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Title: Overview%20of%20Military%20Strategy%20and%20Operations

Overview of Military Strategy and Operations
  • Key Theorists
  • Principles of War
  • Facets of the Operational Art
  • Forms of Maneuver
  • Unit Organization
  • Strategy

Key Theorists
  • Clausewitz
  • Jomini
  • Sun-Tzu

  • Carl von Clausewitz
  • Prussian officer born in 1780
  • Resigned his commission in 1812 and joined the
    Russian Army to fight Napoleon
  • Ideas on war were heavily influenced by the mass
    popular warfare of the French Revolutionary
    period and Napoleons Prussian adversary Gerhard
    von Scharnhorst
  • Died in 1831 and his wife published his On War in

  • War is neither an art nor a science
  • It is a continuation of policy (or politics)
    by other means.
  • A form of social intercourse
  • War is like a wrestling match
  • It is an act of force to compel our enemy to do
    our will.
  • But it is not unilateral. It is a contest
    between two independent wills.

  • Used a trinitarian analysis consisting of (1)
    primordial violence, hatred, and enmity (2) the
    play of chance and probability and (3) wars
    element of subordination to rational policy
  • Often loosely expressed as the people, the
    military, and the government
  • Analyzed absolute war or war in theory, but
    then noted that factors such as poor
    intelligence, chance, friction, etc make war in
    practice different than war in the abstract
  • Argued one should focus his military efforts
    against the enemys center of gravity
  • Very important concept in American military

  • Antoine-Henri Jomini (1779-1869) was a Swiss
    military theorist who sought to interpret
  • Published the Summary of the Art of War in 1838
  • Became the premier military-educational text of
    the mid-nineteenth century and greatly influenced
    Civil War generals.
  • Very geometrical and scientific approach to war
  • Stressed interior lines

Interior Lines
Interior Lines
Exterior Lines
Sun Tzu
  • Chinese military theorist circa 453-221 B.C. who
    wrote The Art of War.
  • Stressed the unpredictability of battle, the
    importance of deception and surprise, the close
    relationship between politics and military
    policy, and the high costs of war.

Sun Tzu
  • So it is said that if you know your enemies and
    know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a
    hundred battles if you do not know your enemies
    but do know yourself, you will win one and lose
    one if you do not know your enemies nor
    yourself, you will be imperiled in every single
  • One hundred victories in one hundred battles is
    not the most skillful. Seizing the enemy without
    fighting is the most skillful.

Principles of War
  • British military officer J. F. C. Fuller
    developed a list of principles based on the works
    of Clausewitz and Jomini for use by the British
    Army in World War I
  • The US Army modified them and published its first
    list in 1921
  • Objective
  • Offensive
  • Mass
  • Economy of force
  • Maneuver
  • Unity of command
  • Security
  • Surprise
  • Simplicity

  • When undertaking any mission, commanders should
    have a clear understanding of the expected
    outcome and its impact. Commanders need to
    appreciate political ends and understand how the
    military conditions they achieve contribute to
  • Ensure that all actions contribute to the goals
    of the higher headquarters.
  • Example In the Yom Kippur War, Egypt was able to
    transform its limited military success into a
    major diplomatic victory by forcing the US to
    exert pressure on Israel to conclude a peace
    treaty. The Camp David Accords committed Israel
    to return the entire Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.

  • Offensive operations are essential to maintain
    the freedom of action necessary for success,
    exploit vulnerabilities, and react to rapidly
    changing situations and unexpected developments.
  • Offensive actions are those taken to dictate the
    nature, scope, and tempo of an operation.
  • Offensive action is key to achieving decisive
    results it is the essence of successful
  • Example In 1968 84,000 Viet Cong and North
    Vietnamese attacked 36 of 43 provincial capitals,
    5 of 6 autonomous cities, 34 of 242 district
    capitals, and at least 50 hamlets in the Tet

  • Commanders mass the effects of combat power in
    time and space to overwhelm enemies or gain
    control of the situation.
  • Time applies the elements of combat power
    against multiple targets simultaneously
  • Space concentrates the effects of different
    elements of combat power against a single target
  • Example World War I forces attempted to
    overcome the stalemate of trench warfare with
    frontal attacks that relied on mass such as at

Economy of Force
  • Commanders never leave any element without a
    purpose. When the time comes to execute, all
    elements should have tasks to perform.
  • Economy of force requires accepting prudent risk
    in selected areas to achieve superiority in the
    decisive operation.
  • Economy of force involves the discriminating
    employment and distribution of forces.
  • Example Gallipoli was intended to be an economy
    of force operation for the British, using
    primarily naval forces. As it turned out, the
    ground force was too weak to be successful,
    illustrating how adhering to one principle
    (economy of force) can violate another (mass).

  • As both an element of combat power and a
    principle of war, maneuver concentrates and
    disperses combat power to place and keep the
    enemy at a disadvantage. It includes the dynamic,
    flexible application of leadership, firepower,
    information, and protection as well.
  • Achieves results that would otherwise be more
  • Keeps enemies off balance by making them confront
    new problems and new dangers faster than they can
    deal with them.
  • Example Napoleon used maneuver at Austerlitz to
    break the Russo-Austrian center, separating it
    into two parts

Unity of Command
  • Unity of command means that a single commander
    directs and coordinates the actions of all forces
    toward a common objective.
  • Develops the full combat power of a force
  • Usually requires giving a single commander
  • Example The pacification efforts in Vietnam were
    largely uncoordinated until they all eventually
    came under the control of CORDS (Civil Operations
    and Rural Development Support)

  • Calculated risk is inherent in conflict. Security
    protects and preserves combat power.
  • Does not involve excessive caution
  • Measures taken by a command to protect itself
    from surprise, interference, sabotage, annoyance,
    and threat
  • Grant failed to provide adequate entrenchments
    and other security measures and was caught
    off-guard the first day at Shiloh

  • Surprise results from taking actions for which an
    enemy or adversary is unprepared.
  • It is only necessary that the enemy become aware
    too late to react effectively.
  • Contributions to surprise include speed,
    information superiority, and asymmetry.
  • Example Through a combination of intelligence
    intercepts, deception measures, bad weather, and
    a dispersed airborne assault, the Allies gained
    surprise at Normandy.

  • Plans and orders should be simple and direct.
    Simple plans executed on time are better than
    detailed plans executed late.
  • Clear and concise plans cut down on
  • Example One of the reasons the Schlieffen Plan
    ran out of steam after its initial success was
    that it required too complicated a logistical
    timetable to sustain it

Facets of Operational Art
  • Synergy
  • Simultaneity and depth
  • Anticipation
  • Balance
  • Leverage
  • Timing and tempo
  • Operational reach and approach

Facets of Operational Art (cont)
  • Forces and functions
  • Arranging operations
  • Centers of gravity
  • Direct versus indirect
  • Decisive points
  • Culmination
  • Termination

Facets of Operational Art
  • Synergy
  • Seek combinations of forces and actions to
    achieve concentrations in various dimensions, all
    culminating in attaining the assigned
    objective(s) in the shortest time possible and
    with minimum casualties
  • Example Combined airborne and amphibious
    assaults at Normandy
  • Simultaneity and depth
  • Place more demands on adversary forces than can
    be handled both in terms of time and space
  • Example Forces simultaneously attacked or
    secured 27 critical objectives throughout Panama
    in Operation Just Cause

Facets of Operational Art
  • Anticipation
  • Remain alert for the unexpected and opportunities
    to exploit the situation
  • Example French and British did not anticipate
    the Germans Blitzkrieg attack through the
  • Balance
  • Maintain the force, its capabilities, and its
    operations in such a manner as to contribute to
    freedom of action and responsiveness
  • Example Superior mobility gave the US forces the
    ability to recover from the initial surprise of
    Tet and defeat the attack

Facets of Operational Art
  • Leverage
  • Gain, maintain, and exploit advantages in combat
    power across all dimensions
  • Example The US currently tries to leverage its
    superior technology and firepower. Its
    adversaries try to leverage their ability to
    effect US domestic support through inflicting
    casualties such as in Somalia.
  • Timing and tempo
  • Conduct operations at a tempo and point in time
    that best exploits friendly capabilities and
    inhibits the adversary
  • Example Desert Storm used a deliberate,
    time-consuming force build-up (Desert Shield).
    Iraqi Freedom conversely used an extremely rapid
    rolling start.

Facets of Operational Art
  • Operational reach and approach
  • The distance over which military power can mass
    effects and be employed decisively
  • Example The North Koreans exceeded their
    operational reach with their attack to Pusan
    which allowed MacArthur to sever their
    communications at Seoul.
  • Forces and functions
  • Focus on defeating either adversary forces or
    functions, or a combination of both
  • Example The air campaign in Kosovo focused on
    eliminating or neutralizing Serbian functions
    such as command and control since the inability
    to conduct a ground attack limited the option of
    focusing on Serb forces.

Facets of Operational Art
  • Arranging operations
  • Achieve dimensional superiority by a combination
    of simultaneous and sequential operations
  • Phases Deter/engage, Seize initiative, Decisive
    operations, Transition
  • Example Operation Iraqi Freedom has been highly
    criticized for a failure to properly plan Phase
  • Centers of gravity
  • Those characteristics, capabilities, or sources
    of power from which a military force derives its
    freedom of action, physical strength, or will to
  • Destroying or neutralizing adversary centers of
    gravity is the most direct path to victory
  • Example The friendly center of gravity in Desert
    Storm was the coalition so Saddam attempted to
    destroy it by such measures as launching missiles
    into Israel.

Facets of Operational Art
  • Direct versus indirect
  • To the extent possible, attack centers of gravity
    directly, but where direct attack means attacking
    into an opponents strength seek an indirect
  • Example US enemies like Osama bin Laden know
    they have no hopes of defeating the US militarily
    so they attack other targets such as the World
    Trade Center.
  • Decisive points
  • Usually geographic in nature, but can sometimes
    be key events or systems
  • Give a marked advantage to whoever controls them
  • Keys to attacking protected centers of gravity
  • Example The three bridgeheads in Operation
    Market Garden were each decisive points because
    their seizure ensured maintenance of the Allied
    momentum and initiative.

Facets of Operational Art
  • Culmination
  • Point in time and space at which an attackers
    combat power no longer exceeds that of the
  • Example Even though Meade defeated Lee at
    Gettysburg, Meade, much to Lincolns chagrin, did
    not feel he was strong enough to prevent Lees
    withdrawal back to Virginia.
  • Termination
  • Military operations typically conclude with
    attainment of the strategic ends for which the
    military force was committed, which then allows
    transition to other instruments of national power
    and agencies as the means to achieve broader
  • Example This is the current problem in Iraq.

Forms of Maneuver
  • The five forms of maneuver are the
  • envelopment,
  • turning movement,
  • infiltration,
  • penetration, and
  • frontal attack.

  • The envelopment is a form of maneuver in which an
    attacking force seeks to avoid the principal
    enemy defenses by seizing objectives to the enemy
    rear to destroy the enemy in his current
  • Envelopments avoid the enemy front, where he is
    protected and can easily concentrate fires.
  • Single envelopments maneuver against one enemy
    flank double envelopments maneuver against both.
    Either variant can develop into an encirclement.
  • Example Lee and Jackson at Chancellorsville

Turning Movement
Turning Movement
  • A turning movement is a form of maneuver in which
    the attacking force seeks to avoid the enemy's
    principal defensive positions by seizing
    objectives to the enemy rear and causing the
    enemy to move out of his current positions or
    divert major forces to meet the threat.
  • A major threat to his rear forces the enemy to
    attack or withdraw rearward, thus "turning" him
    out of his defensive positions.
  • Turning movements typically require greater depth
    than other forms of maneuver.
  • Example MacArthur at Inchon

  • An infiltration is a form of maneuver in which an
    attacking force conducts undetected movement
    through or into an area occupied by enemy forces
    to occupy a position of advantage in the enemy
    rear while exposing only small elements to enemy
    defensive fires
  • . Typically, forces infiltrate in small groups
    and reassemble to continue their mission.
  • Infiltration rarely defeats a defense by itself.
    Commanders direct infiltrations to attack lightly
    defended positions or stronger positions from the
    flank and rear, to secure key terrain to support
    the decisive operation, or to disrupt enemy
    sustaining operations.
  • Example The Viet Cong at Tet

  • A penetration is a form of maneuver in which an
    attacking force seeks to rupture enemy defenses
    on a narrow front to disrupt the defensive
  • Commanders direct penetrations when enemy flanks
    are not assailable or time does not permit
    another form of maneuver. Successful penetrations
    create assailable flanks and provide access to
    enemy rear areas.
  • Because penetrations frequently are directed into
    the front of the enemy defense, they risk
    significantly more friendly casualties than
    envelopments, turning movements, and
  • Example Grant at Cold Harbor

Frontal Attack
Frontal attack
  • The frontal attack is frequently the most costly
    form of maneuver, since it exposes the majority
    of the attackers to the concentrated fires of the
  • As the most direct form of maneuver, however, the
    frontal attack is useful for overwhelming light
    defenses, covering forces, or disorganized enemy
  • It is often the best form of maneuver for hasty
    attacks and meeting engagements, where speed and
    simplicity are essential to maintain tempo and
    the initiative.
  • Commanders may direct a frontal attack as a
    shaping operation and another form of maneuver as
    the decisive operation.
  • Example Verdun

Basic Army Elements
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Heavy Brigade
Support Battalion
Artillery Battalion
MI Company
Chemical Platoon
AD Battery
Signal Platoon
Engineer Battalion
MP Platoon
Heavy Division
Cavalry Squadron
Division Artillery
Engineer Brigade
MI Battalion
AD Battalion
Aviation Brigade
MP Company
Signal Battalion
Chemical Company
Echelons Above Divisions
  • Corps are two or more divisions
  • Armies are two or more corps

  • Strategy is the pursuit, protection, or
    advancement of national interests through the
    application of the instruments of power
  • Instruments of power (DIME)
  • Diplomatic
  • Informational
  • Military
  • Economic

  • Strategy is about how (way or concept) leadership
    will use the power (means or resources) available
    to the state to exercise control over sets of
    circumstances and geographic locations to achieve
    objectives (ends) that support state interests
  • Strategy Ends (objectives) Ways (course of
    action) Means (instruments)
  • Ways to employ means to achieve ends

The National Security Strategy of the United
States of America (2002)
  • champion aspirations for human dignity
  • strengthen alliances to defeat global terrorism
    and work to prevent attacks against us and our
  • work with others to defuse regional conflicts
  • prevent our enemies from threatening us, our
    allies, and our friends, with weapons of mass

The National Security Strategy of the United
States of America (2002)
  • ignite a new era of global economic growth
    through free markets and free trade
  • expand the circle of development by opening
    societies and building the infrastructure of
  • develop agendas for cooperative action with other
    main centers of global power and
  • transform Americas national security
    institutions to meet the challenges and
    opportunities of the twenty-first century.
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