Accession Number : ADA617003


Title :   Cutting Off the Head of the Snake: Applying and Assessing Leadership Attack in Military Conflict


Corporate Author : AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES


Personal Author(s) : Hinote, S C


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a617003.pdf


Report Date : 26 Apr 2013


Pagination or Media Count : 526


Abstract : This study examines a compelling phenomenon in modern conflict. Leaders are being attacked and their leadership is being disrupted at what appears to be an unprecedented rate. Because of this, military decision makers and planners need to know if attacking leadership is an effective strategy. There are numerous and divergent opinions on this subject. This study s purpose is to answer the research question: when, if ever, is it advisable to attack adversary leadership in times of military conflict? The study differentiates between attacking leadership and the killing or capturing of enemy leaders, commonly called decapitation. Leadership attack is broader than decapitation, as it encompasses additional actions that disrupt the process of leadership within the adversary organization. These include destroying command centers and communication nodes or undermining the adversary leader through psychological attack. The study employs the qualitative research methodology of systematic process analysis to test two competing theories of leadership attack. The primary theory is drawn from the writings of John Warden and J.F.C Fuller, and the competing theory is developed within the study to offer an alternative perspective when considering the historical evidence.


Descriptors :   *MILITARY STRATEGY , ATTACK , DECISION MAKING , ENEMY , IRAQ , IRAQI WAR , LEADERSHIP , METHODOLOGY , MILITARY ART , MILITARY HISTORY , PERSIAN GULF WAR


Subject Categories : Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE