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MILS521 - Strategy, Tactics, & the Operational Art

Course Details

Course Code: MILS521 Course ID: 3463 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course is a comprehensive study that explores the strategic, operational, and tactical dimensions of war through an examination of military theory in the context of historical experience. Purpose is to promote critical thinking about war based on the clash of ideas and critical inquiry and analysis. Toward that end, students examine some of the masters in the art of war in terms of their ideas and influence regarding strategy, tactics, and especially operational art.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
03/30/20 - 09/04/20 09/07/20 - 11/01/20 Summer 2020 Session D 8 Week session
05/25/20 - 10/30/20 11/02/20 - 12/27/20 Fall 2020 Session I 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

CO-1: Assess military strategy to include an understanding of the application of the resources of war toward a clear objective and end


CO-2: Evaluate the levels of war--strategic, operational, and tactical--to include linkages between means and ends.

CO-3: Evaluate the major variables that influence strategy, operations, and tactics.

CO-4: Judge the feasibility of strategy, operations, and tactics in a multi-dimensional battle space.

CO-5: Analyze current examples of military strategy, operations, and tactics in both a conventional and unconventional operational environment.

The course grade is based on the following assessments:

Discussion Forums – 20 percent

Each week, a discussion question is provided and posts should reflect an assimilation of the readings. Students are required to provide a substantive initial post by Thursday at 11:55 pm ET and respond to 2 or more classmates by Sunday 11:55 pm ET. Forum posts are graded on timeliness, relevance, knowledge of the weekly readings, and the quality of original ideas.

Research Question, Purpose Statement, and Literature Review Exercise – 15 percent

The components of this assignment include a research question, a purpose statement, and a literature view of at least 6 sources, two of which must be peer-reviewed. The specific research question should relate to a general topic in the course. 6-8 pages.

Research Paper – 35 percent

Adding to the 6-8 page assignment in Week Two, the research paper should be at least 10 additional pages of analysis of your topic, not including the cover page, the reference list, and any appendices.

Final Assignment – 30 percent

This assignment is a take-home essay assignment of 4 questions, 2-3 pages each, to test knowledge and assimilation of the course objectives. The exclusive use of required texts and readings from this course is mandatory.

NameGrade %
Research Paper 35.00 %
Research Paper 35.00 %
Forums 20.00 %
Week 1 Forum 2.50 %
Week 2 Forum 2.50 %
Week 3 Forum 2.50 %
Week 4 Forum 2.50 %
Week 5 Forum 2.50 %
Week 6 Forum 2.50 %
Week 7 Forum 2.50 %
Week 8 Forum 2.50 %
Final Assignment 30.00 %
Final Assignment 30.00 %
Research Proposal 15.00 %
Research Proposal and Literature Review 15.00 %

Required Course Textbooks

There are no textbooks required for this course; all materials are available on-line.

Required Readings

  • External websites and other assigned readings are found in the Lessons area of the classroom.

  • Weekly Lesson Notes and videos or audio files are found in the Lessons area of the classroom.
Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.