Strategy- A Historical Survey Down the Ages.

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English: Information_Resource_Management_Strategy

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English: Capabilities value contribution to strategy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Example of a balanced scorecard strat...

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Strategy pattern

Strategy pattern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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English: A graph of projections from the strategy area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wave Strategy

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Edited by Stephen Darori

strat·e·gy

noun \-jē\

: a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time

: the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal

plural strat·e·gies

Full Definition of STRATEGY

1

a (1) :  the science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war (2) :  the science and art of military command exercised to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions

:  a variety of or instance of the use of strategy

2

:  a careful plan or method :  a clever stratagem

:  the art of devising or employing plans or stratagemstoward a goal

3
:  an adaptation or complex of adaptations (as of behavior, metabolism, or structure) that serves or appears to serve an important function in achieving evolutionary success<foraging strategies of insects>

Examples of STRATEGY

  1. They are proposing a new strategy for treating the disease with a combination of medications.
  2. The government is developing innovative strategies to help people without insurance get medical care.
  3. a specialist in campaign strategy

Origin of STRATEGY

Greek stratēgia generalship, from stratēgos

First Known Use: 1810

strat·e·gy

noun \ˈstrat-ə-jē\   (Medical Dictionary)

plural strat·e·gies

Medical Definition of STRATEGY

: an adaptation or complex of adaptations (as of behavior, metabolism, or structure) that serves or appears to serve an important function in achieving evolutionary success

strategy

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In warfare, coordinated application of all the forces of a nation to achieve a goal. In contrast to tactics, strategy’s components include a long-range view, the preparation of resources, and planning for the use of those resources before, during, and after an action. The term has expanded far beyond its original military meaning. As society and warfare have steadily grown more complex, military and nonmilitary factors have become more and more inseparable in the conduct of war and in programs designed to secure peace. In the 20th century, the term grand strategy, meaning the art of employing all the resources of a nation or coalition of nations to achieve the objects of war (and peace), steadily became more popular in the literature of warfare and statecraft.

strategy

noun

1

a method worked out in advance for achieving some objective<a statewide strategy to raise students’ achievement test scores over the next three years>

2

the means or procedure for doing something <you’ll need a better strategy than just knocking on doors if you want to sell that many magazines>

strategy

In warfare, coordinated application of all the forces of a nation to achieve a goal. In contrast to tactics, strategy’s components include a long-range view, the preparation of resources, and planning for the use of those resources before, during, and after an action. The term has expanded far beyond its original military meaning. As society and warfare have steadily grown more complex, military and nonmilitary factors have become more and more inseparable in the conduct of war and in programs designed to secure peace. In the 20th century, the term grand strategy, meaning the art of employing all the resources of a nation or coalition of nations to achieve the objects of war (and peace), steadily became more popular in the literature of warfare and statecraft.

strategy, in warfare, the science or art of employing all the military, economic, political, and other resources of a country to achieve the objects of war.

Fundamentals

The term strategy derives from the Greek strategos, an elected general in ancient Athens. Thestrategoi were mainly military leaders with combined political and military authority, which is the essence of strategy. Because strategy is about the relationship between means and ends, the term has applications well beyond war: it has been used with reference to business, the theory of games, and political campaigning, among other activities. It remains rooted, however, in war, and it is in the field of armed conflict that strategy assumes its most complex forms.



Theoreticians distinguish three types of military activity: (1) tactics, or techniques for employing forces in an engagement (e.g., seizing a hill, sinking a ship, or attacking a target from the air), (2) operations, or the use of engagements in parallel or in sequence for larger purposes, which is sometimes called campaign planning, and (3) strategy, or the broad comprehensive harmonizing of operations with political purposes. Sometimes a fourth type is cited, known as grand strategy, which encompasses the coordination of all state policy, including economic and diplomatic tools of statecraft, to pursue some national or coalitional ends.

