Accession Number : ADA562435


Title :   From Methodical Battle to Shock and Awe: How to Guard Against the Next Great Idea


Descriptive Note : Master's thesis


Corporate Author : NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV NORFOLK VA JOINT ADVANCED WARFIGHTING SCHOOL


Personal Author(s) : Yancy, Scott D


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a562435.pdf


Report Date : 11 May 2012


Pagination or Media Count : 109


Abstract : The Shock and Awe campaign that brilliantly launched Operation Iraqi Freedom ended with a thud as a right-sized invasion force proved too small to be an effective stability force once it removed Saddam Hussein from power. The Iraqi War highlights the latest example of a senior leader dogmatically advocating the use of an inappropriate doctrine or unproven concept in war. This thesis explores the reasons why this occurs, specifically how mental traps expose senior leaders to decision making errors during war planning and strategy development. The thesis uses the case study method to evaluate such errors in four conflicts. The case studies involve the French Army in World War II (Methodical Battle); U.S. Army in Vietnam (Search and Destroy); U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II (High Altitude Precision Daylight Bombing); and the U.S. Army in the Second Iraq War (Rapid Dominance). The thesis analyzes the propensity of military and political leaders to succumb to individual and group cognitive biases, thereby limiting their objectivity and causing them to support inappropriate doctrine or unproven concepts that lead to a failure to meet national or military objectives. The analysis illustrates how cognitive errors can lead to rigid thinking and a blurring of doctrine, dogma, and concept. This suggests that adaptability, an awareness of cognitive biases, and in-depth understanding of doctrine is paramount for success in the complex, strategic environment. Recommendations focus on institutionalizing organizational adaptability, increasing individual mental flexibility, and reinforcing the primary role of doctrine in war planning and strategy development.


Descriptors :   *BIAS , *COGNITION , *DECISION MAKING , *LEADERSHIP , *MILITARY DOCTRINE , *MILITARY PLANNING , *MILITARY STRATEGY , ARMY , CASE STUDIES , ERRORS , FRANCE , HIGH ALTITUDE BOMBING , IRAQI WAR , MENTAL ABILITY , MILITARY FORCES(FOREIGN) , MILITARY HISTORY , PRECISION BOMBING , SECOND WORLD WAR , THESES , VIETNAM WAR


Subject Categories : Humanities and History
      Psychology
      Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE