Military Life Resources

Mastering modern military tactics

Alright team, strap in. We're breaching the digital front lines of the modern war zone to uncover the most current, modern military tactics.
Jessica Evans Avatar
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U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Lisa Orender, Operations Group, National Training Center.

Alright team, strap in. We’re breaching the digital front lines of the modern war zone to uncover the most current, modern military tactics. There’s no place for antique bayonets or horse brigades – we’re talking drones, cyber warfare and mind games that’d have Sun Tzu nodding in approval. Ready? Roger that. Let’s charge.

Here’s a quick guide to mastering modern military tactics

Tactics 101: Battlefield chess

Think warfare is just about who’s got the biggest gun or the toughest tank? Guess again, soldier. It’s all a mind game – a high-stakes chess match where each decision to attack, defend, or withdraw can swing the war in your favor or send you packing. Here’s where military tactics strut onto the stage – using your troops, formations, and maneuvers like chess pieces to corner the enemy king.

Thirsty to dive into the nitty-gritty of military tactics? Hit the deck at Military Strategy and Tactics. It’s like time travel for the tactician – phalanx formations of ancient Greece, through the trenches of WWI, right up to the drone swarms of today. Strap in for a wild ride through the history, evolution, and application of battlefield strategy.

Small wars, big wins: COIN

Not all battles are fought in expansive fields or against armies marching in formation. Some wars are small – asymmetric skirmishes where winning hearts and minds beats capturing territory. Welcome to the wild world of counterinsurgency (COIN), where the little guy can pack a big punch!

The Small Wars Journal is your trusty field guide through this intricate jungle. Veteran warfighters and experts fill these pages with articles, essays, and research to keep you on the cutting edge of COIN ops. Stay in step with the delicate dance of counterinsurgency.

army modern military tactics
Georgia Army National Guardsman Master Sgt. Sean A. Katz, the battalion operation sergeant with Joint Task Force 781, conducts a field training class on tactical movement during the Georgia National Guard NCO Induction Course. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. R.J. Lannom/Released

Digital frontline – warfare in the age of ones and zeroes

How does the modern warfighter outfox the enemy on a battlefield that exists in cyberspace? Welcome to the digital age, trooper! Warfare has gone online, and from cyber-attacks to information operations, you better be tech-savvy to stay in the fight.

Want to keep your edge in this virtual war zone? Boot up War on the Rocks. It’s your tactical handbook to the digital battlefield, with articles and podcasts on everything from electronic warfare and space operations to AI’s role in military tactics. Don’t let the enemy out-hack you in the digital domain!

Bookworms go to war

Ready to hit the books and become a true tactician? Well then, here’s your reading list. It’s a mix of timeless classics and cutting-edge contemporary works that every soldier should have in their kit bag.

Firstly, “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. This ancient Chinese treatise on military strategy is a must-read for any warfighter. Sun Tzu’s timeless warfare principles have been applied to countless conflicts throughout history and remain relevant today.

Accordingly, “On War” by Carl von Clausewitz is the second OG. Pretty much everyone should read this book at some point. It’s a foundational text in the study of military strategy. In fact, Clausewitz’s magnum opus offers a comprehensive examination of the nature of war and its relationship to politics.

“Makers of Modern Strategy” edited by Peter Paret is a solid collection of essays. It covers the evolution of strategic thought from the Renaissance to the nuclear age, examining the ideas of key military theorists and their impact on the modern battlefield.

“Small Wars Manual” by the United States Marine Corps. Okay, when the USMC publishes a whole manual on war, you need to read it. First published in 1940, it offers valuable insights into the tactics, techniques, and procedures for conducting small wars and COIN operations.

Lastly, “Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World” by Gen. Stanley McChrystal. This modern classic outlines the principles that enabled U.S. forces to successfully adapt to the complex challenges of the 21st-century battlefield.

Tactics for your ears

podcast modern military tactics
U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Shaun Withers, the division chief of TEC University, speaks from the TEC television studios on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in East Tennessee, October 28, 2021, with podcast host Airman 1st Class Francesca Skridulis, for Chevrons, a podcast channel hosted by the Massachusetts Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

Even though books once ruled, these days, there are plenty of options for you if you’re an audio learner. Here are a few podcasts that’ll keep your tactical mind sharp while you’re on the move:

“The Strategy Bridge Podcast” features interviews with military leaders, scholars, and practitioners discussing contemporary strategic issues, military history, and the profession of arms. A great resource for professional development and staying informed on the latest in military tactics.

“The War Nerd Podcast” delves into the details of military conflicts and tactics from around the world, both past and present. Each episode is an engaging and informative deep dive into the nitty-gritty of warfighting.

“The Irregular Warfare Podcast” focuses on small wars, irregular warfare, and COIN operations, offering insights from practitioners and experts in the field.

Furthermore, “The Dead Prussian Podcast” explores war, warfare, and the military profession. Listen for features interviews with authors, thinkers, and leaders in the military sphere, covering topics from tactical doctrine to strategic theory.

“War on the Rocks Podcast Network” focuses on different aspects of warfare. So it’s no surprise the War on the Rocks Podcast Network offers something for every warfighter. Tune in for discussions on military history, policy, and the latest developments in tactics and strategy.

Stay sharp, soldier

To keep that tactical edge razor-sharp, consider enrolling in professional military education courses, attending warfighter conferences, and throwing down in wargaming exercises. Also, tap into the resources within your unit or organization, like after-action reviews and lessons-learned databases. There’s always a lesson in every success or stumble.

The long road to mastery

To wrap it up, becoming a master of military tactics isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. In addition to dedication, it takes adaptability. By staying on top of the latest developments, you’ll know your sh*t when sh*t hits the fan. Even better, learning is power and you’ll be engaging with a wider military community.

Now you’re on your way to becoming a true tactician. Of course, you have to remember the best warfighters never stop learning – the enemy sure won’t. Knowledge is power, and power, well, that’s what wins wars. So, keep those minds sharp, those hearts brave, and those bodies ready. The battle for the future won’t fight itself.

That’s all, troops. You have your orders. Now, let’s get out there and show ’em what we’re made of!