AN OVERVIEW OF MILITARY STRATEGY

In theory, military strategy is a set of ideas carried out by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals. It is the art of troop’s arrangement dealing with the planning and conduct of campaigns, the movement as well as the disposition of forces, and the deception of the enemy. Military strategy is the planning and execution of the combat between groups of armed forces. It is the practice of reducing an enemy’s physical capacity and willingness to fight, and continuing to do so until one’s aim is achieved. In the scope of military operation, strategy is somewhat different from tactics. Tactics is the military science employed to secure objectives and defined as part of the military strategy; particularly with the methods whereby men, equipment, aircraft, ships and weapons are employed and directed against an enemy. Whereas military strategy, on the other hand, refers to the employment of a nation's entire military capabilities through high level and long term planning, development and procurement to guarantee security or victory.

Fundamentally, military strategy focuses on how to win a war through a series of battlefield and campaigns, while military tactics concentrates on how to use the available means to triumph over the warfare. Military strategy which is a sub-discipline of warfare and of foreign policy is a principal tool to secure national interests. It is larger in perspective than military tactics which involves the disposition and maneuver of units on a particular sea or battlefield. After all, military strategy involves the exploitation of resource availability such as people, equipment, and information against the opponent's capabilities to gain supremacy or diminish the opponent's will to fight through the commands of military science.

Back in the 19th century, the implementation of military strategy was viewed as one of the "arts" or "sciences" that govern the conduct of warfare; the execution of plans and maneuvering of forces in battle, logistics, and the maintenance of an army. The father of Western modern strategic studies, Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831), defined military strategy as "the employment of battles to gain the end of war". The view had prevailed since the Roman times, but the borderline between strategy and tactics at that time was blurred.

Furthermore, military strategy is technically divided into four components; ends (objectives), ways (course of actions), means (resources), and risk. The practice of military strategy is described along with military power, which is attached by nine “principles of war” – objective, maneuver, surprise, mass, economy of force, offensive, security, simplicity, and unity of command.

Many military strategists have attempted to summarize the subject of a successful strategy in a set of principles. Sun Tzu (544-496 BC) who is regarded the father of Eastern military strategy, for example, defined 13 principles in his The Art of War book, while Napoleon listed 115 maxims. Both strategy and tactics in military are closely related and exist on the same mechanism; all deal with distance, time and force. However, military strategy is in a large scale which can last through years, while military tactics are in a small scale which entails the disposition of fewer elements; enduring within hours to several weeks.

Finally, military strategy was preliminarily applied to govern the prelude combat, while military tactics controlled the execution part. Such principles of military strategy emerged at least as far back as 500 BC in the works of Sun Tzu and Chanakya. The campaigns of Alexander the Great, Chandragupta Maurya, Hannibal, Qin Shi Huang, Julius Cæsar, Zhuge Liang, Khalid ibn al-Walid, and Cyrus the Great (in particular) demonstrate a remarkable strategic planning and movement in the army deployment. The Battle of Thermopylae in which the Greek forces were outnumbered, for example, stood as a great exemplary of an ancient military strategy. Although The Greek allied forces lost the battle against the Persian troops back then, however, the repercussions of the intense training, weapon utilization, and strategic location executed ultimately allowed them to take out their enemy’s souls as many as they could prior to their defeat.


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