What’s the difference between the adjectives “strategic” and “tactical”?

I recently read this sentence:

It was a strategic move rather than a tactical one.

I have trouble interpreting it. Can someone help?


Tactics address immediate needs; strategy addresses long-term ones. Somtimes it is worth taking a loss in the short term (what would seem like bad tactics) for long-term strategic advantage.

The terms are used with regard to the military but are broader: business, games, financial planning, etc:

  • A chess player makes the strategic decision to sacrifice a rook in order to consolidate control over the center of the board and maintain a strong pawn structure (this example suggested in comments).

  • A business makes the tactical decision to hire temps for the current push or the strategic decision to hire and train permanent employees for the long term.

  • An investor makes the strategic decision to accept risk of short-term loss for possible gains because he doesn’t need the money for another decade anyway.

  • And back to the military: a commander may sacrifice a unit (or put it at risk) to achieve a strategic goal of gaining territory.

Source : Link , Question Author : harithski , Answer Author : Monica Cellio

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