Accession Number : AD1001370

Title :   Operational Initiative in Theory and Doctrine

Descriptive Note : Technical Report,01 Jun 2014,01 May 2015

Corporate Author : US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth

Personal Author(s) : Fleischmann, Ian W

Full Text :

Report Date : 21 May 2015

Pagination or Media Count : 59

Abstract : Every soldier wants the initiative, but few can define what that really means. What is the initiative and how can it be seized and retained? Despite its prominence in centuries of military theory and role as a foundational attribute of the US Army operating concept since 1982, the definition of operational initiative remains vague. Furthermore, the lack of clarity on this topic blurs the lines between operational initiative and individual initiative, or the willingness of individuals to act in a given situation. A clear definition of operational initiative is necessary to prevent this critical concept from devolving to a trite military clich. An analysis of dominant military theory and US Army doctrine reveals that initiative is a persistent phenomenon of warfare in which one belligerent holds and presses an advantage against the other. Operational initiative is therefore a form of control over adversaries and the environment, generated by pursuit of a positive aim, anticipation of future conditions, and relative freedom of action. This definition is clear, succinct, and consistent with the concept's use in military theory and throughout the history of US Army doctrine.

Descriptors :   military history , doctrine , military operations , military strategy , theory , warfare

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE