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Searching for Order Within Chaos: Complexity Theorys Implications to Intelligence Support During Joint Operational Planning

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Technical Report

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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Clausewitz uses the analogy of an object balanced between three magnets to describe the balance of war between the dominant tendencies within the paradoxical trinity. In effect, Clausewitzs trinity describes war as a nonlinear phenomenon. Thus, one is able to consider warfare as a dynamical system with the implication it is unpredictable. As a dynamical system that exhibits emergence, adaptability, and self-organization warfare is well suited to be analyzed as a complex adaptive system. In the effort to understand complex systems, Chaos and Complexity Theories have been developed. As Complexity Theory subsumes Chaos Theory, Complexity Theory techniques have been evaluated to identify potential utilization during joint intelligence analysis. Although joint intelligence analysis describes analyzing systems from a holistic systems perspective, most analytic techniques are reductionist in nature. Complexity Theory engenders a holistic view with the consideration that the sum of a complex adaptive system is greater than the sum of the parts. With this in mind, Complexity Theory has been analyzed to identify concepts and techniques that would benefit the joint intelligence analyst during joint operational planning.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Military Intelligence

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