Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Strategy BridgeTheory for Practice$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Colin S. Gray

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579662

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579662.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 March 2020

Problems with Strategy: Often a Bridge Too Far

Problems with Strategy: Often a Bridge Too Far

(p.123) 4 Problems with Strategy: Often a Bridge Too Far
The Strategy Bridge

Colin S. Gray (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Strategy is the art of the possible, as Helmuth von Moltke (the Elder) insisted, and what is possible is revealed by net tactical performance. And the whole military (and other) endeavour must serve not itself, but political purposes which typically will evolve under the pressure of events. Although strategy is possible, it is always difficult. Among the major sources of difficulty, which tend to manifest themselves synergistically, one must recognize the challenge that is strategy itself, the problem many people have understanding its nature and demands; that lies in the inconvenient, but for strategy essential, fact of an enemy with an independent will; of converting military effect into strategic effect, and then into political effect—which is the whole point of the project; of devising and running a strategy‐making process that is fit for purpose; of peopling the process with competent players; of sheer complexity; of friction, of the things, typically unforeseeable in detail, that go wrong; of productive civil–military relations. Remarkably, strategy is feasible, despite its myriad difficulties. Complexity of subject can translate as alternative options, while the self‐willed enemy must face a generically like large basket of challenges to his strategic effectiveness.

Keywords:   Moltke (the Elder), strategy, enemy, independent will, military effect, strategic effect, political effect, friction, civil–military relations, complexity

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .