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601 Foundations of Strategy

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Foundations of Military Strategy is an examination of some theories, methods, and concepts that inform strategy and decision-making. It rests upon an interdisciplinary approach, and springs from a broad inquiry into politics, history, economics, science, culture, and ethics. This is as it must be. The study of strategy is not (yet?) a discipline itself. Strategy lacks a universal definition, its associated tenets and principles have yet to produce a common and consistent canon, and the preparation and approach among its practitioners is too varied to reflect any disciplined approach to the subject. How do you become a strategist? Who, and what, is a strategist? What do they do? How do they do it?

For better and for worse, the study of strategy remains the function of a largely elective and often eclectic grab-bag from other disciplines. This makes it easy to think of strategy both freely and casually. This class intends to hone the former and purge the latter. SAASS roots its curriculum not in technical fields but in the liberal arts, from the Latin liber, meaning free. This course idealizes thought free from personal conditionn or circumstance in a pursuit to see things as they really are, or, at least, as others might see them. Effective strategy requires understanding others, if only to aim better. At the same time, the course strives to formalize thinking about strategy, for it its study is not quite its own discipline, it does harbor generally accepted ideas, fairly clear models of success and failure, and deeply carved inroads into other disciplines that mark a path toward precise, deliberative thought. The nation demands nothing less from its strategists.

In all of this, SAASS 601 fosters a habit of mind and a patter of inquiry that will contribute to sound judgments about the us of power in the pursuit of national objectives.

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