Strategy & Policy

Our Strategy and Policy Course is designed to teach students to think strategically and to prepare for positions of strategic leadership. Strategy is the relationship between war’s purpose, objective, and means. The aim of the course is to sharpen the your ability to assess how alternative strategic courses of action best serve to achieve overall national objectives. Students will be asked to think in a disciplined, critical, and original manner about the international strategic environment, about a range of potential strategies, and about the strategic effects of joint, interagency, and multinational operations.

Students in class at Naval War College

The senior-level course emphasizes grand strategy and employs case studies that are distinctive in three respects. First, the course examines the dynamics and effects of long-term strategic competition. Such conflicts often entail protracted periods of intense fighting that produce truces and peace settlements, interwar and prewar eras, as well as cold war conflicts and crises leading to war. This dynamic provides an opportunity to consider the long-term effectiveness of all instruments of national power. Second, the case studies and strategic thinkers featured in the reading list examine diverse types of wars, encompassing a variety of operations and different keys to success. Success in one kind of conflict may be followed by failure in another; thus, an important aspect of strategic leadership is the ability to adapt. Third, this course analyzes the strategic success and failure of great and regional powers as well as non-state actors over long periods of time. It contrasts maritime powers with land powers, exploring the different strategies open to them, and examines the resiliency of different kinds of political systems.

Strategy and Policy (S&P): Senior Level Course on Strategy

The Strategy and Policy Course adopts an interdisciplinary approach to strategy, drawing on the disciplines of history, political science, international relations, and economics. It integrates with those academic perspectives critical military factors from the profession of arms—such as doctrine, weaponry, training, technology, and logistics. The result is a coherent frame of reference to analyze complex strategic problems and formulate strategies to address them.

Goals and Objectives

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Methodology

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