New Principles of War

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New Principles of War

Enduring Truths with Timeless Examples

Marvin Pokrant

368 pages
3 tables, index

Paperback

April 2021

978-1-64012-222-2

$27.95 Pre-order

About the Book

Influenced in part by the writings of Sun Tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, Henri Jomini, and other strategists, most major militaries have adopted principles of war that are widely promulgated. Marvin Pokrant argues that these commonly accepted principles fail to reflect the ideas that led to them. Looking at the fundamental and enduring concepts behind the original principles of war, Pokrant presents nine new principles of war. To illustrate his points Pokrant uses numerous examples drawn from military history, including land, sea, and air warfare from ancient times to the present. By analyzing and reforming the principles of war, Pokrant provides a modern, relevant, and useful way to guide decisions made in times of war.

Author Bio

​Marvin Pokrant is a retired military operations analyst for the Center for Naval Analyses and has a PhD in physics. He served on the staff of the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Central Command for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He is the author of Desert Storm at Sea: What the Navy Really Did and Desert Shield at Sea: What the Navy Really Did.
 
 

Praise

“This is a fascinating book most useful for the practitioner and student of war, with many ideas also applicable to other competitive activities such as business. Marvin Pokrant gives us multiple historical vignettes that illustrate the good and the bad of principles of war from around the world and make a compelling case for significant revisions. Highly recommended!”—Col. John A. Warden III, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), and president of Venturist, Inc.
 

“Marvin Pokrant has masterfully distilled historical and international writings about the conduct of war and uses many historical examples to develop his new principles of war. I believe they form an important resource for study by both the professional military and our national security leadership.”—Adm. Henry H. Mauz Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.)
 

“The principles of war: prescription for battlefield success or dangerous mental straitjacket? Marvin Pokrant’s seminal exploration of the fundamentals of warfare that have been taught around the globe for generations is sure to engage and provoke. And in these dangerous times we need to rigorously challenge our preconceptions. This book does just that.”—Sean M. Maloney, PhD, professor of history at the Royal Military College
 

“As the U.S. military refocuses on great-power competition, it must update as necessary the hoary canons of the past. Marvin Pokrant takes on this task superbly in his comprehensive, timely, and highly readable reexamination of the principles of war.”—Capt. Peter M. Swartz, U.S. Navy (Ret.), senior CNA strategy analyst and former U.S. Navy maritime strategist and counterinsurgency advisor and instructor

“Pokrant makes an excellent case for a new set of principles of war. Everyone that deals in the world of war plans needs this in their reference library. Rich in historical examples to support his case.”—Adm. Stan Arthur, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

“An important book for all who seek to understand how to improve the odds of winning our nation’s wars. Marvin Pokrant develops his new, more useful principles of war through the effective application of history, treating history as data to test existing and proposed principles against. I have incorporated both his principles and his methods into my course on wargaming.”—Col. Matthew B. Caffrey Jr., U.S. Air Force (Ret.), author of On Wargaming: How Wargames Have Shaped History and How They May Shape the Future
 

“All active-duty military officers should read this book. It would be perfect as a text at military war colleges. People dealing with strategic studies and national security will find this book valuable due to its suggestions of new principles to guide American military efforts. Readers of military history will find this work interesting because of the numerous historical examples.”—Phil E. DePoy, PhD, former president of the Center for Naval Analyses and founding director of the Wayne E. Meyer Institute for Systems Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School
 

“Marvin Pokrant’s New Principles of War is an excellent examination of the development of the principles of war throughout history and how they have differed over time and among countries. . . . If you are a student of military thought, this work is a must-read and will be a welcome addition to your library.”—Michael A. Palmer, PhD, author of Command at Sea: Naval Command and Control since the Sixteenth Century
 

“Marvin Pokrant is a brilliant military analyst. New Principles of War is a must-read for any student of the art of war. In fact, Pokrant’s concise and straightforward approach will also benefit non-military business executives as they pursue the study of the art of business!”—Vice. Adm. Cutler Dawson, U.S. Navy (Ret.), and former CEO of the Navy Federal Credit Union
 

New Principles of War is an example of the power that can result from combining the skills of military analysis with the skills—and tasks—more often associated with the military historian. Both communities will benefit from the insights the author derived from his research and deep thinking.”—Peter Perla, PhD, author of The Art of Wargaming
 
 

Table of Contents

List of Tables
Preface
Acknowledgments
Prologue: Pickett’s Charge
1. History of the Principles of War
2. Principles of War in Various Countries
3. Principles of War in the U.S. Services
4. Criteria for Principles of War
5. Objective vs. Prioritized Objectives 
6. Mass vs. Relative Advantage
7. Offensive vs. the Sustained Initiative
8. Unity of Command vs. Unity of Effort
9. Surprise    
10. Deception    
11. Simplicity    
12. Other American Principles
13. Other British Principles of War
14. Know Yourself
15. Know Your Enemy
16. Environment
17. Summary    
Epilogue: Gettysburg and the New Principles of War
Notes
Bibliography
Index
 

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