"To Grow and Nuture Officers in the Art of Joint Warfare at the Strategic Level"

DMSPO Homepage   The six month curriculum of the Advanced Strategic Art Program (ASAP) is rooted in history; but it is not a course in history. By following the evolution of warfare from Ancient Greece to Vietnam and into the future, officers and civilians will gain an appreciation of the patterns of conflict and their application to military strategic planning in support of national security objectives.  
Academic Programs
DMSPO Sponsorships Purpose  

U.S. Army War College

ASAP Instructors  

Contact Information


Deliver strategic advisors who can immediately impact the Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational environment.
ASAP Instructors
Members of the AWC faculty, planners from Combatant Commands, noted military historians, and subject matter experts from numerous agencies and think tanks teach ASAP students during the course.

ASAP's Curriculum

Strategic Theory & Art:
This module provides a foundation in strategic and operational theory as well as a methodology with which to evaluate military theory. This equips students with conceptual tools to evaluate policy and strategy. It progresses from a detailed examination of Clausewitz and an assessment of his relevance, to analysis of Asian and American military thought looking for continuity in national and cultural styles of warfare. It also reviews theories that underpin how wars start and end. The cyber domain, legal theory, and the American Way of War are included. The module concludes with strategic case studies from the Peloponnesian War to the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah conflict looking at the critical themes which help explain victory and defeat. Among these themes are strategy, theories of victory, our profession of arms, the immutable nature of war, its changing character, and coalition warfare.

Unified Action (Parts I & II): Joint and multinational military operations are conducted in the presence and support of diverse civilian interests and entities. Part I acquaints students with the nature of national security decision making in the executive branch of the U.S. Government and at the highest institutional levels across the partner spectrum. Only through the interagency process are all elements of national power integrated and synchronized to establish policy and promulgate national strategic direction. Theory and reality of the interagency process, principal national security partners, and contemporary challenges illustrating the value of formal and informal processes and relationships are examined. A six-day trip to Washington, DC to engage at the Pentagon, the State Department, the National Security Council, renowned think tanks, and other governmental and private organizations concludes the module.

Regional Security Program: Readings and lecturers familiarize students with regional strategic environments. This module presents select frameworks that enable practitioners to evaluate a region or country. Living case studies from the Caspian Sea region and AFRICOM are used to test those frameworks and explore, examine, and evaluate U.S. regional interests, objectives, and the trends which impact them.

Theater Strategy and Campaigning: Central to ASAP is acquiring an appreciation for implementing national policy and direction through theater strategies, theater security cooperation, and the development, planning and conduct of JIIM campaigns and operations. This module is at the core of Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Level II education. It presents a study in campaign design, theater organization, security cooperation, operational functions, and campaign planning. Essential questions include: How do Combatant Commanders employ military forces? How are available capabilities combined to achieve strategic objectives within the theater? How are campaigns planned? How are unified action and unity of effort best promoted across diverse agendas, boundaries, cultures, and organizations? Doctrine, history, and exercises inform the seminar in answering these questions. Short exercises highlight principle application and help refine theater strategic and operational thought. The composition of the TS/SCI cleared ASAP seminar enables the discriminate integration of real world plans, products, and combatant command partnerships with the program.

Defense Management:
This module is about the "means" that enable national, Service, and theater strategies. It examines the processes that translate strategy into requirements and capabilities, and allocate resources to realize them. It highlights systems, such as the Department of Defense's planning, programming, budgeting, and execution process. It also examines management of competing demands such as maintaining trained and ready forces today while ensuring the change that delivers capable forces tomorrow. It explores long term strategic choices, priorities, and risks. It looks at demographic and economic trends, technological considerations, and political implications. Actual command and Service posture statements, integrated priority lists, and other products enable evaluation of this domain.

Strategic Art Part II - Evaluation: This is ASAP's capstone module. Diverse subjects, encounters with experts, historic perspectives, dialogue, activities, readings, reflection, and futuristic problems stimulate individual and seminar evaluations of "the nexus between national policy and theater strategy." The power of history, theory, doctrine, strategy, lessons from all previous modules, and professional experience are brought to bear. It reflects on the past, considers the present, and ponders the future. Students deduce conclusions through critical thinking. New questions relevant to the AWC's enduring and special themes emerge. It presents a unique opportunity to take stock in the USAWC experience, and to consciously identify and evaluate what this experience has meant. It also inquires how ASAP might be enriched, and how individual members intend to apply and expand the knowledge that they have acquired. It is an opportunity to ponder the meta-question of "So what" and even "Now What?"

Staff Rides: In addition to the Washington, DC trip, there are two one-day visits to Harrisburg and Philadelphia. They enable a glimpse of state government functions and defense support of civil authority. Additionally, ASAP conducts two strategic staff rides. November's staff ride to Vicksburg begins the course with an historical look at a Civil War campaign of strategic consequence. During May's staff ride to Sicily and Normandy, students walk the ground of Operations Husky and Overlord. There, they gain insights to the opportunities and challenges of coalition warfare and strategic leadership. An engagement at the Institute for Strategic Research in Paris affords an appreciation of multinational perspectives and engagement of a long-time NATO ally.

Point of Contact:
US Army War College
Department of Military Strategy, Planning, and Operations
Director, Advanced Strategic Art Program

Carlisle, PA 17013-5242
(717) 245-3491 or DSN 242-3491