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Thoughts on War$
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Phillip S. Meilinger

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813178899

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813178899.001.0001

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Starting with a Blank Sheet

Starting with a Blank Sheet

Principles of War for a New Century

(p.49) 4 Starting with a Blank Sheet
Thoughts on War

Phillip S. Meilinger

University Press of Kentucky

Determining principles of war and the mental effort required to articulate them are important for military officers. During a crisis when time is short and there are many demands on our attention, we must simplify and extract general rules from conflicting data points. Principles of War have been espoused for centuries, but the urge to codify such rules took on added impetus in the twentieth century. Today, such principles are considered invaluable learning tools at military schools. Yet, it is time for an update, because those used today were devised a century ago by a soldier who had little or no insight into warfare at sea or in the air. His precepts have survived, largely intact, until the present day. The result has been a distorted view of war. We must begin anew—not to reshape the earlier principles, but to look at modern war and devise new ones that govern the new environment.

Keywords:   Principles of War, J.F.C. Fuller, Sun Tzu, Antoine Jomini, airpower, cyber war, air superiority, unity of command, joint operations, net-centricity, mobility, precision guided munitions

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