Research, Writing, and the Mind of the Strategist
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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Is the pen truly mightier than the sword, or are these timeless words mere hyperbole The pen and the sword are literal instruments for dealing with the world around us. But they also are metaphors for shaping our actions by brain or brawn, wit or muscle. Whether one chooses pen or sword may depend on whether one believes knowledge is power. That belief, in turn, may hinge on how knowledge is defined and power understood. Can the expression of ideas move others as swiftly, as effectively, as permanently as the use of force or the lure of riches Does truth--or simply the command of ideas--provide leverage over others Are ideas weapons Conversely, can force inspire and persuade or only coerce If strategy is ultimately about effectively exercising power, the answers to these questions may convey a good deal about our faculty to think strategically and that ability, especially among military officers, may reveal even more about the future of the U.S. military and Americas place in the world. Based on recent events, there is ample ground to conclude that our ability simply to cope with--much less shape--a future of pronounced complexity, uncertainty, and turbulence will depend in large measure on the prevalence of strategic thinkers in our midst. Ideas and the ability to generate them seem increasingly likely, in fact, to be more important than weapons, economic potential, diplomatic acumen, or technological advantage in determining who exercises global leadership and enjoys superpower status. Thus it is imperative to develop, nurture, and engage strategic thinkers at all levels--critical, creative, broadgauged visionaries with the intellect to dissect the status quo, grasp the big picture, discern important relationships among events, generate imaginative possibilities for action, and operate easily in the conceptual realm. Almost by definition, strategic thinkers are broadly educated, not narrowly trained.
- Humanities and History
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics