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Final Exam



Course Objectives and Content

Course Themes

Course Process and Standards

Strategy & Policy Department Faculty

Faculty Seminar Assignments

Typical Weekly Schedule


Case Aids

Case Studies


The Environment of Strategy Making

The Environment of Strategy Making

 6.   The International Dimension of Strategy (International Politics and Coalitions)  What effects did the prevailing system of international politics exert on the outbreak, duration, conduct and settlement of the war?   How did the war’s outcome change the international environment?

      Did the belligerent states seize opportunities to isolate their adversaries?  Did they seize opportunities to create coalitions?  If so, what common interests unified the coalition partners?   Was there effective strategic coordination and burden sharing within a coalition, and what were the consequences if not?  Did military strategies have the effect of solidifying the opposing coalition or splitting it apart?  To what extent did partners act to restrain or control one another within the same coalition?  If a coalition fell apart, was this chiefly the result of internal stress, external pressure, or a combination of both?

7.  The Material Dimension of Strategy (Mobilization and the Economy)  How effectively did each belligerent mobilize the material resources at its disposal?  How did a country’s financial strength, availability of resources, manufacturing plant and technological prowess affect its ability to wage war?  Was the outcome of the war due more to material superiority or superior strategy?

      If a belligerent adopted a strategy of economic warfare, how appropriate was this strategy, and how well was it integrated with other strategies?   How important were communications by sea to the functioning of a belligerent nation’s economy?

8.  The Institutional Dimension of Strategy (Intra-Military Relations, Intra-Governmental Relations, and Civil-Military Relations)  If there was rivalry and competition among the military services, how did this affect the making and implementation of strategy?  Did such rivalries impede the presentation of a coherent military point of view on strategy to the civilian leadership? 

      If there was competition within the governmental elite, did this obscure the military leaders’ understanding of the political objectives of the war?  How did any lack of clarity or constancy in the political aims affect the wartime civil-military relationship?   

     Were the relations among military leaders and statesmen effective?  If not, why was this so and what were the consequences? How did the personalities of the key military and civilian leaders affect the civil-military relationship and the making of policy and strategy throughout the war?  How did the political and military leadership divide their respective tasks, and how did those divisions change over time? If the political leaders demanded of the military instrument something that it could not effectively deliver, or if the political leaders imposed overly stringent political constraints on the use of force, how did the military leaders respond?  If military leaders proposed operations that promised to be militarily effective but threatened to be politically risky, how did the political leaders respond?  Did those trade-offs subvert the subordination of strategy to policy?

9.  The Social Dimension of Strategy (Societies at War)  How did a state’s society and history shape strategy?  Is there, for example, an ‘American strategic culture,’ or an American way of war?  If so, what are its fundamental characteristics and does it allow an adversary to predict how the United States will act?  Did moral, ideological or religious considerations influence the selection of policy and strategy? 

      Was the embodiment of Clausewitz’s trinity — the relationship among government, people, and the military — able to withstand the strain of a protracted war or the shock of an enemy attack?  If not, why not?  If the war was protracted, how successful was the victorious side in weakening its adversary from within?   Did the government’s military strategy deliver sufficient ‘incremental dividends’ — periodic successes or tokens of success — to maintain support for the war?  Did governments attempt to mobilize public opinion, and if so, with what success?  Did the ‘passions of the people’ make it difficult for political and military leaders to maintain the proper relationship between policy and strategy?

 Also see The Process of Strategy Making.