Category Archives: Strategy

Strategy in the Contemporary World – the Cyber Dimension

SITCW 5th Ed

The 5th Edition of Strategy in the Contemporary World was published by Oxford University Press on 31 December 2015, and is available from all good booksellers.

Among the many excellent chapters on all things strategic by some of the leading thinkers around is my updated chapter (originally published in the 4th Edition) titled “The Rise of Cyberpower.

Strategy in the Contemporary World is a great introductory textbook for student and layman alike looking to understand the fundamentals of, and trends in, strategic studies.

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Filed under Books, Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Professional Military Education, Publications, Shameless Self-Promotion, Strategic Theory, Strategy, Theory of Cyberpower

Geopolitics and Cyberpower: Why Geography Still Matters

AFPI Journal

I have a new article, “Geopolitics and Cyberpower: Why Geography Still Matters,” published in the latest issue of American Foreign Policy Interests, the journal of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in New York City.

It’s an imperfect first attempt at an issue that is of enduring interest to me, so expect more on this from me down the road. That said, all comments and critiques are welcome. I hope you enjoy it: 10803920%2E2014%2E969174

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Filed under American Foreign Policy Interests, Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Geography, Geopolitics, National Committee on American Foreign Policy, Publications, Shameless Self-Promotion, Strategic Theory, Strategy, Stuxnet, Theory of Cyberpower

Sheldon on Deterrence: Returning to Fundamentals: Deterrence and U.S. National Security in the 21st Century

I have contributed an essay, “A Fatal Disconnect: Conventional Deterrence in a Nuclear-Armed World,” to an excellent edited volume produced by the George C. Marshall Institute in Washington, DC, titled Returning to Fundamentals: Deterrence and U.S. National Security in the 21st Century.

Along with my modest contribution, there are outstanding essays by Bob Butterworth, “Nuclear Force Planning: Odin or Onan?”; Peter Marquez, “Space Deterrence: The Prêt-á-Porter Suit for the Naked Emperor;” and Eric Sterner, “Deterrence in Cyberspace: Yes, No, Maybe?”

We hope that they all contribute something useful to understanding the vitally important concept of deterrence.

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Filed under Conventional Deterrence, Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Deterrence, George C. Marshall Institute, Nuclear Weapons, Shameless Self-Promotion, Spacepower, Strategic Theory, Strategy

Wanted: Western Strategic Acumen

Ian Bremmer, writing in the A-List Blog of the Financial Times, takes a well-aimed shot at Western leaders who embarked on the ill-advised NATO campaign against Gaddafi’s Libya. Bremmer notes that NATO faces a quandary: either put NATO troops on the ground in order to turn the tide of the conflict; or, cut an ignominious (for NATO, at least) deal with Gaddafi. Bremmer, however, signs off his piece with the following admonition:

And so the stalemate will continue. Nato must now hope it gets lucky. In the mean time, its participants should reflect on the moral of this story for those western powers anxious to write its final chapter: a lack of international resistance can lead governments to start wars they don’t know how to win.
Bremmer is absolutely right, of course, and is channeling the Prussian master – Carl von Clausewitz – who warned the statesman and commander that:
… and:
Leaders in Britain, France, the United States, and, indeed, NATO, have singularly failed on both of these Clausewitzian criteria, leaving NATO credibility and solidarity dangerously exposed.
With the disgraceful political shenanigans of both sides over the U.S. debt ceiling threatening to drive already battered U.S. credibility off a cliff due to ideological intransigence (the more dogmatic the politician, the less seriously one should treat them); coupled with European wishful thinking and sclerotic politics throughout the West, one hopes that we shall hit bottom soon and that a renaissance in strategic thought is just around the corner.
I’ll keep on dreaming …

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Filed under Clausewitz, Ian Bremmer, Libya, Muamar Gaddafi, NATO, Strategy

Toward a Theory of Spacepower

Toward a Theory of Spacepower (NDU Press, 2011)

After several years of editorial limbo, the National Defense University (NDU) Press has finally published the volume of essays titled Toward a Theory of Spacepower: Selected Essays, edited by Charles D. Lutes and Peter L. Hays.

There are many fine essays in this volume, particularly by my esteemed SAASS colleague and friend Harold R. Winton, and others by Jon T. Sumida, Scott Pace, and John M. Collins. And, there is also an essay authored by Colin S. Gray and I titled “Theory Ascendant? Spacepower and the Challenge of Strategic Theory.”


Filed under Clausewitz, Publications, School of Advanced Air & Space Studies, Shameless Self-Promotion, Spacepower, Strategic Theory, Strategy

Deciphering Cyberpower: Strategic Purpose in Peace and War


Strategic Studies Quarterly, published by Air University at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, has just published its Summer 2011 edition online. In it I have an essay titled "Deciphering Cyberpower: Strategic Purpose in Peace and War," part of my continuing effort to discern from cyberpower an enduring strategic perspective, despite the rapid change in cyber technologies. In the essay, I assert that the strategic purpose of cyberpower today is:

the ability in peace and war to manipulate perceptions of the strategic environment to one’s advantage while at the same time degrading the ability of an adversary to comprehend that same environment.

That, at least, is my take, and doubtless I'll change my mind at some point in the future. Am I right? Comments, suggestions, critiques, and even better, an alternative view, are very much welcomed.

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Filed under Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Publications, Shameless Self-Promotion, Strategic Studies Quarterly, Strategic Theory, Strategy, Stuxnet, Theory of Cyberpower

Aaron Ellis on Israel’s deficit in strategic thought


Aaron Ellis of the spiffy Thinking Strategically blog has written a very interesting post about the disturbing tendency of Israeli leadership to shoot itself in the strategic foot. Ellis writes:

To think strategically is to distinguish the woods from the trees. Binyamin Netanyahu, his government and its ‘neocon’ fans have consistently failed to do this in the two years they have directed Israeli foreign policy.

Ellis touches on something that should concern any friend of Israel. A country that was once lauded for its strategic acumen has, since its invasion of southern Lebanon in 1982, lost its strategic way and too many of its officials and military officers confuse proficiency in tactical and operational art with strategic wisdom.


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Filed under Diplomacy, Israel, Strategy