Military Strategy in the 21st Century

The Challenge for NATO

Edited by
December 2020 9781787383913 608pp
Temporarily out of stock
July 2022 9781787388437 608pp
EU Customers


What is military strategy today? In an era when European states seek to de-escalate and avoid armed conflict, and where politicians fear the consequences of protracted operations or tactical hazards, does military strategy have any relevance?

This is the first volume to examine current military risks and threats for NATO from a military strategy vantage point. Which strategies are needed? Is ways—ends—means thinking possible as a strategic template today? The contributors probe the relative importance, utility and options of military strategy across NATO as it confronts a variety of challenges old and new, as hybrid threats, new nuclear risks and conventional force combine in complex ways. They also examine what military strategy and military integration really mean, when NATO’s multilateral framework is being weakened by degrees of self-interest. They analyse the USA’s political and military role in Europe, and assess military strategic responses to Russian aggression in Ukraine and the Middle East. Moreover, they study the role of member states’ military strategy set against Article 5 and non-Article 5 risks and threats, and explore how European states devise and implement military strategic options.

This book makes a clear assessment of political level strategy and its implications for military integration.


‘A sobering and stimulating set of essays which remind us of the importance of military strategy and the difficulty of getting politicians to think strategically. The authors take aim at some dangerous misconceptions which, unless addressed, will continue to weaken the Western alliance.’ — Christopher Coker, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics, and author of The Improbable War: China, the United States and the Logic of Great Power Conflict

‘Two world-leading experts have recruited the winning team in the current Olympics of strategy-making. Exploring the complexity of strategy and its cultural variations, this book provides a valuable update on individual states’ positions. This should be on every IR reading list!’ — Beatrice Heuser, Professor of International Relations, University of Glasgow

‘This excellent new book provides a much-needed, in-depth analysis of the concept of military strategy, the utility of military force and the differing approaches of NATO member-states to the wide range of challenges facing the alliance in the 21st century.’ — Tracey German, Reader in Conflict and Security, King’s College London


Janne Haaland Matlary is Professor of International Politics at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Military Command and Staff College; she was formerly Norway's deputy minister of foreign affairs.

Rob Johnson is Director of the Changing Character of War Centre at the University of Oxford.

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