Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Military and Naval Sciences

Written by: Steven Sowards Date Drafted: January 1986 Date Revised: November 8, 2019

Purpose or Scope of Collection

A. Scope of the collection

Military Science is the study of military institutions, their behavior and role in society, and the study of warfare, past and present: it covers the use of armies and air forces. It is associated with U as a Library of Congress call number. Naval Science is the corresponding study of navies and marine forces, including associated works about ships and seamanship. It is associated with V as a Library of Congress call numbers. These military studies overlap with the study of military history and military-related public policy, but emphasize specific practices, resources and issues rather than their context (while general works of history and political science look at military and naval matters as elements in wider investigations). 

B. Curricular/Research/Programmatic needs

Military and naval sciences are interdisciplinary and relate to the sciences and technology, the social sciences, and the humanities including history. Related works are present in many other parts of the library collection, and not just in class U and V: examples include works about World War II in call numbers D731-D838. Collection development for military and naval studies therefore involves collaboration with other subject fields. Scholarly users of military and naval studies are diverse, including participants from the campus' Air Force and Army ROTC programs, and those studying topics in foreign relations, history, political science, and engineering. The most frequent users are in the humanities/history, followed by ROTC, science departments, and community researchers (some of whom rely on Inter Library Loan). Reading for personal interest and recreation is common. Our present investment in military and naval science successfully support these activities: there are no plans to significantly build up our holdings, although new works are regularly added.

C. History Of The Collection/Existing Strengths And Emphases.

Our military and naval science collection policy seeks to provide basic materials on a wide range of topics. English language works predominate. Periodicals are few, but include important scholarly and professional titles. There is an emphasis on the armed forces of the United States, but we seek to offer some information about institutions and trends around the world. 

Major focal points in the military science collection include the place of the military in society; the history of warfare; the development of the "art of war" (through thinkers such as Clausewitz); guerilla warfare, terrorism, insurgency, and counter-insurgency; nuclear strategy, warfare, and weapons; chemical and biological warfare (weapons of mass destruction); national security practices (especially in the United States); the United States Army and Air Force; other world armies; civil defense; espionage and counter-intelligence; conscription, the draft, and draft resistance; veterans; women and minorities in military service; uniforms, equipment and weapons; specific branches of the military such as infantry, artillery and armor; air forces including missile forces; and military medicine. For naval science, focal areas include ships, seamanship and seapower; naval strategy; kinds of military vessels; the United States Navy and Marine Corps; and world naval history. 

Michigan State University