Strategic planning is rarely confined to a single strategist. In modern times, planning reflects the contributions of committees and working groups, and even in ancient times the war council was a perennial resort of anxious commanders. For example, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War (c. 404 bce) contains marvelous renditions of speeches in which the leaders of different states attempt to persuade their listeners to follow a given course of action. Furthermore, strategy invariably rests on assumptions of many kinds—about what is lawful or moral, about what technology can achieve, about conditions of weather and geography—that are unstated or even subconscious. For these reasons, strategy in war differs greatly from strategy in a game such as chess. War is collective; strategy rarely emerges from a single conscious decision as opposed to many smaller decisions; and war is, above all, a deeply uncertain endeavour dominated by unanticipated events and by assumptions that all too frequently prove false.

Such, at least, has been primarily the view articulated by the greatest of all Western military theoreticians, the Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz. In his classic strategic treatise, On War(1832), Clausewitz emphasizes the uncertainty under which all generals and statesmen labour (known as the “fog of war”) and the tendency for any plan, no matter how simple, to go awry (known as “friction”). Periodically, to be sure, there have been geniuses who could steer a war from beginning to end, but in most cases wars have been shaped by committees. And, as Clausewitz says in an introductory note to On War, “When it is not a question of acting oneself but of persuading others in discussion, the need is for clear ideas and the ability to show their connection with each other”—hence the discipline of strategic thought.

Clausewitz’s central and most famous observation is that “war is a continuation of politics by other means.” Of course war is produced by politics, though in common parlance war is typically ascribed to mindless evil, the wrath of God, or mere accident, rather than being a continuation of rational diplomacy. Moreover, Clausewitz’s view of war is far more radical than a superficial reading of his dictum might suggest. If war is not a “mere act of policy” but “a true political instrument,” political considerations may pervade all of war. If this is the case, then strategy, understood as the use of military means for political ends, expands to cover many fields. A seeming cliché is in fact a radical statement.

There have been other views, of course. In The Art of War, often attributed to Sunzi (5th centurybce) but most likely composed early in China’s Warring States period (475–221 bce), war is treated as a serious means to serious ends, in which it is understood that shrewd strategists might target not an enemy’s forces but intangible objects—the foremost of these being the opponent’s strategy. Though this agrees with Clausewitz’s ideas, The Art of War takes a very different line of argument in other respects. Having much greater confidence in the ability of a wise general to know himself and his enemy, The Art of War relies more heavily on the virtuosity of an adroit commander in the field, who may, and indeed should, disregard a ruler’s commands in order to achieve war’s object. Where On War asserts that talent for high command differs fundamentally from military leadership at lower levels, The Art of War does not seem to distinguish between operational and tactical ability; where On War accepts battle as the chief means of war and extensive loss of human life as its inevitable price, The Art of War considers the former largely avoidable (“the expert in using the military subdues the enemy’s forces without going to battle”) and the latter proof of poor generalship; where On Wardoubts that political and military leaders will ever have enough information upon which to base sound decisions, The Art of War begins and concludes with a study of intelligencecollection and assessment.

To some extent, these approaches to strategy reflect cultural differences. Clausewitz is a product of a combination of the Enlightenment and early RomanticismThe Art of War’s roots inDaoism are no less deep. Historical circumstances explain some of the differences as well. Clausewitz laboured under the impact of 20 years of war that followed the French Revolutionand the extraordinary personality of NapoleonThe Art of War was written during the turmoil of the Warring States period. There also are deeper differences in thinking about strategy that transcend time and place. In particular, differences in contemporary discussions of strategy persist between optimists, who think that the wisely instructed strategist has a better than even chance (other things being equal) to control his fate, and pessimists (such as Clausewitz), who believe that error, muddle, and uncertainty are the norm in war and therefore that chance plays a more substantial role. In addition, social scientists, exploring such topics as inadvertent war or escalation, have been driven by the hope of making strategy a rational and predictable endeavour. Historians, by and large, side with the pessimists: in the words of British historian Michael Howard, one of the best military historians of the 20th century, most armies get it wrong at the beginning of a war.

