Simplifying Strategic Concepts: Thinking about what landpower, seapower, airpower (and the marines) ought to do

By Major Matt Cavanaugh

I’ve been thinking a lot about simplification lately. Bruce Lee said once that “the height of cultivation runs to simplicity.”  Of course, there’s a downside to this process – Mencken would retort, “for every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”  For the record I think both are right, but that doesn’t negate the advantages of finding clearer ways of thinking.

In this case that topic is “strategic concepts.”  In 1954, Samuel Huntington suggested that each military service is built around such a “strategic concept,” which is “its role or purpose in implementing national policy.”  In short, what is your utility to society such that society ought to continue to support and nurture it going forward?  This is a particularly important topic right now – as military budgets recede.

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