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Policy and War: Bellum in Belli

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Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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How do operational artists understand and use national policy to develop and nest strategy by effectively using military capabilities in the contemporary operating environment Operational artists must understand national policy as they plan and prepare military operations within an overall strategy to ensure political aims are properly achieved. This is important as a states blood and treasure is expended to pursue its policy. A strategy that does not support the directed policy not only wastes these important resources but creates additional problems for the policymaker. Effective strategy is more critical in wars of limited aims which have come to define conflict since the advent of nuclear weapons. Carl von Clausewitz teaches us powerful motivations in war more closely coincide the political and military aim. The relationship of policy and strategy and its direction of war is critical for the operational artist to understand. This monograph uses the comparative case study methodology demonstrating how operational artists develop strategy for accomplishing policy aims. Evidence is captured in the performances of ADM Chester Nimitz commanding in the Pacific during World War II and GEN Douglas MacArthur in the Korean War. The criteria used to evaluate the case studies to test the hypothesis include first the role and location of negotiation between the operational artist and the policymaker second, the authority of the operational artist to define the military aim through negotiation to determine the means for achieving the aim and to assign time, space, force, and purpose to the means and finally, the responsibility of the operational artist for the accomplishment of the aim. The case studies demonstrate the difference between policy and strategy in wars with an absolute political aim as in the Second World War, and especially in the post-1945 era exemplified by the limited aims and limited means of the Korean War.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Government and Political Science

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