5 x 8 paperback
192 pages
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The Marine Corps War College Strategy Primer

The process of strategy making is neither easy nor for the feebleminded. In fact, the creation of workable strategic approaches to the most intractable problems on the planet is an intellectual exercise unmatched in human endeavors. The strategist—particularly the military strategist—must often choose between multiple contradictory solutions and approaches in the midst of mayhem. History is filled with the destruction of empires and nations that got it wrong. Whether the United States remains a preeminent power in the twenty-first century will in no small measure rest on the capability of strategists graduating from the nation’s war colleges today. This primer is designed to help Marine Corps War College (MCWAR) students think creatively and critically about strategymaking processes. By presenting a sampling of principles and methodologies drawn from some of the most important works on the topic, this primer will streamline many of the contradictions that strategy makers will encounter during their time at MCWAR and throughout their careers.


Introduction: The Purpose of The Marine Corps War College Strategy Primer

1. The Strategic Environment
2. Sources and Drivers of Policy 
3. Ends and Problem Framing 
4. Ways and Means 
5. Compare, Test, and Select, Part I: Limitations and Validation
6. Compare, Test, and Select, Part II: Strategy Option Assessment
7. Strategy Implementation, Evaluation, and Revision

Appendix A. Assumptions 
Appendix B. Heuristics and Cognitive Biases in Decision Making
Appendix C. Strength-of-Interest Comparison 
Appendix D. Additional Strategic Approaches
Appendix E. Expanded Information on Diplomatic and Economic Instruments
Appendix F. Additional Subject Areas for Comparative Analysis of Potential Strategies
Appendix G. Additional Strategy Assessment Tools 
Appendix H. Structured Analytic Techniques and Tools

Glossary of Selected Terms 
Recommended Reading on Strategy and Policy Making 
Selected Bibliography