The recently announced goal to improve Navy education and training for the exercise of sea power is very important.1 Military schools and universities that teach sea power as issues of policy and strategy must be careful not to overlook the tactics and combat aspects of the subject. Too little is being written about winning battles. There are three elements of an effective strategy. First, its aims: What are our naval forces’ goals and why? Second, its ways: What are the operational and campaign plans that can achieve the goals? Third, the means: What forces are available and what tactics can they employ to execute the campaigns successfully?
1. Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modley, Education for Sea Power (E4S) Study, 19 April 2018.
2. ADM Sandy Woodward, RN, One Hundred Days: The Memoirs of the Falklands Battle Group Commander (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1992). Assisted by Patrick Robinson, Admiral Woodward lets you feel the surprises, operational challenges, tactical successes, and frightening technological disappointments of the man in the hot seat. Other essential books on a short list should include Erik Dahl, Intelligence and Surprise Attack: Failure and Success from Pearl Harbor to 9/11 and Beyond (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2013); John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, eds., In Athena’s Camp: Preparing for Conflict in the Information Age (Washington, DC: RAND, 1997); Jeffrey Cares and John Dickman, eds., Operational Research for Unmanned Vehicles (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 2016); ADM William McRaven, USN, Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operation Warfare, Theory and Practice (New York: Presidio Press, 1996); and Wayne Hughes, ed., The U.S. Naval Institute on Naval Tactics (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2015).