Strategy: The Ability to Control Events
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The word ‘strategy’ has been defined in many ways and has been open to much misinterpretation and abuse. Despite the fact that current British Maritime Doctrine makes extensive reference to the ideas of classical strategists, such as Julian Corbett, Martin argues that considerable circumspection needs to be used in considering just what the UK and the modern Royal Navy can do. All discussion of strategic principles such as command of the sea is nonsensical. The best that British maritime-based forces can do is exert influence over situations and people. It follows that strategy is about the ability to control events that affect the interests of the UK. It is the unique attributes of naval forces that facilitate naval presence and the ability to exert influence. The ability to exert influence through naval forces is necessary across the entire spectrum of inter-political relations from benign presence to the ability to strike militarily. But, as Martin points out, few navies enjoy the full range of attributes to facilitate control.