high-level plan to achieve objectives in uncertain conditions

Strategy is a long term plan on what to do to achieve a certain goal. Today, the word "strategy" is in common use; people might talk about "business strategy", for example. However, it is a word which was first used by the military. It comes from an ancient Greek word for the most important leader who made all the big decisions for the rest of the soldiers. In other words, this leader was the highest general of the country.[1]

When talking about the near future, people often use the word tactics. Military theorist Carl von Clausewitz said "tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war".[2] The distinction between strategy and tactics applies to any planning which might be done against an enemy or opponent. Strategy is what we broadly intend to do to reach our long-term goal or objective. Tactics is the detailed steps which are used as our progress is opposed by the opponent. For this reason, tactics are short-scale and easy to change. Strategy, on the other hand, is changed as little as possible. It may be that our goal simply cannot be reached. In that case, a search goes on for a new goal and a new or adjusted strategy. Often, in war, chess or business, roughly the same tactics are still used to get to a different goal. Negotiation is another area where the distinction between strategy and tactics is especially clear.[3]


  1. Wragg, David W. (1973). A Dictionary of Aviation (first ed.). Osprey. p. 251. ISBN 9780850451634.
  2. Michiko Phifer, A Handbook of Military Strategy and Tactics (New Delhi: Vij Books India Private Limited, 2012), p. 1
  3. Schelling, Thomas C.1960. The strategy of conflict. Harvard University Press, especially chapter 2: An essay on bargaining.


  • Clausewitz, Carl von. 1989. On War, trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.
  • Gray, Colin S. 1999. Modern Strategy. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
  • Liddell Hart, Basil. H. 1967. Strategy. New York: Praeger.
  • Luttwak, Edward. 2001. Strategy: the logic of war and peace. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.
  • Sun Tzu. 1963. The Art of War. trans. Samuel B. Griffith. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
  • Watson, John 1998. Secrets of modern chess strategy: advances since Nimzowitsch. Gambit, London.