The Roots of Military Doctrine: Change and Continuity in Understanding the Practice of Warfare

Author: Aaron P. Jackson


This monograph examines military doctrine and explains why understanding its evolution and the influences that shape it are of vital importance to military practitioners, strategists and statesmen alike. Doctrine, defined as the expression of a military’s institutional “belief system”, constitutes a significant yet hitherto unrecognized means by which this belief system can be understood and evaluated. This understanding and evaluation is in turn important because it is this belief system that determines the way a military fights, the relationship it will have with the state and society that sustains it, and its institutional culture. Getting the belief system right means good strategy, victory, stable civil-military relations and organizational wellbeing. Getting it wrong means sub-optimal strategy and operational outcomes, or even defeat, strained civil-military relationships and organizational dysfunction. This is why it is vital that military practitioners, strategists and statesmen all have a well-developed understanding of this belief system and its implications. Yet currently, many do so only subconsciously, if at all. The aim of this monograph is to help make this understanding explicit.

Download PDF


Having trouble viewing? If the article does not display after a few minutes please use links provided above or install JavaScript.

You may also like