Defining and Achieving Decisive Victory   [open pdf - 164KB]

In this paper, the author explores the means and methods most conducive to achievement of decisive victory. He explains that objectively better armies tend to win (war may be the realm of chance, but the dice are loaded in favor of those who are militarily competent); that there is no magic formula which can guarantee victory (not even today's information-led revolution in military affairs [RMA], which tends to equate precise firepower with war); that technology is not a panacea, the answer to all military and strategy difficulties; that the complexity of war and strategy allows for innovative, even asymmetrical, exercises in substitution as belligerents strive to emphasize strength and conceal weakness; and that it is essential to know your enemies, especially if you require them to cooperate in a deterrent or coercive relationship. The author concludes by arguing that the concept of decisive victory is meaningful and important. Also it advises that different enemies in different wars will require the application of different military means and methods. One size in military style will not fit all cases. Readers are recommended not to think of decisive victory in terms of a simple either/or. Strategic success or advantage may serve the goals of policy quite well enough. Finally, the point is made that, among Western states at least, the United States today is surely unique in being interested in the idea of and capability for decisive military victory. America's European allies currently do not discern any serious military issues as clouds on their peaceful horizons.

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