Purpose and Philosophy 

The Military Conflict Institute (TMCI) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), professional organization dedicated to developing a fundamental understanding of the nature of military conflict and to communicating results of our work to the public. Our purpose is to reduce the likelihood and dangers of warfare through a better understanding of its nature.

TMCI was founded in 1979 by a group of operations research analysts, military historians, and modelers who were dissatisfied with the state of the art of military models and combat simulations. Since that time, our members have become more diverse and have broadened the scope of TMCI's work to address additional aspects of military conflict in an integrated approach. TMCI makes its findings available to military professionals, the community of defense intellectuals, and the general public by publication of a series of papers on particular aspects of military conflict.

We hold that there is a general hierarchy of understanding military conflict. The overarching level is military conflict that encompasses a general field theory and is geostrategic in nature. The second level is a philosophy of war which describes combat in the context of economic, social, political and cultural factors. Finally, there is a theory of combat with a direct focus on military combat and battle outcomes.

Goals and Progress

Our goal is to produce an integrated set of explanations, hypotheses, and theories that illuminate the many facets of military conflict. We seek to develop and publish an overarching theory of military conflict, a philosophy of war, an understanding of the art of military campaigns, and a theory of military combat. As a part of this overall goal, we present research findings in briefing format and publish relevant documentation of our work to promote discussion and debate leading to deeper understanding of conflict, war and combat.

An early, precursor work, Anatomy of a Combat Model, was published in 1995.

A Concise Theory of Combat was published in 1997 by the Naval Postgraduate School in collaboration with TMCI.

In 2013 we published A Philosophy of War, an extensive work that involved lengthy periods of debate, discussion and analysis.

These and numerous papers, monographs and briefings are available on this site.

We continue our studies and have expanded our interests to encompass practical applications of our research. Beginning with the April 2014 General Working Meeting we will conduct two table top exercises to explore an East China Sea scenario involving road to crisis and military conflict over the Senkanu/Diaoyu Islands.


Fire Base O’Reilly, Thua Thien, Republic of Vietnam, 1970