Context and Adaptation from Archidamus to Airpower

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How does one engage in the study of strategy? Strategy: Context and Adaptation from Archidamus to Airpower argues that strategy is not just concerned with amassing knowledge; it is also about recognizing our imperfect understanding of the environment and respecting the complex nature of adaptation to the unforeseen or unexpected. In essence, the strongest strategists are those who commit to an education that cultivates a more holistic and adaptive way of thinking. With that thought in mind, the contributors to Strategy, each a current or former professor at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, widely considered the Department of Defense’s premier school of strategy, offer ways of thinking strategically about a variety of subject matters, from classical history to cyber power.

Practitioners in the profession of arms, perhaps more than any other profession, must employ critical thinking where the application of power on land, at sea, in the air, and in space and cyberspace are concerned. Strategy examines various sub-disciplines regarding the use of power, and illuminates different approaches to thinking which have implications beyond the implementation of force.

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Editorial Reviews

Strategy: Context and Adaptation from Archidamus to Airpower is a snapshot of SAASS at a specific time in history, after the 9/11 wars and before the emerging era of contested skies. The book is excellent in guiding the reader to think more thoughtfully about strategy, what it is and how it should be made while providing an interesting window into contemporary USAF senior staff college education. Eclectic by design, the book offers much for military professionals, academics and all concerned with deeply understanding the business of strategising and its teaching.” From Balloons to Drones
“The book's extensive notes, index and bibliography make this essential for any student of strategy, military history or international relations. Careful reading will provide readers with an excellent guide to valuable and relevant sources.” —The Northern Mariner
Strategy: Context and Adaptation from Archidamus to Airpower is definitely a book about strategy, offering many useful insights and practical takeaways for anyone interested in the field, the bibliography and footnotes alone are worth a detailed look, and would provide a solid basis for any serious study of the field of military strategy. But its greatest value is its function as a time capsule for the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS) method of teaching timeless ideas, providing a method for the exploration of a subject area that by its very nature can never be formally captured or simply defined. In its essence, SAASS is not about hard-to-find classrooms, or groups of instructors and students stretching from the past and present. Like the classical methods that inspired it, SAASS in its essence is not the physical location where it resides on Maxwell Air Force Base, but rather the living method by which its graduates collaborate to view, investigate, question, shape, and ultimately act in ways that create continuing strategic advantage and serve the vital interests of our nation and its allies. This book captures and reflects both the spirit and method of SAASS at a specific moment in time, as the never-ending challenge of 'seeking strategy' continues.” —The Strategy Bridge
“All of these chapters lay down the arguments in easily digestible form yet are equally challenging of the reader to continuously question and think about the arguments and evidence presented before them. The chapter on cyber power is a tour de force, deftly melding modern argument and traditional theory; you might not find much on cyberspace in Clausewitz but that does not mean that the two have no relevance to each other. This is less an essay about megabytes than it is about the nature of power as a social phenomenon produced through interaction–echoes of the trinity here perhaps? The book concludes by comparing and contrasting the roles and, more importantly, the challenges for the strategist and planner. In so doing it both grounds the volume but also provides that all important link to the real world. Some will no doubt welcome the more familiar terrain here but the book still manages to provoke and to surprise.” —The Naval Review