Quotes about Strategy and Decision
"To lack inteloligence is to be in the ring blinfolded."
General David M. Shoup, former Commandant of the US Marine Corps.
Three basic consderations in the threat-evaluation process:
Capabilties - What can the enemy do?
Intentions - What will the enemy do?
Vulnerabilities - What are the enemy's salient weaknesses?
in Rear Admiral J. C. Wylie's book, Military Strategy, he identifies two "elemental, perhaps irreducible strategies, which he entitled "sequential" and "cumulative."
Sequential strategies constitute successive steps, each contingnet onthe one prceding it, that lead to the final objective.
Cumulative strategies constitute a collection of individaul, random actions which collectively and eventually provide an overwhelming or crushing result.
General Beaufre, quoted in Collins pg. 16, "the game of strategy can, like music, be played in two "keys." The major key is direct strategy in which force is the essentail factor. The monor key is indirect strategy, in which force recedes into the background and its place is taken by psychology and planning. Naturally, any strategy may make use of both these keys in varying degree and the result is a large number of "patterns..."
Like Sun Tzu: "to subuethe enemy without fighting is the acme of skill."
See Beaufre for another key strategist of history. Here is a clip for Wikipedia:
In his book 1940: The Fall of France, Beaufre writes: The collapse of the French Army is the most important event of the twentieth century. This may sound strange to American ears, but in a certain point of view this Uchronie is pretty close to correct. Had the French Army held, the Hitler regime would have almost certainly fallen. There would have been no Nazi conquest of Western Europe, no Nazi assault on the Soviet Union, no Holocaust, most likely no Communist takeover of Eastern Europe. He later gave his views on France's fall during interviews for the now famous production by Thames Television, The World at War.
To understand the roots of this catastrophic defeat, one must study social history, political history, and military history. While the proximate causes are to be found in military factors (dispersion rather than concentration of armored forces, in particular), the root causes lie in social and political factors. Anyone reading about France in the 1930s will be struck by the deep divisions in its society, and the extraordinarily vitriolic nature of its politics. Consider, for example, the matter of Léon Blum. In the late 1930s, the following phrase was popular among French elites: "Better Hitler than Blum"
From John M. Collins, Grand Strategy, pg. 2
Collins says: "strategy occupies two distinctive but inter-related planes, one abstract, the other concrete. The former is peopled with strategic philosophers and theoriticians, the latter with practical planners." pg. 14
"Grand strategy, which embraces such niceties as bluff, negotiation, economic skulduggery, and psychological warfare..." this not like Clausweitz but more like Liddell Hart who said "the true aim is not so much to seek battle but to seek a strategic situatuion so advantageous that if it does not of itself produce the decision, its continuation by a battle is sure to achieve this."
me: Two stories should suffice to demosntrate the improtance of strategi thinking. In WW2, strategy was not exemplified by planning for the invasion of Normandy, but by the grand strategy of which Normandy was just a piece.
A second example is Stonewall JHackson's maneuvers in Virginia, forcuing not so much onthe immediate enemy in front of him, but in pulling Union forces away from Lee's primary forces ositioned to the east.
Collins says "only a handful of strategic pioneers, like Alexander, Machiavelli, Lenin, Liddell Hart, and Mao, have devised innovative ways to substitute subtleties for brute force." pg. 16
"In sum, strategy is the are and science of options." Collins, pg 19
"the principle of Flexibility recognizes the inevitability of change in purposes, policies, plans and procedures." p. 25
Wyle (in Collins, p. 25) says "no one can predict with certainty the pattern war will take."