Strategic studies is an interdisciplinary academic field centered on the study of conflict and peace strategies, often devoting special attention to the relationship between international politics, geostrategy, international diplomacy, international economics, and military power. In the scope of the studies are also subjects such as the role of intelligence, diplomacy, and international cooperation for security and defense. The subject is normally taught at the post-graduate academic or professional, usually strategic-political and strategic-military levels.
The academic foundations of the subject began with classic texts initially from the Orient such as Sun Tzu’s Art of War and went on to gain a European focus with Clausewitz’s On War. Like Clausewitz, many academics in this field reject monocausal theories and hypotheses that reduce the study of conflict to one independent variable and one dependent variable. Already in the late eighteenth century, a colourful mathematician named Dietrich Heinrich von Bülow attempted to establish mathematical formulae for the conduct of war. Carl von Clausewitz rejected Bülow’s approach and his popular claim that warfare could be reduced to positivist, teachable principles of war. Instead of formulae, we find Clausewitz stressing, time and again, that the whole purpose of educating the military commander is not to give him a series of answers for the task he will face (the complexities of which cannot be foreseen), but to educate him about different aspects of what will face him so as to let him evaluate the situation for himself, and develop his own strategy. Strategic thinkers on the whole will search for recurrent patterns, which in themselves cannot predict the characteristics of any individual case even if it doubtless fits a larger category; not all patterns of characteristics will be found in all cases.
In recent times, the major conflicts of the nineteenth century and the two World Wars have spurred strategic thinkers such as Mahan, Corbett, Giulio Douhet, Liddell Hart and, later, André Beaufre. The Cold War with its danger of degenerating into a nuclear war produced an expansion of the discipline, with authors like Bernar Brodie, Michael Howard, Raymond Aron, Lucien Poirier, Lawrence Freedman, Colin Gray, and many others.
The subject is taught in Europe at the University of Reading, Aberystwyth University, the University of Aberdeen, the University of Exeter, the University of Hull, King's College London, and the University of Leeds (all in the United Kingdom), University of Rome III and Università degli Studi di Milano (both in Italy), the University of Granada (in Spain), the National Defence University (in Finland), the Charles University in Prague, Netherlands Defence College Breda (the Netherlands), and the Université Paris 13 Nord SciencesPo (in France), and National Defence University (Pakistan)
In the United States of America, it is taught at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, Missouri State University, Temple University, the U.S. Army War College, Air War College, U.S. Naval War College, Marine Corps War College, and the National Defense University.
Other institutions teaching strategic studies include the National Academy of Political and Strategic Studies, Ministry of Defense, Chile, Australian National University, the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, University of Calgary and the Royal Military College in Canada, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul and Universidade Federal Fluminense in Brazil. In Pakistan the subject is taught in several universities, but predominantly in Quaid-I-Azam University (QAU), National Defence University (NDU),University of Punjab, and Fatima Jinnah Women's University. In Malaysia University of Malaya, and University of Allahabad, in India. Turkish War Academy has also Strategic Research Institute (SAREN) in which the subject is taught at both masters and doctoral levels.
- Thomas Otte: “Educating Bellona: Carl von Clausewitz and Military Education”, in G.C. Kennedy & K. Neilson (eds): Military Education: Past, Present and Future (New York: Praeger, 2001).
- "MA in Strategic Studies". Reading University. Retrieved 2 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "PhD in Strategic Studies". Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Retrieved 13 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>