Strategy & War

The Strategy and War (S&W) course is founded on the Clausewitzian premise that "war is a continuation of policy with the addition of other means." Strategy is the bridge that connects the state’s goal with the operations of its military forces.

Students in class at Naval War College

In S&W you will be familiarized with the fundamentals of foreign policy and military (joint and combined) strategy. In addition, the course assists students in developing a coherent framework for analysis of decisions involving the use of force to achieve national objectives.

The course is presented through a series of historical case studies examining specific examples of strategic-political interaction. The course, however, is definitely not intended to be a study of history for its own sake. The case study topics have been carefully chosen to focus on historical situations that illustrate the enduring and recurring concerns of the strategist. The principal concerns interwoven throughout the course are:

  • the political determinations and objectives of war
  • the alternatives to war as an instrument of policy
  • the international environment, institutions, and alliance structures through which policy, strategy and military operations interact
  • the comparative merits of joint and combined warfare strategies and operations
  • civil-military relations in peace and war, all examined with reference to political and strategic problems and options.