Coming Soon!
Combined Effect Strategy and Influence
How Democracies Can Defeat Authoritarians
by Thomas A. Drohan
July 2023, 240pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-8074-2
$85, £66, 74€, A117
Available for purchase 30 days prior to publication.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-8075-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Democracies remain unprepared for the cyber attacks, territorial seizures, proxy operations, and influence campaigns that authoritarians have practiced for decades.

Offering a competitive strategy to defeat authoritarians' all-domain warfare, this book suggests a new combined effects and influence framework for democracies to employ before deterrence fails.

Breaking new ground in this comprehensive study, retired Brigadier General Thomas A. Drohan reforms an entrenched legacy concept—coercive compellence and deterrence. The book’s framework synthesizes brute force, coercion, combined arms, and concepts of operations into combined effects and concepts of influence, including narrative warfare with cognitive exploits. The survey of competitive strategy at the beginning of the book spans a time frame from the thinking of ancient civilizations all the way to artificial intelligence, providing broad historical context for this model. The contemporary cases that test the model focus on complex competition and confrontation during the past 75 years.

Combined Effect Strategy and Influence is unique in its critique of democracies’ dominant paradigm of international security and its broad, specific framework ready for strategists, analysts, planners, and operators to apply to current threats. Students, researchers, and any leader interested in developing superior strategy will value the book’s insights on gaining an advantage against emerging threats.


  • Presents the enduring historical nature of competitive strategy as holistic, agile, and asymmetric and explains why artificial intelligence will challenge these characteristics in inexplicable ways
  • Introduces combined effects strategy beyond combined arms doctrine and concepts of influence beyond concepts of operations
  • Exposes democracies' dangerously restricted "when-deterrence-fails" approach to warfare
  • Provides a language and executable strategy for all-effects competition and confrontation including conflict/warfare
Thomas A. Drohan, PhD, Brigadier General-Retired, is professor emeritus of military and strategic studies, USAF Academy, and director, JMark Services Inc. International Center for Security and Leadership, Colorado Springs, CO. He has extensive command and operational experience and holds a BS in national security from the USAF Academy, an MA in political science from the University of Hawaii, and a PhD in politics from Princeton University. Drohan served as a Council on Foreign Relations fellow in Japan, curriculum advisor at the Afghanistan Military Academy, and visiting scholar at the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies. His publications include two other books, numerous articles in defense journals, and blog papers at


"Drohan is a master strategist—a rare find among those whose expertise is capped at combining arms for operational effectiveness. Today's challenges require a broader and deeper vision and the crafting of more nuanced strategies with multiple interacting and synergistic effects. Drohan presents a primer on effects-based strategies and an outline for their application to our primary rising challenges: read and heed."—James M. Smith, Director, USAF Institute for National Security Studies (Retired); Co-Editor of China's Strategic Arsenal: Worldview, Doctrine, and Systems

"To many, the end of the Cold War incorrectly implied the end of deterrence, compellence, and other coercive theories seen as incompatible with a liberal, rules-based global order. As in the 1920s and 1930s when alliances were prohibited and war had been declared illegal, the reality of conflict in Europe and East Asia shattered such optimism. Plus ça change, c’est plus la même chose. In this volume, Drohan takes a fresh and very productive look at established coercion theory and applies his expertise, sensitive as he is to cultural contexts. He calls persuasively for 'the defense and security bureaucracy to speak the language of combined effects and concepts of influence' that he deals with extensively in this important book."—Paul Viotti, Professor, University of Denver

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