Military%20Theory - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

View by Category
About This Presentation



... influenced Mao Zedong and subsequent writers on revolutionary warfare ... but decisive battles were elusive in the Civil War because of culmination. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:515
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 62
Provided by: oceanO8
Learn more at:


Write a Comment
User Comments (0)
Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: Military%20Theory

Military Theory
  • Lsn 2 and 3

  • Key Theorists
  • Principles of War
  • Levels of War
  • Strategy
  • Operations
  • Elements of Operational Design

Key Theorists
  • Sun Tzu
  • Jomini
  • Clausewitz
  • Mahan
  • Corbett
  • Douhet
  • Mitchell

Sun Tzu
  • Chinese military theorist circa 453-221 B.C. who
    wrote The Art of War.
  • Significantly influenced Mao Zedong and
    subsequent writers on revolutionary warfare
  • 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
  • Emphasized the role of situational awareness
  • 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
  • Championed the bloodless victory
  • One hundred victories in one hundred battles is
    not the most skillful. Seizing the enemy without
    fighting is the most skillful.

Antoine-Henri de Jomini
  • Jomini (1779-1869) was a Swiss military theorist
    who sought to interpret Napoleon
  • 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
  • Many a Civil War general went into battle with a
    sword in one hand and Jominis Summary of the Art
    of War in the other (General J. D. Hittle)

Antoine-Henri de Jomini
  • As a product of the Enlightenment, Jomini sought
    natural laws to govern the conduct of war
  • Developed a very geometrical and scientific
    approach to war
  • Stressed the principle of concentration, the
    strategic value of interior lines, and the close
    relationship between logistics and combat
  • Interior lines are those adopted by one or two
    armies to oppose several hostile bodies, and
    having such a direction that the general can
    concentrate the masses and maneuver with his
    whole force in a shorter period of time than it
    would require for the enemy to oppose them a
    greater force.

Interior Lines
  • The benefits of interior lines could be gained
    either by central position or superior lateral

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

Carl von Clausewitz
  • 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.

Carl von Clausewitz
  • 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

Carl von Clausewitz
  • 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 (the
    fog of war)
  • Argued one should focus his military efforts
    against the enemys center of gravity
  • Very important concept in modern American
    military doctrine

Albert Thayer Mahan
  • US naval officer who lived from 1840 to 1914
  • Wrote The Influence of Sea Power Upon History,
    1660-1783 and The Influence of Sea Power upon the
    French Revolution and Empire, 1793-1812
  • Considered sea power to include the overlapping
    concepts of command of the sea through naval
    superiority and that combination of maritime
    commerce, overseas possessions, and privileged
    access to foreign markets that produces national
    wealth and greatness

Albert Thayer Mahan
  • Advocated
  • that overbearing power on the sea which drives
    the enemys flag from it, or allows it to appear
    only as a fugitive
  • (1) Production (2) Shipping (3) Colonies and
    Markets in a word, sea power
  • Thought the Navy should be used offensively and
    that its principle object should be destruction
    of the enemys fleet
  • Destroying the enemys battle fleet would in turn
    cause his merchant fleet to find the sea
  • To be effective, the fleet should not be divided
    and should be autonomous

Albert Thayer Mahan
  • Saw the Navys economic strangulation of France
    by blockade as the key to Britains defeat of
  • It was not by attempting great military
    operations on land, but by controlling the sea,
    and through the sea the world outside Europe,
    that the British ensured the triumph of their
  • Critics argue that Mahan confused a necessary or
    important cause with the sufficient cause
  • The British Navy was important, but the Army and
    diplomacy also played key roles

Albert Thayer Mahan
  • Considered the navy to be a better instrument of
    national policy than the army
  • This was especially true for the United States
    which had neither the tradition nor the design
    to act aggressively beyond the seas, but at the
    same time had very important transmarine
    interests which need protection
  • Increasingly became an imperialist in order to
    gain control of the resources the US needed to
    best use its naval power

Julian Corbett
  • Mahans British contemporary and chief competitor
    as a naval theorist
  • Corbett stressed the limitations as well as the
    importance of naval power
  • He emphasized coordination between land and naval
    strategy rather than independent naval action
  • He rejected the invariable dominance of the
    offensive and focused on the dynamic relationship
    between the offensive and the defensive at sea

Julian Corbett
  • Although originally much less well-known than
    Mahan, Corbett gained increased prominence in
    post-Cold War American naval thought
  • Ideas became more relevant in an era in which the
    US Navy has no peer competitor and conducts more
    littoral operations than blue-water
    fleet-to-fleet actions

Giulio Douhet
  • Italian air power theorist who lived from 1869 to
  • Saw air power as a way for Italy to overcome its
    inherent weaknesses in manpower and natural
  • But to become the dominant weapon it could be,
    aircraft had to be freed from the control of
    ground commanders who did not understand the new
  • Advocated the creation of a separate air arm to
    be commanded by airmen

Giulio Douhet
  • Wrote Rules for the Use of Airplanes in War in
    1912 but met resistance from his superiors who
    forced him to change references to the airplane
    as a weapon and instead consider it only a
    device to support the ground forces
  • Advocated the production of bombers
  • Soon became known as a radical and his methods
    for advancing the cause of airpower often worked
    at cross-purposes with his goals
  • His criticism of Italys conduct in World War I
    got him arrested and court martialed
  • In 1920 the verdict was overturned and Douhet was
    promoted to general, but instead of returning to
    active duty he focused on writing

Giulio Douhet
  • Douhets argument was that airpower added a third
    dimension that revolutionized warfare by granting
    new flexibility and initiative
  • The speed of aircraft and the vastness of the sky
    equaled offensive power
  • Considered airpower to be supreme
  • Without control of the air, all operations land,
    sea, even air were doomed
  • The appropriate target was not the enemys planes
    in the air but their airfields and air industry
    on the ground

Giulio Douhet
  • Saw airpower as being able to crush the enemys
    will to fight by destroying or neutralizing a
    countrys vital centers those elements of
    society, government, and industry essential to
    the functioning of the state
  • It could do so without the need for the bloody
    commitment of ground forces that had made World
    War I so costly

Giulio Douhet
  • Douhet recognized the importance of targeting
  • Aircraft could strike virtually anything but in
    order to be most forceful they should not attempt
    to strike everything
  • Instead, focus on the five basic target systems
    that Douhet considered the vital centers of a
    modern country
  • Industry, transportation infrastructure,
    communication nodes, and the will of the people
  • The will of the people was the most important
  • Douhet did not advocate aircraft attacking or
    supporting ground forces airpower was to be used
    strategically, not tactically

Billy Mitchell
  • Building on his World War I experience and
    relationships with British air marshal Sir Hugh
    Trenchard and, to a lesser extent, Douhet,
    Mitchell (1879-1936) led the American charge for
    air force autonomy
  • Viewed independent air operations, such as
    strategic bombing, as more lucrative than simply
    supporting land or sea forces

Billy Mitchell
  • Argued that bombers could win wars by destroying
    an enemys war-making capability and will to
    fight, and that in so doing could yield a victory
    that was quicker and cheaper than one obtained by
    surface forces
  • The key to obtaining victory through airpower lay
    in establishing an autonomous air force, free of
    control by surface commanders and led by airmen
    possessing special expertise
  • Began calling for a separate air force in 1919

Billy Mitchell
  • Believed airpower could wreck an enemys will to
    fight by destroying his capability to resist and
    that capability was not the army or the navy but
    the nations industrial and agricultural base
  • Eliminating industrial production would deprive
    armies, air forces and navies of their means of
  • Did not necessarily want to attack civilians
    directly but to sever the population from the
    sources of production
  • Considered civilian will to be very fragile

Billy Mitchell
  • Mitchells personality did not help him
  • Boundless ego, extremely driven, short of temper
  • Mitchell tried to convert his opponents by
    killing them first. (Hugh Trenchard)
  • Mitchell took his case to the American people
    with many of his writings appearing in popular
    magazines rather than military professional
  • Did not favor aircraft carriers, because, among
    other things, they represented naval air
    self-sufficiency which threatened his vision for
    a separate air force

Billy Mitchell
  • Mitchells vehemence toward the military
    bureaucracy reached a peak on Sept 5, 1925 when
    he blamed the crash of the Navy dirigible
    Shenandoah on the in competency, criminal
    negligence, and almost treasonable administration
    of the National Defense by the Navy and War
  • Two weeks later President Coolidge himself
    proffered court martial charges against Mitchell
  • He was found guilty on Dec 17 and retired from
    the service Feb 1, 1926
  • Mitchells message was carried on by more
    diplomatic advocates such as Hap Arnold and the
    Air Force became a separate branch of the US
    military in 1947

Principles of War
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 The Emancipation Proclamation changed
    the Federal objective of the war from merely
    restoring the Union to also ending slavery.

  • 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 Lees two invasions of northern
    territory represent offensive strategies.

  • 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 Grant had a huge advantage in mass over
    Lee toward the end of the war.

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 The South decided to make the west an
    economy of force theater in spite of the
    arguments of the Confederate Western
    Concentration Bloc (Beauregard, Longstreet, et al)

  • 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 Chancellorsville represents the classic
    envelopment while Fredericksburg and Picketts
    Charge shows the costliness of the frontal attack.

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 Grant and Porter cooperated as an
    army-navy team at Vicksburg.

  • 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
  • Example Fears for the security of Washington
    influenced Lincolns decision-making during the
    Peninsula Campaign.

  • 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 Shermans March to the Sea put the
    Confederates on the horns of a dilemma because
    Shermans true destination was unknown.

