Accession Number : ADA523742


Title :   Clausewitz's Center of Gravity: It's Not What We Thought


Descriptive Note : Journal article


Corporate Author : NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI


Personal Author(s) : Echevarria, II, Antulio J


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a523742.pdf


Report Date : Jan 2003


Pagination or Media Count : 17


Abstract : Over the last two decades, the U.S. military has struggled to understand the center of gravity concept as developed by Carl von Clausewitz and to find practical ways to apply it. In the process, however, each of the services-shaped as they are by different roles, histories, and traditions-has brought individual perspectives to Clausewitz's expression and redefined it in its respective image. Thus, the U.S. Marine Corps, a relatively small force designed more for winning battles than fighting campaigns or wars, prefers to strike at enemy weaknesses. Accordingly, it initially equated enemy centers of gravity (CoGs) with key vulnerabilities. Recently, however, Marine Corps doctrine has distinguished between CoGs and critical vulnerabilities, considering them different but complementary concepts; CoGs, for the Marines, are now any important sources of strength. By comparison, the U.S. Air Force, which takes a targeting approach to warfare, sees centers of gravity as multiple strategic and operational critical points that it can attack with its bombing assets. Airpower theorists like John Warden, with his notion of concentric rings, have in fact identified so many CoGs as to reduce the concept to absurdity.


Descriptors :   *AIR FORCE OPERATIONS , *CENTER OF GRAVITY , TARGETING , BOMBING , MARINE CORPS PERSONNEL , BATTLES , VULNERABILITY , MILITARY DOCTRINE , ENEMY


Subject Categories : Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE