Accession Number:



Martial Race Theory in Contemporary Operational Planning

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



In 2020, North American society and institutions are grappling with racism. Military leaders and planners are working to understand racism, how it is manifest in military organizations, how individuals within the force retain racist ideas, and how racism could affect the operational performance of the military in the execution of its most critical missions. Martial race theory was a highly formalized, operationalized, and prolific marriage of racist ideas and racist policies of a military nature to arise in the era of modern warfare. Operational planners who understand the history of martial race theory and its impacts upon operations will be better prepared to address racial and ethnocentric bias within contemporary operational planning. This monograph will introduce the concepts of martial race theory and martial race thinking. It will then describe how martial race theory fits into the larger academic body of knowledge of social dominance theory, theories of racism, and theories of ethnocentrism. Once terms are defined, the impact of martial race thinking on operations will be explored via three historical cases. Finally, an analysis of the potential impacts of martial race thinking and its influence upon contemporary operational planners will be conducted and recommendations to address those impacts will be proposed.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]