Strategy in antiquity

The ancient world offers the student of strategy a rich field for inquiry. Indeed, the budding strategist is probably best advised to begin with Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War(c. 404 bce), which describes the contest between two coalitions of Greek city-states between 431 and 404 bce. Athens, a predominantly maritime power, led the former members of theDelian League (now incorporated in the Athenian empire) against the Peloponnesian League, which was led by Sparta, a cautious land power. In the opening speeches rendered by Thucydides, the two leaders, Pericles of Athens and Archidamus II of Sparta, wrestle with strategic issues of transcendent interest: How shall they bring their strengths to bear on their enemy’s weakness, particularly given the different forms of power in which the two coalitions excel? How will the nature of the two regimes—the volatility and enterprising spirit of democratic Athens, the conservatism and caution of slaveholding Sparta—shape the contest?


From his study of the Peloponnesian War, the 19th-century German military historian Hans Delbrück drew a fundamental distinction between strategies based on overthrow of the opponent and those aimed at his exhaustion. Both Sparta and Athens pursued the latter; the former was simply unavailable, given their fundamental differences as military powers. Delbrück’s analysis illustrates the ways in which strategic concepts can transcend history. Suitably modified, they illuminate the choices made, for example, by Israel and its Arab enemies in the 1960s and ’70s just as well as they do those made by the ancient Greeks.

Ancient Greece is a story of distinctive states and eminent leaders, such as Alexander the Great, whose triumphs against the Persian empire in the 4th century bce illustrate the success of strategies of overthrow against centralized states unable to recuperate from a severe setback. The rise of ancient Rome, on the other hand, is far more a story of institutions. From the Greek historian Polybius in the 2nd century bce to the Florentine political philosopherNiccolò Machiavelli in the 15th–16th century, the story of Roman strategy seems one of a collective approach to war rather than a reflection of the choices of a single statesman. Rome’s great strength, the ancient historians argue (and modern historians seem to agree), stemmed from political institutions that turned internal divisions into an engine of external expansion, that allowed for popular participation and executive decision, and that concentrated strategic decision making in a powerful Senate composed of the leading men of Rome. To its unique political constitution was added the Roman legion, a form of military organization far more flexible and disciplined than anything the world had yet seen—a fabulous tool for conquestand, in its attention to detail, from the initial selection of soldiers to their construction of camps to their rotation on the battle line, a model imitated in succeeding centuries.

Rome’s conquest of the Mediterranean world illustrates the idea of a tacit or embedded strategy. Rome’s ruthlessness in dividing its enemies, in creating patron-client relationships that would guarantee its intervention in more civil wars, its cleverness in siding with rebels or dissidents in foreign states, and its relentlessness in pursuing to annihilation its most serious enemies showed remarkable continuity throughout the republic.

The Second Punic War (218–201 bce) illustrates these propositions well. There were only two leading figures of note in Rome throughout the war: Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus (Cunctator), who delayed and bought time while Rome recovered from its initial disastrous defeats, and Scipio Africanus the Elder, who delivered the final blow of the Second Punic War to Carthage at the Battle of Zama (202 bce). It does not appear that either was the equal ofHannibal, the brilliant Carthaginian general who administered defeat after defeat to superior Roman armies on their home turf. More important than personalities, however, was Rome’s unflinching determination to pursue its enemies, quite literally to the death. Hannibal was cornered in the Bithynian village of Libyssa and committed suicide, following a demand from Rome that he be turned over by Antiochus III of Syria, whom he had aided in rebellion against Rome following the defeat of Carthage. And Carthage itself—long the target of the grim senator Marcus Porcius Cato’s insistence that it be destroyed (he famously took to ending every oration with the words “Ceterum censeo delendam esse Carthaginem,” which translate as “Besides which, my opinion is that Carthage must be destroyed”)—was wiped out of existence in the Third Punic War (149–146 bce), which was provoked by Rome for the purpose of finishing off its most dangerous potential opponent.

Learn More About STRATEGY

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