The Myth of the Loss of Strength Gradient



Since Kenneth Boulding developed his theory of the loss of strength gradient in the early 1960s, theorists and practitioners have assumed that distance decays power. In this chapter Martin debunks this assumption for naval forces and instead of a loss of strength gradient posits a loss of time gradient. Martin argues that because of the nature of the maritime environment and the nature of naval forces, fighting power does not decay because of the distance the naval force covers. Distance does not decay power, distance decays time in that the further a naval force travels the less time it has on station to complete its task. Instead of Boulding’s Law of Diminishing Strength, Martin argues instead for a Law of Diminishing Time. In doing so he places afloat-support logistics at the centre of the capability of naval forces. If naval forces are to enjoy the full benefits of their inherent attributes, Martin argues that time is essential, and time can only be facilitated by afloat-support logistics.


Task Force Foreign Affair Operational Flexibility Strength Gradient Home Base 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law and PoliticsUniversity of Hull Law and PoliticsHullUK

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