Chapter

Speed and Preparation

Mark McNeilly

in Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare

Published in print January 2015 | ISBN: 9780199957859
Published online February 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190252717 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199957859.003.0005
Speed and Preparation

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This chapter discusses the fourth principle of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and its application in military situations. Speed is essential in war. Armies must move quickly to secure ground that favors them in battle, maneuver rapidly around the enemy to hit his flanks, exploit breakthroughs, and pursue enemies in retreat. Speed in warfare provides four advantages: it is a substitute for resources, it shocks and surprises the enemy, it is critical to exploiting weaknesses and opportunities, and it builds momentum. Acting with great speed requires careful preparation matched by a sense of urgency. By skillfully planning the campaign ahead of time can one move confidently with blinding swiftness. Only by looking at all the possibilities in advance and then acting with a sense of urgency can one take advantage of fleeting opportunities as they arise.

Keywords: military strategy; speed; preparation; wars; modern warfare; The Art of War; Sun Tzu

Chapter.  11086 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Theory ; International Relations

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