Levels of War

The levels of war are a particularly Western concept, or at least particularly the focus of Western military thinkers, and for most of Western military history until the modern age there were two levels of war: strategy and tactics. Both terms are derived from Greek words, but neither has ever achieved a universally agreed-on complete definition. In simple terms, strategy is a framework for the distribution and application of military means to fulfill the ends of policy for war. Tactics describes the activities in combat on the battlefield—the techniques used in fighting by military forces in contact with the enemy. This entry discusses the evolution of the levels of war and how their focus has changed.

Of the two initial levels, tactics was always the more ...

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