This parody document actually is a pretty good summary of how the military teaches strategy. It is easy to make fun of it. That said, having such an approach is better than having no approach at all. And getting all this stuff in one place may be the work necessary to begin thinking strategically. Just ...

553297_ricks3_562.jpg
553297_ricks3_562.jpg

This parody document actually is a pretty good summary of how the military teaches strategy. It is easy to make fun of it. That said, having such an approach is better than having no approach at all. And getting all this stuff in one place may be the work necessary to begin thinking strategically.

Just don't think this is all that needs to be done. This is a summary of what you should know before you begin to study and work on understanding strategy.

In my view, strategy is an art form that fundamentally asks who we are, what we are trying to do, how we think we can do it, and how much we are willing to expend to achieve it. Hazy? Yes. But as Warren Buffett has observed, being approximately right beats the hell out of being precisely wrong. 

This parody document actually is a pretty good summary of how the military teaches strategy. It is easy to make fun of it. That said, having such an approach is better than having no approach at all. And getting all this stuff in one place may be the work necessary to begin thinking strategically.

Just don’t think this is all that needs to be done. This is a summary of what you should know before you begin to study and work on understanding strategy.

In my view, strategy is an art form that fundamentally asks who we are, what we are trying to do, how we think we can do it, and how much we are willing to expend to achieve it. Hazy? Yes. But as Warren Buffett has observed, being approximately right beats the hell out of being precisely wrong. 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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