Clausewitz “On War”: Final Thoughts

This is the first time I have read Clausewitz. The experience has changed and expanded my understanding of conflict and warfare. I am certain it will influence the remainder of my academic and professional career.

As a Marine NCO, I was at the lowest possible layer of leadership that Clausewitz discusses. The majority of the decisions I was expected to make were operational, and therefore tactical. I was given instruction in the strategic realm only as an overview, and was expected to be concerned with the how, and not worry about the why. Hindsight, combined with insight gained from Clausewitz allows me to broaden the view and (in some cases anyway) see the strategic value in the tasks that a young Corporal grumbled over.

My current position spans both the strategic and the tactical. Though it is firmly entrenched in the civilian world, I find I can still apply much of what Clausewitz discusses to my daily grind. It may take a bit of abstraction, but the core concepts Clausewitz espouses can be applied to business deals, (attack and defense) Policy, and leadership. Sun Tzu is often suggested reading for up and coming corporate world MBA types. Perhaps they should take the time to read Clausewitz as well.

I think though that I stand to benefit most academically from Clausewitz, however. As a graduate student studying information security and cyberwar policy, Clausewitz’ concepts will provide foundational materials for the remainder of my studies, as most of the material can be applied directly. “On War” has proven to be a timeless reference, with significance beyond the battlefield.

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