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An introduction to Strategy

Book Name:  An introduction to Strategy

Authored by: Andre Beaufre (1902-1975)

Reviewed by: Mian Majid Ali Afzal

The writer is a French Army officer who served in the French Army, both inside and outside the Government, and was sent to Algeria to command the Operational Zone in 1955. He served as Deputy Chief Logistics and Administration Officer in Germany and remain a member of NATO as a representative of France. He died on the 13th of February 1975.In 1965, his book “An introduction to strategy” was translated into English, which matches the title and gives a clear indication the book deals with strategic fundamentals.

The book contains a total of five chapters; the first chapter deals with analysis, division, principles, components, and application of strategy, which is completely at the introductory level. The second chapter is about the changes in the military strategy, which focused primarily on the military and its operational-tactical strategies. The third chapter, with the introduction of nuclear weapons, addresses modes of nuclear strategy, deterrence, and strategy in war and its development. The indirect strategy is discussed in detail in Chapter 4 and, finally, a brief overview of the overall strategy is given in last Chapter 5.

Chapter one is divided into three parts: analysis, subdivision and strategy principles. In the first section, the goal, the available means, the plan, and the strategy pattern are clarified. The second part consisted of the tactical breakdown into the overall strategy, total strategy, and operational strategy. The third part includes key concepts, strategy elements such as the Manoeuvre factor, the Manoeuvre ‘Modes’  theory of strategy (direct, indirect) and theuncertainty factor followed by the summary of the chapter

Chapter two (Traditional military strategy) explains how militaristic tactics, strategy in combat and six stages of tactical approaches on land and their dynamics have evolved. The author argues that military strategy relies on the capacity of the armed forces to work in relation to arms, resources, techniques, and supply. The author believes that the overall strategy has been required to use at any stage and has proven to be the most effective it could be financial, diplomatic, political or military. That is why the position of the army is important when they have been able to make a decision themselves.

In 3rd Chapter (Nuclear Strategy) deals with three main outlines, first of all, modes of nuclear strategy, which include strategic destruction, interception of nuclear weapons, physical protection and risk of retaliation. Second, a dissuasive technique is to speak about nuclear deterrence and alternative types of deterrence and, finally an analysis of the policy in the nuclear age, which is described in five steps. Nuclear strategy or rather strategy-based application of the implications of nuclear weapons development. The whole idea of using force has resulted, whether for conducting war or maintaining peace. The basis of deterrence is material factor: great destructive power, high degree of accuracy and enough ability to penetrate must exist. Deterrence depends on having the 2nd strike capability to withstand the first blow. The author also talked about counter-force and counter value/city tactics, minimum deterrence techniques and why the United States prefer counter-force and counter-value targets from the USSR. Nuclear strategy is unavoidable at the level of the overall strategy, the complete strategy of the nuclear age would accelerate the ideas of the 19th century, especially Clausewitz. The new strategy will incorporate vast changes arising from the use of research and industry resource protection. Therefore, any conflict will be resolved in peacetime in the essence. Peace can emerge from a strategy of deterrence. In short, we are heading towards collective suicide and peace.

In Chapter 4, the author refers to the indirect approach and its counters. This includes descriptions of external manoeuvre, interiors, erosion, the material, and psychological environment, the fragmentary manoeuvre and the external manoeuvre and inner counter manoeuvre are discussed in counter indirect strategy. The writer wrote that Liddle Hart has developed an indirect method concept, which he finds to be the best strategy. The indirect strategy emphasizes restoring and exploiting and not battling the equilibrium between opposing forces before the test of war. This central thesis is applied to control over the ground (indirect approach), with respect to conventional military strategy. First of all, in the indirect approach, to determine what the area of freedom of action is and how to expand and use the field of action. Keeping in mind the importance of nuclear deterrence. It may use all means as part of the overall strategy. in a nutshell, we can say that hat Strategy is a system of thinking, should be able to point out the way to achieve the ends sought by politics in practice. Total- policy strategy using all available means, the overall strategy includes all land air and marine assets (the military strategy is its form). The Operational Strategy deals with strategies and techniques.

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