AY17 Theory of War and Strategy Course Directive

  • August 24, 2016
  • Dr William T Johnsen, Dr Richard A Lacquement Jr

This course, which is the bedrock of the U.S. Army War College curriculum, introduces students to the theory of war and strategy. Theory, defined as a body of ideas and principles, provides a basis for the study of a particular subject and offers a framework within which professional discussions can occur. Theory generates and defines the common language that facilitates communication. It provides ways to think about issues. Theory also may provide advice on solving problems. Good theory, however, is not dogmatic—it allows, even encourages, debate. When theory no longer seems to explain or fit the situation, new theory emerges to supplement or replace the old. The military officer or national security professional must be well grounded in both the theory of war and the theory of strategy to be effective at the higher levels of the national security hierarchy. Theory is essential to comprehension, and is the basis of the sound thinking that wins wars. In essence, this course prepares students to think critically about strategy and the uses of military force and forces.