Basic Strategic Arts Program

Basic Strategic Arts Program

The Basic Strategic Arts Program is an academic program taught at the U.S. Army War College. In the late 1990's when the Army decided to create the Functional Area 59 Branch it selected USAWC as the institution. FA 59 Officers were used in combat for the first time beginning in 2001 with the onset of the Global War on Terror. Graduates of this program served in key positions in Iraq, Afghanistan, at all combatant commands, and at the Pentagon. When it was founded its purpose was to provide officers newly designated into Functional Area 59 (Strategic Plans & Policy) an introduction to strategy and to the unique skills, knowledge, and attributes needed as a foundation for their progressive development as Army Strategists.


Two full-time instructors serve as educators and mentors with a civilian technician providing administrative support. A Lieutenant Colonel (FA59) serves as the Director of BSAP, responsible for the execution of the program; a civilian instructor (Professor of Military Strategy and Operations) develops and implements the curriculum; and an educational technician provides administrative and program support. The BSAP draws upon the entire faculty of the U.S. Army War College to support instruction as well as world class academic and professional guest speakers and lecturers. The BSAP curriculum makes full use of additional academic and professional opportunities available during the resident and non-resident courses at the U.S. Army War College. The BSAP students will sit in seminar with many of the same renowned subject matter experts who lecture for the Advanced Strategic Art Program, the U.S. Army War College resident program and the other Senior Service Colleges.


The BSAP curriculum is based on six modules of study that provide the officers with the unique skills, knowledge, and attributes needed as a foundation for their progressive development as Army strategists.

trategic theory

This module provides a foundation in strategic and operational theory. This course of study provides the officer with the theoretical tools to enable him or her to evaluate doctrine and strategy. It begins with a survey of classical strategic theory from Sun Tzu to Clausewitz. Next the course examines modern strategic theory, including modern theories that underpin current service and joint doctrine. The module also looks at the notion of strategic culture and ends with a discussion of current operational theory and the role of theory and doctrine in practice.

trategic art

In this module students study the practice of the strategic art from the Peloponnesian Wars to the Global War on Terrorism. Students will discuss critical themes, which help explain victory or defeat. Among these themes are: strategy and policy match, theories of victory, mirror imaging, civil-military relations, pre-war plans and wartime realities, and coalition warfare.

Army systems

This module will familiarize students with how the nation raises and maintains the Army. Specifically, students will develop an appreciation for Army resource and force management, readiness, and transformation.

National security and decision-making

This module will acquaint students with the nature of decision-making on national security matters in the executive branch of the U.S. Government. This module includes an examination of the national security organization and policy development. It covers the theory and reality of the interagency process and an analysis of the main agencies engaged in national security. The students will look at real world case studies which will illustrate both the formal and informal processes at work. This module will also include a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the State Department, the NSC, JCS, CIA, and the Army G3.

Contemporary strategic challenges

This module uses assigned readings, guest lecturers and a program of study to familiarize students with the strategic environment for Northeast Asia, Southwest Asia, Western Hemisphere, and Europe. The course examines U.S. regional interest, objectives, trends, and factors which impact on them. The module concludes with an examination of the homeland security.


This module familiarizes students with the strategic value of landpower and the strategic role of the U.S. Army. Key to this module is the study of campaign planning. Students learn about the structure and employment of Army forces in theater. At the conclusion of this module, students should be able to articulate appropriate Army roles and Army Forces (ARFOR), Joint Forces Land Component (JFLC), and Army theater planning for a given strategy.

taff rides and staff visits

BSAP students participate in two staff rides and one staff visit. The interagency staff ride that concludes the National Security Decision-Making module includes visits to the State Department, CIA, NSC, JSC, OSD, and the Army staff. BSAP concludes with a staff ride of Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign. This staff ride serves as review for the entire course and as a vehicle for additional insights as the students look at the operational, theater strategic, and strategic insights from the Battle of the Wilderness to Appomattox Court House.


* [ Basic Strategic Arts Program]
* [ The Strategic Plan and Policy Officer in the Modular Division] -- "Military Review"
* [ FA 59 Functional Area]

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