Image courtesy of Foreign Policy. Image courtesy of Foreign Policy.

By Major Matt Cavanaugh

Can we educate a strategist in an hour?  Some would argue this task is impossible, that it takes a lifetime, or at least 10,000 hours.

But what if we had to?  Imagine it were possible – how would you do it?  How would you accelerate learning to strategic competency?  Note: I define competency as someone that would know, understand, and be able to apply a core set of strategic concepts to analyze and appraise modern war (see also “strategic understanding”).

One scientifically validated path would be the Pareto Principle, which holds, across many systems, that 80% of output comes from 20% of input.  How does this help us rapidly educate strategic practitioners?  We would first identify the critical 20% knowledge base that produces these outsize gains.  We would then leverage this 20% (or “minimum effective dose”) by proving a simple framework for use in any war.

Which is where the “ 300 Word Strategic Education” comes in.

**Editor’s Note: Update – Version 2 available in link above as of November 26.**

Following the logic above, I’ve created a document that identifies what I consider the 50 most essential strategic concepts and whittled each to six words apiece (hence, 300 words, not including the actual term itself).  I’ve also presented Clausewitzian Critical Analysis as simply as possible in the header to present this all-weather framework. Lastly, I included an abbreviated footnotes section for those with further interest (and here’s the draft and outtakes).

My claim is that using the “ 300 Word Strategic Education,” you could educate a competent strategic practitioner in 60 minutes.

Consider this War Council’s gift to you over this holiday season – enjoy!  All I ask in return is that you follow @TheWarCouncil on Twitter!  Oh, and please consider following @TheWarCouncil on the blue bird thingy. Lastly, before clicking away to another entertaining post – please click here to support @TheWarCouncil!