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This bibliography is limited to writings more or less directly relevant to the links between Clausewitzian theory and nonlinear thought—which is not to say that all of these readings explicitly refer to Clausewitz. For more comprehensive bibliographies on Clausewitz in several languages, click here.

See also Chaotic System Demonstrators. Google search logo

Alberts, David S., and Thomas J. Czerwinski, eds. Complexity, Global Politics, and National Security. Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1997. [This entire book is in one PDF. It has a useful (though quite old) bibliography.]


Chapter 1. The Simple and the Complex (Murray Gell-Mann) (A more readable version of this page is here.)

Chapter 2. America in the World Today (Zbigniew Brzezinski )

Chapter 3. Complex Systems: The Role of Interactions (Robert Jervis )

Chapter 4. Many Damn Things Simultaneously: Complexity Theory and World Affairs (James N. Rosenau )

Chapter 5. Complexity, Chaos and National Security Policy: Metaphors or Tools? (Alvin M. Saperstein )

Chapter 6. The Reaction to Chaos (Steven R. Mann )

Chapter 7. Clausewitz, Nonlinearity, and the Importance of Imagery (Alan D. Beyerchen )

Chapter 8. Complexity and Organization Management (Robert R. Maxfield )

Chapter 9: Command and (Out of) Control: The Military Implications of Complexity Theory (John F. Schmitt)

Chapter 10: Complexity Theory And Airpower: A New Paradigm for Airpower in the 21st Century (Steven M. Rinaldi)

Chapter 11: Chaos Theory and U.S. Military Strategy: A ‘Leapfrog’ Strategy for U.S. Defense Policy (Michael J. Mazarr)

Bassford, Christopher. Chapter 2 in Clausewitz in English: The Reception of Clausewitz in Britain and America, 1815-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Bassford, Christopher and Edward J. Villacres. "Reclaiming the Clausewitzian Trinity." Parameters, Autumn 1995, pp.9-19.

Bassford, Christopher. "Doctrinal Complexity: Nonlinearity in Marine Corps Doctrine." In F.G. Hoffman and Gary Horne, eds., Maneuver Warfare Science. United States Marine Corps Combat Development Command, 1998.

Beckerman, Linda P. (SAIC). The Non-Linear Dynamics of War . ©1999 Science Applications International Corporation.

Beyerchen, Alan D. "Nonlinear Science and the Unfolding of a New Intellectual Vision." In Richard Bjornson and Marilyn R. Waldman, eds., Rethinking Patterns of Knowledge (v.6 of Papers in Comparative Studies). Columbus, OH: Center for Comparative Studies in the Humanities, 1989, pp.25-49.

Beyerchen, Alan D. "Clausewitz, Nonlinearity, and the Unpredictability of War." International Security, Winter 1992/93, pp.59-90. This article is also available in French: "Clausewitz: Non Linéarité et Imprévisibilité de la Guerre," Theorie, Littérature, Enseignement, 12 (1994), pp165-98.

*Beyerchen, Alan D. (See article " Clausewitz, Nonlinearity, and the Importance of Imagery " in Alberts, ed., listed above.)

Czerwinski, Thomas J. "Command and Control at the Crossroads," Parameters, Autumn 1996: 121-132. 

Czerwinski, Tom. Coping With the Bounds: Speculations on Nonlinearity in Military Affairs. Washington, DC: National Defense University, 1998. First Edition—second is listed below.]

1. Clausewitz, Nonlinearity and the Unpredictability of War (Alan D. Beyerchen). Also available HERE.
2. From Command in War (Martin Van Creveld)
3. Command and Control at the Crossroads (Thomas J. Czerwinski)
4. From Complex Systems: The Role of Interactions (Robert Jervis)
5. Researchers on Complexity Ponder What It's All About (George Johnson)
6. From Center of Gravity Analysis and Chaos Theory, or How Societies Form, Function and Fail (Pat Pentland)

Czerwinski, Thomas J., Coping with the Bounds: A Neo-Clausewitzean Primer (Washington, DC: Command and Control Research Program, DoD) ISBN 1-57906-009-9 Second Edition—first is listed above.]

Part One: Linearity and Nonlinearity
1 Nonlinearity: An Introduction
2 The Nature of Linear Reductionism
3 Toward a Nonlinear Reductionism
4 The Meshing of “Tools of Analysis” and “Aids to Learning”
The Keystone: Clausewitz, Nonlinearity and the Unpredictability of War. Also available HERE.
Part Two: Aids to Learning
5 Metaphors
6 Van Creveld’s Iron Rules
7 Perrow’s Quadrants
8 Genetic Algorithms, or Artificial Life
9 Pattern Recognition
10 Interaction Searches
About the Author

Dent, Eric B. & Cameron G. Holt. "CAS in War, Bureaucratic Machine in Peace:  The US Air Force Example."  Emergence , Vol.3, No.3.

P. Deramaix. " Guerre et complexité ."

Echevarria, Antulio Joseph II [Major, USA]. "A Revolution in Military Theory: Dynamic Interdimensionality." Joint Force Quarterly, (Spring 1997): 29-36.

Echevarria, Antulio Joseph II [Major, USA]. "Optimizing Chaos: Embracing the Nonlinear Battlefield." (Projected publication) Military Review, September/October 1997. [Download .pdf file]

Epstein, J.M. "On the mathematical biology of arms races, wars, and revolutions." 1991 Lectures in Complex Systems. Ed. L. Nadel and D. Stein. Addison-Wesley, 1992.

