Project Apollo and Strategy as a Conversation

“But why, some say, the moon?”[1] 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

Information Operations: Marketing for War

The closer you look at Information Operations (IO), the harder it becomes to define. Indeed, so too does the broader information instrument of national power; a component of the ‘DIME’[1] model, as well as many other models used to understand national power. The perceived complexity of IO is often the cause of needless friction in … Continue reading Information Operations: Marketing for War

The Geopolitics of Surveillance Capitalism

In his 1998 landmark False Dawn, John Gray wrote that whatever mutation was to emerge from the disintegration of global free market capitalism and the uncontrolled spread of technology, it would likely be unrecognizable from capitalisms past. Two decades on, we can attest to Gray’s foresight. But the mutation that emerged has now become visible. … Continue reading The Geopolitics of Surveillance Capitalism

Understanding National Power

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

Just War Theory in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War

“The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must” Thucydides[1] 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

British response in Dhofar: the pursuit of an elusive ‘rules-based global order’

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’

Countering Mass as a Middle Power: A Case Study

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

The Risk of Appeasement to Relative Power

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

Thucydides and the Inseparable Union of War and Human Nature

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