The process of strategy making is neither easy nor for the feebleminded. In fact, the creation of workable strategic approaches to the most intractable problems on the planet is an intellectual exercise unmatched in human endeavors. The strategist—particularly the military strategist—must often choose between multiple contradictory solutions and approaches in the midst of mayhem. History is filled with the destruction of empires and nations that got it wrong. Whether the United States remains a preeminent power in the twenty-first century will in no small measure rest on the capability of strategists graduating from the nation’s war colleges today. This primer is designed to help Marine Corps War College (MCWAR) students think creatively and critically about strategymaking processes. By presenting a sampling of principles and methodologies drawn from some of the most important works on the topic, this primer will streamline many of the contradictions that strategy makers will encounter during their time at MCWAR and throughout their careers.