Epstein, J.M. "The adaptive dynamic model of combat." 1991 Lectures in Complex Systems. Ed. L. Nadel and D. Stein. Addison-Wesley, 1992.

Fadok, David S. "John Boyd and John warden: Airpower's Quest for Strategic Paralysis." Paper, The School of Advanced Airpower Studies, 1994. (Download )

Ferguson, Niall. “Complexity and Collapse: Empires on the Edge of Chaos.” Foreign Affairs. 89, no. 2 (2010), p. 18-32.

Ferguson, Niall. “Virtual History: Toward a Chaotic History of the Past." In Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals, ed. Niall Ferguson. London: Picador, 1997.

Gaddis, John Lewis. "International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War." International Security, Winter 1992/93, pp.5- 58.

Gaddis, John Lewis. "Chaos, Complexity, and Contemporary History." Think Piece Series N0.30. Athens, OH: Contemporary History Institute, May 1994.

Gaddis, John Lewis. The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Gell-Mann, Murray. The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and Complex. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1994.

Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin, 1987.

Harned, Colonel Glenn M. (USMC). "The Complexity of War: The Application of Nonlinear Science to Military Science." Student paper, Marine Corps War College, 5 June 1995.

Hoffman, F.G., and Gary Horne, eds. Maneuver Warfare Science. United States Marine Corps Combat Development Command, 1998.

Holmes, Terence M. [Swansea University, UK], "Planning versus Chaos in Clausewitz’s On War." The Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1 (February 2007), pp.129 – 151. Holmes takes on some writers who argue that Clausewitzian theory is somehow inimical to practical military planning. This excellent exploration of the subject of planning in On War may somewhat miss the point of Alan Beyerchen's nonlinear interpretation of Clausewitz, but that's a good subject for debate.

Ilachinski, Andrew. Land Warfare and Complexity, Part II: An Assessment of the Applicability of Nonlinear Dynamic and Complex Systems Theory to the Study of Land Warfare. Alexandria, VA: Center for Naval Analyses, July 1996.

James, Glenn E. [Major, USAF]. Chaos Theory: The Essentials for Military Applications. Newport Papers Number Ten. Newport, RI: Naval War College, 1996.

Jervis, Robert. "Systems Effects." Richard J. Zeckhauser, ed. Strategy and Choice. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991. Pp107-129. [This is a readable, "common-sense" explanation of nonlinear effects in social/political systems.]

Jervis. Robert. System Effects: Complexity in Political and Social Life. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Kennedy, Paul. "Chaos and Complexity: Where Do We Go From Here?" Think Piece Series N0.36. Athens, OH: Contemporary History Institute, July 1994.

Lawson, Sean T. Nonlinear Science and Warfare: Chaos, Complexity and the U.S. Military in the Information Age. Routedge, 2014. ISBN 0415836859.

Mann, Steven R. "Chaos Theory and Strategic Thought." Parameters, Autumn 1992, pp.54-68.

McNeill, William H. The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.

DVDNOVA (PBS), "Hunting the Hidden Dimension." One-hour video on fractals, divided into five chapters. This documentary highlights a host of filmmakers, fashion designers, physicians, and other researchers who are using fractal geometry to innovate and inspire. Also lots of textual material. Original PBS Broadcast Date: October 28, 2008. Also available on DVD from

Pellegrini, Robert P. [Lieutenant Colonel, USA]. "The Links between Science and Philosophy and Military Theory: Understanding the Pastl; Implications for the Future." Thesis. Maxwell AFB: School of Advanced Airpower Studies," 1995. (Download )

Pentland, Pat A. " Center of Gravity Analysis and Chaos Theory, or How Societies Form, Function and Fail." Master's Thesis. Maxwell AFB, AL: School of Advanced Airpower Studies, AY 1993-94. Go to Appendix #6.

Rinaldi, Steven M. (Major, USAF). "Beyond the Industrial Web: Economic Synergies and Targeting Methodologies. Paper, The School of Advanced Airpower Studies, 1994. ( Download )

Roxborough, Ian. "Clausewitz and the sociology of war." British Journal of Sociology, v.45, no.4 (December 1994), pp.619-636. [Nothing nonlinear here, per se, but this article has some interesting things to say about both Clausewitz and the general problem of advancing military theory.]

Saperstein, Alvin M. "War and Chaos: Complexity theory may be useful in modeling how real-world situations get out of control." American Scientist, v.83 (November-December 1995), pp.548- 557.

Schmitt, John F. "Chaos, Complexity, and War: What the New Nonlinear Dynamical Sciences May Tell Us About Armed Conflict." Paper. 4 September 1995.

Sherman, Howard, and Schultz, Ron. Open Boundaries: Creating Business Innovation through Complexity (Perseus Books, 1998).

United States Marine Corps. MCDPs 1: Warfighting ; 1-1: Strategy ; and MCDP 6: Command and Control. Each of these key USMC doctrinal publications (approved in 1997) makes some overt use of nonlinear concepts and imagery.

Waldrop, M. Mitchell. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.

Watts, Barry D. Clausewitzian Friction and Future War . McNair Paper no.68. Washington, DC: Institute for National Strategic Studies, 1996.

Young, Frank. " Clausewitz and Counter-Terrorism ." National Defense Univerity, 1997. Student essay.


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