Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Military Strategy Annotations

In compiling and analyzing the myriad of sources that are the authorities on military strategy, I felt that it would be useful to share some of the most useful sources for historians, strategists, and political scientists:

Collins, John M. Military Strategy. Washington D.C.: Brassey’s, 2002.

Military Strategy provides an overview of the principles, theories, policies, and fundamentals of modern warfare, and their applications in the twenty-first century. The piece is a comprehensive survey of the checklist for military procedures, including modern methods of warfare: coalition strategies, counter terrorist strategies, insurgency tactics, and sociopolitical terrorism. Military Strategy also provides an in depth analysis into the war-fighting concepts and theories behind military practitioners such as Field Marshall Douglas Haig and Mao Zedong. The piece acts as a handbook for students of military strategy, as well as for politico-military policy-makers, strategists, and planners. Students of military strategy will find that Collins blends the ideas of military thought and military principle to develop a spotlight historical approach with which to view assorted military strategies. Part I of the piece is especially important in understanding the fundamentals of military doctrine and is a perfect introduction even for the lay individual.

Wylie, J.C. Military Strategy. New York: Rutgers, 1967.

Wylie's treatise offers a new aspect of military strategy that has "not yet been clearly posed, much less clearly answered." To that end Military Strategy discusses the patterns of thought the military mind does use, and speculates on some that it might use. Wylie strains himself to stay clear of the students of warfare that studied and juggled around the detailed specifics of strategy and the statistics of war. Rather, he employs a framework to answer the questions, "Why does a soldier think like a soldier? Why does a sailor think like a salior? Why does an airman think like an airman?" The piece offers a much needed vistation of a different aspect of military strategy, rather than simply the principles or theories behind it. The organization is broken up into case analysis of different theories behind military thought, including maritime control and air theory, while examining the limitations of the existing theories, any underlying assumptions, and the development of a "general theory" that can be applied to observations in the last chapter. Military Strategy is clearly an innovative piece of scholarship that should be in the bookcase of any practitioner, philosopher, or purveyor of military strategy.

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