Freedman Acad Resized

Strategy in the 21st Century

Lawrence Freedman

How has strategy changed through the ages? What global strategies are being employed today? Eminent Professor of War Studies at KCL and author of The Future of War, Lawrence Freedman, explores how we can navigate the new cyber and guerrilla warfare.

  • Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman at Chatham House
    Lawrence Freedman

    Lawrence Freedman is Emeritus Professor of War Studies at KCL. He was a member of the Iraq Inquiry and was the official historian of the Falklands War.


About the Course


Since humans have organised ourselves into societies, we have been at war with each other. Great armies led by great leaders have continually waged wars in the name of nations, resources, or gods. Yet behind every successful war lies a successful strategy.

Where did the idea of strategy come from? When and why did military leaders start targeting civilian populations? In a world where we have the global peacekeeping force of the UN, yet it is still possible to take out insurgents from the other side of the world, what shape does strategy take? And even in times of supposed peace and diplomacy between global superpowers, how is propaganda and disinformation strategically used to control the narratives and further their goals?

Emeritus Professor of War Studies at KCL and author of The Future of War, Lawrence Freedman, shares his expertise to provide a concise history of where the concept of strategy came from, how it evolved, and where it’s going.


By the end of the course, you will have learned:

  • Why Napoleon was skeptical of the term ‘strategy’
  • Why a surrender is not always a surrender
  • Why war became more brutal at the turn of the 20th century
  • Why wars are no longer profitable
  • How the US got caught in a ‘discourse trap’ during the Iraq War
  • The significance and difficulties of building narratives


As part of the course there are in-video quiz questions to consolidate your learning, discussion boards to have your say and an end-of-course assessment set by Lawrence Freedman.

IAI Academy courses are designed to be challenging but accessible to the interested student. No specialist knowledge is required.


About the Instructor

  • Lawrence Freedman

    Lawrence Freedman is a Fellow of the British Academy, Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King's College London and was once described as the "dean of British strategic studies". Lawrence Freedman has previously held positions at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Royal Institute of International Affairs. From 2003 to 2013, he was a Vice Principal at KCL. Freedman was a member of the Iraq Inquiry, contributed to the preparation of the 1999 Chicago speech in which Tony Blair set out the 'Blair doctrine' and was the official historian of the Falklands War. Lawrence Freedman has written extensively on modern defence, in particular on nuclear strategy and the cold war, as well as commenting regularly on contemporary security issues. His honours and awards include Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George. 

Course Syllabus

  • Part One: Strategy: A History
    Strategy used to be about winning battles. In recent decades it has become a way of realising political aims and business ambitions. Freedman explores how and why strategy has outgrown its military setting.
  • Part Two: Strategy: The Future
    What should we expect from strategy in the 21st century? Freedman explores the knowns and the unknowns about what lies ahead.