Tactics… The Missing Link in Military Education

“For a study by an American of the art and science of tactics, one must go back almost to the turn of the century, when tactics was the subject debated by naval officers.”

–       Captain Wayne P. Hughes Jr. USN (Ret.), Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat, 1999

Why are there so few books or references on tactics? Retired Navy Captain Wayne P. Hughes’ excellent book, Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat is arguably the only book on naval tactics published in the modern era. Good books on land warfare tactics, air combat tactics and law enforcement tactics are almost as hard to find. While the U.S. military publishes hundreds of field manuals, most of them are dry, difficult to read and often provide only a small amount of useful information. Field manuals usually overemphasize processes, checklists and terminology and rarely focus on how to actually fight and win in battle.

This blog will help “fill the tactical gap” in current military and security studies and provide tacticians and leaders at all levels with valuable insights to help them succeed. The truth is that tactical wisdom does indeed exist but it is not written down anywhere. Instead it exists in the minds of good leaders and tacticians, scattered across countless military and law-enforcement units. Tactical wisdom is typically passed on by word of mouth from generation to generation, but this process is unregulated, disorganized and can promote bad tactics as well as good tactics. This blog offers a forum for tactical discussion to discourage bad tactics and provides an authoritative, community-vetted reference on good tactics. However, before participating in the discussion, carefully read the following ground rules…

Never reveal sensitive information: Even if information is not technically classified, if it provides specific references to tactics and techniques used by military or security forces not published in open-source documents then it should be considered sensitive. The Special Tactics staff will remove any sensitive information from the site immediately. There is a lot to discuss about tactics without revealing sensitive information.

Be candid but be professional: This blog is for thick-skinned individuals. The Special Tactics staff will not pull any punches and we don’t expect our readers to either. Harsh criticism can save lives. However, insults and disrespectful comments have no place in a professional discussion. If you feel offended by comments on this site, fight back, defend your position and help deepen everyone’s tactical knowledge.

Avoid falling back on rank or credentials: One of the biggest factors that holds back the growth and spread of tactical wisdom is ego and narrow-mindedness. It is amazing how offended some people can get when you criticize their tactics. The way around this is to keep the conversation focused on the tactics themselves, their advantages and disadvantages. A tactic is not good simply because it is endorsed by a General or practiced by an elite unit. Rather a tactic is only good if it can be backed-up with a logical, common-sense argument.