Accession Number:



Time and the Paradigm of Operational Art - Authority and Responsibility of the Operational Artist in the Political Military Discourse

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2016,25 May 2017

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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In the last few decades and within nearly all campaigns and operations of Western forces after World War II, the main goal of political decision-maker and military planner has been the ability to maintain public support. In Western democracies, public support of the majority is an expression of an agreement with the actions of the government. To create this agreement, the political aim for the action and the respective war-narrative for its explanation have to be sound. Time becomes the essential factor for politicians and the military in achieving the desired results and aim while limiting the costs. However, matching the ends with the available means in a certain way is the major theme of the contemporary doctrinal understanding of operational art in achieving the political aim. The monograph introduces time as another major factor that expands the existing paradigm of ends, ways, and means. Because of the different meaning of time in an absolute war for final victory than in a limited war for limited aim, time becomes the essential factor for assessing and evaluating the relationship between political aim, war-narrative, and available means. The monograph applies two case studies the US engagement in World War II and the US engagement in Vietnam to compare and contrast the meaning of time in an absolute war for final victory and a limited war for limited aim. The lenses of political aim, war-narrative, and time are the methodological framework of the case studies. The relationship of political aim, war-narrative, and time illustrates the importance of the factor time within the realm of the political-military discourse. Time is less relevant in an absolute war, because the final victory in destroying the threat of a nations survival is vital. On the contrary, in a limited war, where the survival of a nation is not at stake, time is predominant. Is the achievement of intereststhe limited objectives worth the costs

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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