Sun Tzu’s philosophy was about the unity of his forces. They were to always move as one and to take into consideration the next man at all times. The responsibility started at the top and through the leader were all commands and action taken. In a time of war, there are principles that must be followed to ensure the livelihood and durability of the men. There were five fundamental principles that Sun Tzu believed were essential to the art of war: the way, heaven, earth, command, and discipline. These five principles will decide who will win the war in Sun Tzu’s eyes, following his principles were golden and required. They assessed things like ability, discipline, strength, training and overall effectiveness.
In short I believe the art of war reading was simply “the way” of winning a war to Sun Tzu. The whole passage is guided towards winning, using different strategies, tactics and knowing about the enemy was huge.
The jest of Sun Tzu’s “The Are of War” is very similar to the techniques and tactics taught at the academy, especially during plebe summer. As The United States Naval Academy, we focus on unity and the uniformity of the brigade. One thing I did not see that’s a big tenant here is holding one another accountable for faults or holding honor to a high standard. A big similarity though is not letting one another fall behind or apart and if that does start to happen then the leader is to blame. The leader runs the show and needs to make the sure the chain of command is stable so there are no faults along the way.
Though “The Art of War” only has five fundamentals, the Naval Academy has plenty that could fall into many of the fundamentals. One especially as ‘discipline’, this type of action is preached to us thoroughly because it is needed to be a competent and functioning officer. As the fundamental say, we as well have to use our chain of command and follow the organization of things.
Another point to make is that these fundamentals are taught in different naval academy terms but they are about our future life as officers as well. This is the type of stuff that midshipmen have not yet needed or experienced like “war time” and understanding the ‘Earth’ factor with ease and danger or something such life and death. These types of things are not on our plate yet as midshipmen.
Obviously I’d have to say the Naval Academy’s tactics and techniques would prevail and are more useful. Based on the lifestyle of going to school here and the certainty of being an officer, this school knows what it takes to make an officer and produce the right people for the job. This is also a different time in technology and there aren’t the hand-to-hand or even on ground battles. We understand a lot more now in terms of how the world works and knowing where we are at all times. Our teachings here are not job specific but extremely discipline required to the cause.
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