Military Strategy

A General Theory of Power Control

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In Military Strategy Rear Admiral J.C. Wylie invented the intellectual framework and terminology with which to understand strategy as a means of control. He synthesized the four existing specific theories of strategy into one general theory that is as valid today as when it was first created. Wylie has written a penetrating new postscript especially for this "Classics of Sea Power" edition that takes an up-to-the-minute look at such topics as terrorism, Nicaraguan politics, and the Strategic Defense Initiative. To supplement the text, John Hattendorf's introduction presents a detailed intellectual biography of Wylie. In addition, several of Wylie's most significant shorter writings are included as appendixes. J.C. Wylie retired from the U.S. Navy as a rear admiral in 1972, after a forty-four-year naval career that included service as chief of staff as the Naval War College. John B. Hattendorf is Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and co-editor of "Sea Power" series.


About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“No military service can long remain effective without searching self-criticism and continuous re-examination of its own ideas. Wylie is a refreshingly outspoken individual, thoroughly at home on the bridge of a ship, but equally at home in the semantics of dialectical discussion. He has produced a simple but relevant little work in an attempt to promote order in the discussion of strategy. . . . To the traditional theories of strategy–the maritime theory, the air theory, the continental theory–Wylie adds the 'Mao theory' of wars of national liberation. . . . [This book is] easier to read and understand and basically sounder than the great majority of the involved and tortuous rationalizations of the academic strategists.” —New York Times Book Review
“At a time when­—among other momentous happenings—there is a reawakening of the need for a fresh appreciation of strategy, we are fortunate to have such woks as Admiral Wylie’s to provide a solid foundation on which to build. This elegant, concise volume succeeds remarkably well in achieving exactly what the author set out to do.”—Naval War College Review

“The naval historian John B. Hattendorf observed that ‘Rear Admiral J. C. Wylie was the first serving officer since Luce and Mahan… to become known for writing about military and naval strategy.’ Scholars and practitioners consider Wylie’s 1967 book Military Strategy: A General Theory of Power Control a classic. It had a major impact on U.S. Navy thinking in the 1980s when the service formulated its maritime strategy.”—War Room, U.S. Army War College