  • 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 Grants orders to Sherman in the Atlanta
    Campaign are classic in their simplicity and

Levels of War
  • Strategic
  • Operational
  • Tactical

Levels of War
  • Strategic
  • Level at which a nation, often as a member of a
    group of nations, determines national or
    multinational strategic security objectives and
    guidance, and develops and uses national
    resources to accomplish these objectives

Example The Allies Strategic Objective for
Europe in World War II
  • Combined Chiefs directed Eisenhower to enter the
    continent of Europe and, in conjunction with
    other Allied nations, undertake operations aimed
    at the heart of Germany and the destruction of
    her armed forces

Levels of War
  • Operational
  • Level at which campaigns and major operations are
    conducted and sustained to accomplish strategic
    objectives within theaters or areas of operation
  • Link tactics and strategy

Example Eisenhowers Operational Objective at
  • Secure a foothold on the continent of Europe from
    which to support offensive operations against

Levels of War
  • Tactical
  • Level at which battles and engagements are
    planned and executed to accomplish military
    objectives assigned to tactical units or task

Example Tactical Objectives of the Airborne
Forces on D-Day
  • Secure exits from the beaches to allow the
    amphibious forces to move inland
  • Block German counterattack routes to protect
    amphibious forces

  • 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

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.

  • 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

StrategyConfederates at Vicksburg
  • End
  • Deny Federal use of the Mississippi River
  • Way
  • Interdict river traffic at Vicksburg
  • Mean
  • Pembertons force at Vicksburg

Traditional Military Strategies
  • Attrition
  • The reduction of the effectiveness of a force
    caused by loss of personnel and materiel
  • Exhaustion
  • The gradual erosion of a nations will or means
    to resist
  • Annihilation
  • Seeks the immediate destruction of the combat
    power of the enemys armed forces

  • Campaigns are the operational extension of the
    commanders strategy
  • They are a series of related military operations
    aimed at accomplishing a strategic or operational
    objective within a given time and space
  • Campaigns should be planned to adhere to the
    elements of operational design

Elements of Operational Design
Elements of Operational Design
  • Synergy
  • Simultaneity and depth
  • Anticipation
  • Balance
  • Leverage
  • Timing and tempo
  • Operational reach and approach

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

Elements of Operational Design (cont)
  • 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 Jacksons Shenandoah Valley Campaign
    relieved pressure on Lee outside of Richmond.
  • Simultaneity and depth
  • Place more demands on adversary forces than can
    be handled both in terms of time and space
  • Example It was not until the end of the Civil
    War that Grant brought a grand strategy to the
    Federal effort that pressured the Confederacy and
    Lee simultaneously from all directions.

Elements of Operational Design (cont)
  • Anticipation
  • Remain alert for the unexpected and opportunities
    to exploit the situation
  • Example Grant failed to anticipate the
    Confederate attack at Shiloh and was surprised
    and defeated the first day.
  • Balance
  • Maintain the force, its capabilities, and its
    operations in such a manner as to contribute to
    freedom of action and responsiveness
  • Example Trying to defend its entire territory
    proved impossible for the Confederacy and led it
    to develop an offensive-defensive strategy.

Elements of Operational Design (cont)
  • Leverage
  • Gain, maintain, and exploit advantages in combat
    power across all dimensions
  • Example Grants numerical advantage allowed him
    to maintain constant pressure on Lee in
  • Timing and tempo
  • Conduct operations at a tempo and point in time
    that best exploits friendly capabilities and
    inhibits the adversary
  • Example The speed of Shermans March to the Sea
    thwarted any meaningful resistance.

Elements of Operational Design (cont)
  • Operational reach and approach
  • The distance over which military power can mass
    effects and be employed decisively
  • Example The superior Federal Navy allowed the
    North to blockade the South.
  • Forces and functions
  • Focus on defeating either adversary forces or
    functions, or a combination of both
  • Example Shermans March to the Sea targeted
    Confederate functions of war-making ability and
    will at the same time Grants Overland Campaign
    targeted Lees forces.

Elements of Operational Design (cont)
  • Arranging operations
  • Achieve dimensional superiority by a combination
    of simultaneous and sequential operations
  • Phases Deter/engage, Seize initiative, Decisive
    operations, Transition
  • Example Grants preliminary attempts, his
    maneuver, his assaults on Vicksburg, and
    ultimately the siege combined to produce a
    logical line of operation.
  • 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 McClellan fought as if Richmond was the
    Confederate center of gravity rather than Lees

Elements of Operational Design (cont)
  • 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 Longstreet unsuccessfully tried to
    convince Lee to threaten Washington or Baltimore
    by a turning movement rather than continuing the
    offensive at Gettysburg.
  • 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 By securing the flank at Little Round
    Top, Chamberlain saved day for the Federals at

Elements of Operational Design (cont)
  • Culmination
  • Point in time and space at which an attackers
    combat power no longer exceeds that of the
    defender or the defender no longer can preserve
    his force
  • Example Lincoln was very frustrated that Meade
    did not pursue Lee after Gettysburg but decisive
    battles were elusive in the Civil War because of
  • 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 The end of the Civil War led to

  • The employment and ordered arrangement of forces
    in relation to each other
  • Technology has a big impact on tactics such as
    with the advent of the rifle, steam-powered
    ships, or the helicopter

  • US Military Doctrine