February 20, 2024
The WAR ROOM Staff learned of the recent loss of one of the great thinkers in the world of strategic thought. Colonel (retired) Arthur F. Lykke was a faculty instructor in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College in the late 80's and nearly 35 years ago he introduced the national security world to three little words - END, WAYS and MEANS. Art left us in the final weekend of November 2021 but we were fortunate enough to sit down and talk with him as he shared his thinking behind the now famous three-legged stool that every serious military thinker, statesperson and strategic leader has contemplated, critiqued, discussed or implemented in the course of their studies and duties. We offer this special re-release of part 1 of the 2-part podcast with him in honor of his contribution to strategy. Until we meet again Art, thank you. TRANSCRIPT: https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/19-184-LYKKES-LITTLE-THREE-LEGGED-STOOL-PART-1-Transcript.pdf

The WAR ROOM Staff learned of the recent loss of one of the great thinkers in the world of strategic thought. Colonel (retired) Arthur F. Lykke was a faculty instructor in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College in the late 80’s and nearly 35 years ago he introduced the national security world to three little words – END, WAYS and MEANS. Art left us in the final weekend of November 2021 but we were fortunate enough to sit down and talk with him as he shared his thinking behind the now famous three-legged stool that every serious military thinker, statesperson and strategic leader has contemplated, critiqued, discussed or implemented in the course of their studies and duties. We offer this special re-release of part 1 of the 2-part podcast with him in honor of his contribution to strategy. Until we meet again Art, thank you.

The Vice [Chief of Staff] of the Army…came to the War College…and the first thing he said to me was something like ‘Art why the hell does Senator Nunn want to talk to you about strategy…?’

If you’ve ever participated in strategic-level professional military education you’re probably familiar with his work. If you’ve ever listened to congressional testimony that involved a plan or policy you’ve likely heard the words “ends, ways, and means.” If you have a teenage child you’ve probably dampened their enthusiasm for a harebrained scheme with the simple reality of his model of strategy. A BETTER PEACE is thrilled to welcome U.S. Army Colonel (retired) Arthur F. Lykke. His name might not be on the tip of your tongue, but a dream and his little “4-page opus” (as he refers to it), was the birthplace of the three-legged-stool model that informs discussions of strategy in classrooms, board rooms, congressional offices, and even the White House. Thinking about “Ends, Ways and Means” as three legs of a stool was Art’s way of conceptualizing military strategy nearly forty years ago. And it’s still an important starting point for contemporary discussions. Art joins the Chair of the Department of National Security and Strategy, Mark Duckenfield, and our own Editor-In-Chief Jacqueline Whitt to discuss how it all started in part one of our two part interview.

Colonel (retired) Arthur F. Lykke was a faculty instructor in the Department of National Security and Strategy. He is the author of “Toward an Understanding of Military Strategy.” Mark Duckenfield is Chair of the Department of National Security Strategy at the U.S. Army War College and Editor of the Whiteboard series on WAR ROOM. Jacqueline E. Whitt is an Associate Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor-in-Chief of WAR ROOM. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.

Photo Description: 20 Feb 2019 brought a bit of snow to the Army War College, Root Hall, Carlisle Barracks. Root Hall is the home of the Strategic School of Landpower. Joint, Interagency and International leaders from around the world pass through the doors of this building with the goal of expanding their thinking into the strategic realm.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army War College Photo

1 thought on “LYKKE’S LITTLE THREE-LEGGED STOOL (PART 1) Re-release

  1. Colonel Luke, Jr’s Three Legged Stool if followed would have avoided the failures in Iraq, Afghanistan . AUSTIN (all of Our 3 and 4 Stars)and Blinken need a mandatory course on THE THREE LEGGED STOOL. Semper Fidelis RJ Ingold, Colonel USMC Ret AWCCS CLASS 1994.

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