of Strategy Making
What were the
political objectives of the belligerents? Was military force the best
means to achieve these objectives or were other means at least as
promising? If the option of force was selected, were policy
limitations placed on its use? If so, were these limitations so stringent
as to reduce the chances of success? Were the political goals
clearly articulated and understood? Did the political aim call for
the removal from power of the enemy’s regime or for a more limited
How valuable were
the political objectives to the belligerents? Were the costs and the risks
of the war anticipated and were they commensurate with the benefits and
rewards to be achieved? How carefully were alternative strategies
considered? What assumptions did statesmen and military leaders make
about the linkage between the achievement of military objectives and the
achievement of political objectives?
Intelligence, Assessment, and Plans.
How reliable and
complete was the intelligence collected prior to the war? How
accurately was it interpreted, and how well were its limits understood?
Was a serious effort made to analyze the ‘lessons’ of previous wars and if
so how did this influence the making of strategy?
Was strategy based
upon an objective net assessment of friendly and enemy strengths and
weaknesses? Was account taken of the possibility of non-rational
behavior by the enemy or of the existence of differences in culture,
political systems, and strategic traditions? Did military leaders and
statesmen correctly predict the nature of the war on which they were
planners identify as the center or centers of gravity of the enemy? Or
did other concepts guide planners in their choice of what to attack?
To what extent did plans rely upon strategic deception and surprise?
Did planning make adequate allowances for the fog, friction, uncertainty,
and chance of war?
Instruments of War.
Did political and military leaders understand the capabilities of the
different forms of military power at their disposal in terms of their
strategic effects as well as operational effectiveness? Did
strategists properly take into account operational, logistical or other
physical constraints on the deployment and employment of the available
instruments of war?
understand how to integrate the different forms of military power in the
most strategically effective way? Did those in command of the
different instruments of war share a common set of assumptions about how the
use of force would translate into the achievement of the political
objective? What limitations prevented one side or the other from
attaining an optimal integration of the different forms of military power?
Did a strategy
exploit opportunities created by technological innovation? Did a country’s
strategy effectively translate asymmetries in technology into a strategic
advantage? Was there a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA)
prior to or during the war, and if it occurred, did its tactical and
operational consequences produce lasting strategic results?
Was the initial
strategy implemented as anticipated, or were the prewar plans disrupted by
unexpected enemy action? What effects did interaction with the enemy have on
the nature (and the perception of the nature) of the war? Was one side
able to make its adversary fight on its preferred terms? If not, how well
did strategists adapt to what the enemy did? If the initial strategy
proved to be successful, did that strategic success drive changes, whether
wise or ill considered, in political objectives? Alternatively,
if the initial strategy proved to be unsuccessful or too costly, was there a
timely reassessment of either or both political objectives and strategy?
How, and how well, were policy and/or strategy adapted as a result?
the first steps into war, and during its progress, did strategists consider
what the last steps could, or might, be? Were there realistic
opportunities for a successful end to the war that were not grasped?
Did the commitment of one side to removing the enemy’s leadership from power
result in a longer war and heavier casualties?
Did the winning side
carefully consider how far to go militarily at the end of the war? In an
attempt to maintain military pressure on its adversary, did it go beyond the
culminating point of victory? Or did the winning side not go far
enough militarily to give the political result of the war a good chance to
endure? Did the winning side carefully consider what specific
political demands to make on the enemy in fulfillment of its general
political objectives? Did the postwar settlement meet the political
objectives of the winning state, or states? Were the long-range
consequences of the peace terms recognized? To what extent did the
stability or instability of the settlement stem from the nature of the
settlement itself? Did the winning side maintain the strength and will
to enforce the peace?