The australian naval institute



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THE AUTHOR

Major Bowman graduated from the Royal Military College. Duntroon in December 1970 and has served in regimental postings in the Special Air Service Regiment and the 4th and 2nd/4th Battalions Royal Australian Regiment During 1974-5 he was an observer with the United Nations in Israel and Syria He has served in statt appointments at the Infantry Centre and the Director ale General ot Army Training in Army Oftice During January-June 1980 he attended the RANSC Currently Maior Bowman is the S02 (Force Structure) in the Directorate General of Army Developmenl Ho is married with two children

Page 36 Journal ot the Australian Naval Institute

were seen as the means of developing greater military force to be applied in battle Once battle came to be accepted as the only means to a strategic end. it was an easy step to confuse the means with the end and to reach the conclusion that in war every other consideration should be subordinated to the aim of fighting a decisive battle. The distinction between the national objective, the purpose of policy, and the military aim had been lost Attaining a military aim is in itself valueless unless it assists in gaining the objective of national policy The true concern of strategy is the effect of the application of power

It is now possible to form a conceptual under­standing of strategy as the direction of power in different planes, with national strategy as the direction of all elements of national power, military strategy as the direction of military lorce and tactics as the immediate employment of military forces in combat The focus or centre of gravity of these planes is provided by the perception of national interest. This perception is expressed in the different dimensions as a national policy ob­jective, a military aim and a tactical mission The actual shape of these planes is determined by national policies.

Having established this hierarchical relation­ship between national and military strategy, it might be concluded that the problems of military strategy can be solved deductively. In this ap­proach once fundamental national interests are articulated into national security objectives and the constraints of policy are established, deter­mining a military strategy is essentially a technical problem of applying the available means to the desired end However, in practice this is rarely true despite the apparent logic of this approach and its attraction to the military professional.

The problem is that abstract national inter­ests are difficult to translate into achievable objec­tives Both objectives and policies may be broadly defined and are liable to sudden change accor­ding to circumstances The formulation and execution of policy are rarely distinct processes. Instead policy is dominated by the play of events as they are perceived and interpreted by the in­terest groups in power Thus, it is misleading to think of strategy as a fixed plan for the application of given resources to a particular end. Rather, it is the creation of the flexibility to be able to react to likely circumstances in a way which allows a nation to influence, and ideally control, events in its favour As defined by Eccles. strategy is the comprehensive direction of power to control situ­ations and areas in order to attain objectives But. in addition, there is a psychological dimen­sion to strategy It also provides a perspective for decision making By defining likely dangers and how to deal with them, by projecting feasible goals and methods of attaining them, strategy furnishes a basis for action.




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