The Military Strategist’s Oath

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I pledge, to the best of my ability, that:

I will take pride in being part of the Nation’s arsenal of ideas, because wars are won as much in the mind as by the fist.

I will remember the battlefield punishes vanity; I am the most loyal skeptic, and personal investment will never obscure focus on clear-eyed, selfless support for the best strategy available.

I will wield words as weapons; with precision and concision, I expend great effort to share knowledge, with exceptional candor and courage, for the betterment of all in the security community I serve.

I will grant appropriate credence to and draw upon the sum total of all academic disciplines, the accumulated wisdom of the policy community, and the hardest-fought lessons of warfare.

I will not forget that strategy is a philosophy of successful action, a fundamentally practical endeavor, which is subject to the limits of physics, geography, technology, and humanity.

I will anticipate, design, and facilitate security decisions for the Nation’s strategic leaders, always prepared to adapt to the real world’s ever-shifting circumstances.

I will remember that strategy is an inescapably human endeavor—my advice and analysis will strive to balance genuine compassion with rational calculation.

I will know that all war is relative; in violent competition with a willful opponent and hostile environment, I seek not the “good” strategy, but instead, a superior strategy.

I will demonstrate my deepest respect for those Strategists that came before me by learning of their struggles and committing to continual growth in the craft of strategy.

I will never forget that my highest loyalty and fiercest dedication is to the Nation’s strategic success, and that my efforts matter in securing military objectives, political outcomes, and strategic narratives consistent with the Nation’s interests.

If I do not violate this oath, and always seek to uphold the finest traditions of my calling, I will have earned the title, “Strategist,” and may take satisfaction in having preserved this distinct honor for future generations.

 

*Reader’s Note: this pledge was inspired by Dr. Louis Lasagna’s 1964 “Modern” Hippocratic Oath, allegedly written while serving as dean of the Tufts University Medical School.

*Image sourced from the site Islamiclife.com.

Author: ML Cavanaugh

Unequal parts strategist, assistant professor, wordsmith, runner, wine-o, reader, philosopher of firepower, and hopeless lover of three ladies named Rachel, Grace, and Georgie.

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