Harlan K. Ullman

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Commander Harlan Kenneth Ullman, USN (Ret), is the military theorist responsible for the "shock and awe" strategy openly discussed prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In 1996, Ullmann, then an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), published Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance. The premise of the book was that, rather than relying on old-fashioned gimmickry like destroying the enemy's military capability, we could instead win wars by "sufficiently intimidating and compelling factors to force or otherwise convince an adversary to accept our will." Ullman approvingly cited the nuking of Hiroshima and the Germans' blitzkreig as examples of shocking and awing civilian populations into submission. [1]

Ullman was the youngest officer to ever serve as Professor of Strategy at the National War College. He taught strategy to Colin Powell when Powell was a Colonel attending the NWC. In his autobiography My American Journey, Colin Powell was effusive with praise for Ullman:

"A teacher who raised my vision several levels was Harlan Ullman, a Navy lieutenant commander who taught military strategy. So far, I had known men of action but few who were also authentic intellectuals. Ullman was that rarity, a scholar in uniform, a line officer qualified for command at sea, also possessed of one of the best, most provocative minds I have ever encountered." [2]

Ullman, a 1963 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, retired as a Commander. His career included commanding a Swift Boat in Vietnam, as well as a Navy Destroyer (USS Dupont DD-941) in 1980-1981.

Ullman worked as a long range budget analyst for Carlisle Trost in the the Secretary of the Navy's office during the first term of the Reagan Administration. He was the author of a controversial analysis on the fiscal requirements of a "600 ship Navy", a main administration goal of then-Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman. (Vistica, pp. 160-162)

Business Career

A biographical note states that after leaving the U.S. Navy "Ullman joined CSIS as senior fellow and director of the Political-Military and Strategy Programs and began consulting with a number of Fortune 100 companies. Elected to the board of the Wall Street Fund, he later formed his own company, the Killowen Group, a consulting firm with broad financial interests. He has served on the boards of several related investment and venture capital companies with holdings in Asia and as senior partner and vice chairman of two companies in the high-technology area. Ullman is currently chairman of the advisory board of two companies engaged in Smart Zone Management and homeland security." [3]



  • Robert Hilton, Paula J. Pettavino and Harlan K. Ullman, U.S. Maritime Industries: Down for the Third Time?, Significant Issues Vol 9, No 1, Center for Strategic & International Studies, February 1987, ISBN-10: 0892060999 ISBN-13: 978-0892060993
  • Harlan K. Ullman, In Harm's Way: American Seapower and the 21st Century, Bartleby Press, August 1991. ISBN-10: 0910155186 ISBN-13: 978-0910155182
  • H. J. Ullman and Harlan K. Ullman, In Irons US Military Might In the New Century, Focus Publishing, January 1995. ISBN 10 0715626523 ISBN 13 978-0715626528.
  • Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade, Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance, National Defense University Press, October 1996. ISBN 1414260482
  • Harlan K. Ullman, Owls and Eagles: Ending the Foreign Policy Flights of Fancy of Hawks, Doves, and Neo-Cons, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, June 2005. ISBN-10: 0742549305 ISBN-13: 978-0742549302
  • Harlan K. Ullman, America's Promise Restored: Preventing Culture, Crusade, and Partisanship from Wrecking Our Nation, Carroll & Graf, 2006.

Other SourceWatch resources

External links


  • Gregory L. Vistica, "Fall from Glory : The Men Who Sank the U.S. Navy", Simon and Schuster, 1996 (ISBN 0684811502).
  • Harlan Kenneth Ullman, Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies, accessed April 2007.

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