Accession Number:



Design Doctrine In Military Planning

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

Joint Military Operations Department, Naval War College Newport United States

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Systemic methods of operational Design have become a trend in the planning community since their introduction in the mid 2000s. Design offers an approach to generating a shared situational understanding necessary to plan military operations in a complex world. Design methods provide a resource for commanders and planners alike to comprehend and solve wicked problems in an era of non-linear and irregular threats. However, systemic Design is not without its problems. Most critically, the over , simplification of Designs doctrinal practice derived from its theory limits its usefulness at the operational and tactical levels of war. Current DOD doctrine does a disservice to the joint force by misrepresenting what Design is, and prescribing its use where it may be unnecessary. This paper will trace the roots of Designs theory into its subsequent doctrine, and study several competing treatments of the concept in service publications. Then it will examine Design doctrine in comparison to standard mission analysis practices, and determine where Design-based methods are best used across the levels of war and the conflict continuum. Understanding Designs redundancies and limitations may help to guide its future use by recommending a combination of problem framing and mission analysis in the JOPP, as well as a new publication that gives Design theory its own treatment. This will allow Designs systemic and analytical nature to overcome the reductive methods prescribed in current doctrine. The implications of a coherent joint Design doctrine will provide a more nuanced, yet user-friendly conceptual treatment that can be applied to future military problems.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Administration and Management

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