Tacticization of Strategy

Another great essay at The Diplomat by james Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara responds to Norman Friedman’s critical review of their book Red Star Over the Pacific but the important part of the article is a discussion of Micheal Handel’s warning about “tacticization of strategy:

Battlefield commanders and many civilians are prone to become spellbound by technological and tactical wizardry. In so doing, they lose sight of the higher – and ultimately decisive – levels of competition and warfare. Since World War II, observes Handel, “technological means have started to wag the strategic dog.” Andrew Krepinevich strikes a similar note in The Army and Vietnam, faulting the U.S. Army for prosecuting a “strategy of tactics.” U.S. forces seldom lost a tactical engagement with Vietnamese regular or irregular forces, yet they were unable to derive strategic or political gains from these engagements. Conflating equipment and tactics with strategy rendered an unbroken string of battlefield triumphs largely moot.

We run the risk of doing the same sort of thing with AirSea Battle if we are not careful. The new Joint Operational Access Concept, with its verbose description of sound military planning with the new improved ingrediant “cross-domain synergy” offers little to the conversation. Hopeful more (any?) meat will be added to the bones as things progress…


About Paul Vebber

"If you read about something, you have learned about it. If you can teach something, you have mastered it. Designing a useful game about something however, requires developing a deep understanding of how it relates to other things."

Posted on December 12, 2011, in Strateegery and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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