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by MAJ Aaron Bazin, Small Wars Journal
If strategy is difficult, it is only because those who ponder and execute strategy have made it that way. In an attempt to kill enemies in unclear ways, the strategic use of force has become muddled. Today, the lexicon of American strategic thought has become a mix of technologically enabled micromanagement, restrictions that ensure a healthy dose of gridlock, and constant political "blame-storming". With a Nostradamus-like mix of art, science, and conjecture, modern strategy is lukewarm at best. To the soldier, the use of force is simple, kill, if you have to, so you can come back home alive in 15 months. Why is the use of force so complicated to strategic thinkers?
Strategy must be translated through the levels of theater-strategic, operational, and countless other bureaucratic filters to be understood by American Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen. Strategy must be one thing; simple. It must be so, not only to communicate to the military what to do, but tell the American people what the military is doing (that ever-important part of Clausewitz's secondary trinity) and finally, to make the enemy understand that until they capitulate all they will experience is death, political failure, and economic ruin. Strategy should be a situationally applied tool that uses violence and the other elements of national power to adjust an international actor's behavior so that it falls into concert with international norms.