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Ordering and controlling the dimensions of strategy

Lonsdale, David J.


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Dr David Lonsdale
Senior Lecturer/ Programme Director, BA War Studies/ Programme Director, MA Strategy and International Security


Colin Gray’s dimensions of strategy, built upon the earlier work of Clausewitz and Howard, has theoretical, practical, and pedagogic value for the Strategic Studies community. This paper further develops the theory, arguing that the dimensions can be controlled or managed to improve strategic performance. The dimensions are divided into two categories: “internal” and “external” to the process of strategy. The paper describes the dynamic process by which the internal dimensions, which can be controlled, are used to exert influence over the external dimensions that are beyond the control of the strategist. It is argued that six dimensions hold the key to strategic success: politics and the five dimensions concerned with warfighting. This conclusion validates the Clausewitzian paradigm with its emphasis on policy and battle.


Lonsdale, D. J. (2016). Ordering and controlling the dimensions of strategy. Defence Studies, 16(4), 390-407.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 22, 2016
Online Publication Date Sep 16, 2016
Publication Date Oct 1, 2016
Deposit Date Aug 31, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 12, 2019
Journal Defence studies
Print ISSN 1470-2436
Electronic ISSN 1743-9698
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 4
Pages 390-407
Keywords Dimensions of war, Clausewitz, Politics, War, Strategy
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a description of an article accepted for publication in Defence studies, 2016, v.16 part 4.


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