Strategy & War

The Strategy and War course examines how the overall strategic environment shapes operational choices and outcomes; familiarizing students with the fundamentals of foreign policy and military 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.

U.S. Naval War College's Luce Hall.

About the Course

This course adopts an interdisciplinary approach to strategy, drawing on the disciplines of history, political science, international relations, and economics. It is designed to prepare military officers to:

  • Be aware of maritime, joint, interagency, and multinational operations along with their strategic effects.
  • Be skilled in applying sea power to achieve strategic effects across a wide range of conflicts capable of integrating naval/military capabilities with other instruments of national power.
  • Understand challenges in accomplishing interagency and multinational coordination.
  • Enhance awareness of American grand strategy from the founding of the republic to the present day.

Core Components

The curriculum consists of two core components: an examination of leading strategic theorists on war and an analysis of major case studies. Students will learn from major strategic thinkers to build an analytical framework that can be used to understand the interrelationship between the realms of policy, strategy, and operations. Case studies provide an opportunity to evaluate and discuss ways in which political leaders and strategic planners in the real world have successfully or unsuccessfully grappled with the challenges associated with the use of force to attain national objectives.

All students are required to write two papers that critically examine significant questions arising from the case studies. These papers present an opportunity to demonstrate critical analysis and prepare work that requires independent thought and graduate-level writing. Papers should serve to stimulate innovative thinking and to provide, provoke, and inform discussion within the seminar.

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