Offense and Defense in Strategy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The terms and are central to strategic questions, yet established conceptions relate to technical-tactical, operational, or political/ethical/legal aspects of war. While they are applicable to different levels of strategy, they are not necessarily compatible, and can not serve to classify strategy as a whole. This article proposes a strategic understanding of the two terms, and defines three strategic types of offense (imposition of control, compellence, exhaustion) and defense (repellence, deterrence by punishment, assertive disarmament). Any theory of victory must combine the two, but success for both sides in a conflict is easier to achieve in the defensive than in the offensive aspect.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)463-477
    JournalComparative Strategy
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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