WarStudiesPrimer.org(tm) : An introductory course on the study of war and military history

About War Studies Primer


  1. Who are you?

    I am a Professor of Radiology at The University of Iowa, a physician who is a pediatric radiologist, and a researcher in the field of educational informatics.

    I have never served in military. However, I have designed, constructed, and operated from 1996-2005 the US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery's Virtual Naval Hospital, the premier military medicine digital library on the Internet that has been extensively used in war, operations other than war, and peacetime. I therefore have a basic understanding of the operational information needs of military medical forces. This work has received the praise of the US Navy Surgeon General, the Secretary of the Navy, and most importantly the corpsmen and physicians who use it every day.

    I have long had an interest in military history which led in 2000 to the creation and curatorship of the Naval Open Source Intelligence digital library which has in turn led to an interest in war studies, and thus to the creation of the War Studies Primer.

  2. What is the purpose of War Studies Primer?

    To provide a primer, or introduction, to the study of war. The study of war must encompass more than just the study of military history. The study of war must view war within the context of everything else as well as within the context of war. The British call this "war studies" and this is the term I have chosen to use to title this work.

    War studies is the multi-disciplinary study of war encompassing the artistic, diplomatic, economic, ethical, historical, legal, logistical, philosophical, political, psychological and sociological dimensions of war.

    War studies encompasses why wars start, how they are conducted, how they end and how they can be prevented.

    In its current form, the War Studies Primer is presented as a lecture curriculum for a university course that is an introduction to war studies. I currently teach such a course, in a first-year seminar format. The War Studies Primer can easily be adapted to other classroom formats, and even more importantly it can easily be used by individuals for self-study.

    The War Studies Primer was begun in 2004 and is a work in progress. However, I do believe it has reached a critical mass of content. While it currently has an emphasis on 20th and 21st century warfare, its perspective will be broadened over time.

  3. Where are your sources for the War Studies Primer?

    As part of my work curating Naval Open Source Intelligence I read on a daily basis a number of articles broadly related to the field of war studies. Additionally I read on a regular basis a number of journals and books broadly related to war studies. The most interesting information I learn from all this reading gets distilled into the War Studies Primer. The first version of the War Studies Primer was completed in 2004. Since then it has been under continuous refinement and expansion. I add on the average 1 slide to it per week.

    To view the raw content I process in order to create the War Studies Primer, read Naval Open Source Intelligence every day.

    A reading list of background articles in war studies may be found at Naval Open Source Intelligence.

  4. When do you intend to release a new version of the War Studies Primer?

    I intend to hold myself to releasing updates on a yearly basis, near the start of the year.

    If you would like to be put on a mailing list to be told when the War Studies Primer is updated, please contact me through the Comment Form.

  5. Why do you do this?

    I feel that citizens must be well informed if they are to make informed decisions, and there is no better time that informed decisions need to be made about issues of national security than now. This is an unfortunately fortuitous time to study war. If people find it useful and learn from it, I consider War Studies Primer a success and my way of making the world a slightly more informed and better place.

    I am what Charles Leadbeater, in his book "We Think: Why Mass Creativity is the Next Big Thing" would call a Pro-Am: a dedicated, educated and well equipped amateur who engages in an activity for the love of it, but performs to very high standards. Note that I bring an amateur's - rather than a professional's - view to this work, which means I do it for love, rather than for money.

    Additionally, in regards to theories of learning, I am by nature a constructionist, and War Studies Primer is the learning artifact I have constructed in the course of my daily readings on war studies. It is an example of situated learning, of a currriculum unfolding in practice.

  6. How may I reuse the War Studies Primer?

    Creative Commons License The War Studies Primer is made available for reuse and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

    I reserve the right to the "War Studies Primer™" trademark and I reserve the right to publish it in book form someday.

    If you adapt the War Studies Primer for other other educational purposes under the Creative Commons license, please provide me with a copy so I may make it available here for others to use.

  7. How may I send comments or questions about the War Studies Primer?

    Use the Comment Form to contact me.

    If you use the War Studies Primer to teach a course, I would love to learn of your experiences through the Comment Form.

    If you use the War Studies Primer for self study, I would love to learn of your experiences through the Comment Form.

  8. How can I best print the War Studies Primer out?

    To make it easier to read, print the War Studies Primer out on paper. This can be done by printing out the PDF version formatted for printing, or print out the PowerPoint version as Handouts (6 slides per page).

  9. How do you handle my personal information?

    No personal or non-personal information is collected. No cookies are used. Google Analytics is used to analyze the audience of this site and improve its content. No personal information is collected from Google Analytics. For further information on Google Analytics' privacy policy, look here.

  10. Who owns and funds the War Studies Primer and WarStudiesPrimer.org?

    The War Studies Primer is owned by Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D. and made available for reuse and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

    The WarStudiesPrimer.org digital library is copyright @ Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D. All rights reserved

    "War Studies Primer," "WarStudiesPrimer.org," and the WarStudiesPrimer.org logo are Trademarks of Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D.

    War Studies Primer and WarStudiesPrimer.org are funded in whole by Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D. Advertising is not accepted.

  11. What is the date the WarStudiesPrimer.org digital library was last revised?

    January 5, 2017

  12. Sum it all up?

    The War Studies Primer provides you with an introductory course on the study of war and military history.


Curated by Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D. and © 2004-2017