Educating, training and inspiring the next Clausewitz

Maj. Ryan Leach Department of Military Instruction

February 21st, 2019 | News, News and Features
 Carl von Clausewitz was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the “moral” and political aspects of war. His most notable work, Vom Kriege (On War), was unfinished at his death.

The United States Military—and the Army in particular—has been under enormous pressure over the past three decades. The pressure exposed the Army in ways that it had not anticipated and stressed units at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war.
Despite the acute and prolonged pressure, the Army has shown great doggedness and endurance and has fought and won against great odds in all theaters of war.
However, the victories that were paid for with the blood, sweat and tears of our valorous and talented Soldiers often failed to deliver the operational and strategic victories the U.S. and her allies so desperately sought—a fact that our adversaries have surely noticed.
As we move deeper into the 21st Century and face a resurgent Russia, defiant North Korea and rising China, doggedness and endurance are unlikely to carry the day.  We need to be smarter. We need to be more inventive.  We need to be more innovative. We need to find the next Clausewitz.
Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis seemed to be aware of this when in his 2018 National Security Strategy he boldly proclaimed that:
“We will emphasize intellectual leadership and military professionalism in the art and science of warfighting, deepening our knowledge of history while embracing new technology and techniques to counter competitors… (and we will) develop leaders who are competent in national-level decision-making.”
Luckily nestled deep within Washington Hall, in the Department of Military Instruction, the faculty in Defense and Strategic Studies have been educating, training and inspiring the Army’s next generation of leaders.
While we can’t claim to have found the next Clausewitz, we have raised the bar on our cadets’ strategic preparation.
In conjunction with our partners in the Department of Social Sciences and History, we are fulfilling Secretary Mattis’ vision of an officer corps that is more fully able to counter our competitors and excel in national-level decision-making.