The Decline of Strategic Theory

Seydlitz89 has contributed the attached critique (170KB PDF) of Martin van Creveld’s The Transformation of War.

Seydlitz89 is a former US military intelligence operations specialist and later ops officer (overt strategic Humint collection) who served in Berlin from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s in a civilian capacity. He lives in Portugal and works in education.

He provided this introduction:

I am besides being a convinced Clausewitzian, an admirer of John Boyd and his thought. Boyd, contrary to some who follow him, and has Chet Richards has pointed out, never rejected the basic premise that war is a continuation of politics by other means.

The subject of the actual connections and/or disconnections between John Boyd and Clausewitz will have to wait for a future paper.

As I’ve written, the essence of Boyd is the ability to “build snowmobiles,” creative syntheses drawing from a variety of domains in order to solve problems, particularly while under stress. If you’re at all familiar with On War, you know that Clausewitz also had this ability. It is important not to limit yourself to just what you find in one domain — Boyd would often caution against being a member of just the Sun Tzu school, for example — and it is in that spirit that DNI presents seydlitz89’s paper.

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