‘Nor can technology abolish war’s central essence as the realm of uncertainty and of the clash of wills. Processing power can no more replace discernment and sheer guts at the strategic level than on the battlefield itself.’ - The Dynamics of Military Revolution As more have come to accept that our global society is on … Continue reading Winning Wars: Technological advantage or the will to fight?
“Of all the talents bestowed upon men, none is so precious as the gift of oratory. He who enjoys it wields a power more durable than that of a great king. He is an independent force in the world. Abandoned by his party, betrayed by his friends, stripped of his offices, whoever can command this … Continue reading The Five Elements of Great Oratory Skill: Winston Churchill’s Approach to Persuasive Speech
“But why, some say, the moon?” While definitions of strategy vary, few question the value of a strategy to provide a ‘big idea’ and a sense of how an organisation can work towards an aspirational goal. As big ideas go, the President Kennedy’s 1961 proposal that the US commit ‘before this decade is out, of … Continue reading Project Apollo and Strategy as a Conversation
Where do nations derive their power from, and how best do they employ power to pursue their interests? This question has been contemplated by strategists for thousands of years—from Nicias to Napoleon, from the Parthenon to the Pentagon—yet we seem no closer to arriving at a suitable conclusion. Perhaps the closest we can get to … Continue reading Understanding National Power
“The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must” Thucydides Thucydides’ history of the Peloponnesian Waris generally acknowledged to be an outstanding example of military historiography. The text is an enthralling yet challenging account of the catastrophic impact of the 27-year war between Athens and Sparta during the 5th Century BC. … Continue reading Just War Theory in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War
Counterinsurgency operations are not just ‘difficult’, they’re ‘playing Pac-Man on level 256 while solving five rubik's cubes with one hand difficult’. Intervening in foreign affairs in pursuit of a rules-based global order has sapped the energy from superpowers past and present - and will likely continue to do so into the future. Throughout the 20th … Continue reading British response in Dhofar: the pursuit of an elusive ‘rules-based global order’
On 22nd June 1941, the Russian military was in disarray as Germany embarked upon the largest military campaign the world had ever seen; Operation Barbarossa. Tactically, the Red Army was woefully unprepared, but a robust Soviet strategic and ideological framework was in place to leverage off the concept of total national mobilisation. Russia’s ruthless approach … Continue reading Countering Mass as a Middle Power: A Case Study
In late 1938 Europe stood on the brink of war. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain received a hero’s welcome on his return from Munich. His efforts to save the peace in Europe were greeted by fanfare and relief. Intent on preserving peace in Europe, Chamberlain had made all allowable concessions to Hitler. He was convinced … Continue reading The Risk of Appeasement to Relative Power
Without humans, war would be a relatively straight-forward affair. Thucydides explores the dynamics of human interaction in his account of the Peloponnesian War; both how humans affect, and are affected by war. He presents us with a number of key propositions about war and human nature, perhaps most strikingly, the motives for war; “fear, honour, … Continue reading Thucydides and the Inseparable Union of War and Human Nature
This post explores the German approach to Auftragstahik (mission command), blitzkrieg (combined arms integration) and officer education during the Second World War. It explores why modern military professionals remain facinated by the German approach but are unable to replicate it.