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Special Collection

Military Strategy - what is the use of it?

Collection launched: 10 Jun 2022

The purpose of this special issue is to highlight the utility of military strategy for both students and practitioners, both civilian and military. It seeks to dispel three myths. First, that military strategy is irrelevant for small states because they exist in an anarchic system where ‘the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must’. Second, that causal theory/science is irrelevant for strategic practice/art because of the complex and inherently unpredictable nature of war. Third, that military strategy is relevant at the strategic level only and should not be taught to junior officers.

Taken together the contributions to this special issue illustrate that military strategy is of ‘use’, and that practical use of the common ends, ways, means model will benefit from making the inevitable use of assumptions and causal hypotheses explicit so that the underlying logic becomes easier to subject to critical scrutiny both logical and empirical. The contributions demonstrate that it is a mistake to conceptualize military strategy as either theory/science or practice/art. Rather than viewing theory, science and method as irrelevant distractions, they should be viewed as indispensable tools for enhancing the analytical quality of practical strategy making.

Guest editor

Peter Viggo Jakobsen, Royal Danish Defence College and Center for War Studies, University of Southern Denmark