Thoughts from a Budding Strategist

Confess: it’s my professionthat alarms you.This is why few people ask me to dinner,though Lord knows I don’t go out of my way to be scary. - Margaret Atwood, “The Loneliness of the Military Historian” As someone studying strategy and warfare, I often remark that I’m not too fun to be around at dinner parties. … Continue reading Thoughts from a Budding Strategist

The War College Diaries: An Unofficial Guide to the Australian Command and Staff Course

This article is a collation and edit of emails sent to Army members selected for attendance on the Australian Command and Staff Course for 2021 by an Army member attending the 2020 course as it happened. It contains the opinions of the author and completely unofficial in its content. Introduction Firstly, congratulations on your selection for … Continue reading The War College Diaries: An Unofficial Guide to the Australian Command and Staff Course

Winning Wars: Technological advantage or the will to fight?

‘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?

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