Accession Number:



Decisions Based on Experience in the Absence of Doctrine: The Risk with Allied Partners

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



General Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded one of the largest multinational amphibious operations during World War Two, Operation Overlord. While Eisenhower identified operational risks, there were also unknown risks that came from conducting the operation with allies. General Norman Schwarzkopf, faced a similar situation of competing risks for Operation Desert Storm. Schwarzkopf had amassed a coalition of thirty-three allies, and needed to weigh the risk of the alliance against the many dangers of Iraq, including the use of tactical ballistic missiles. To add to Schwarzkopfs challenges, he faced the risk of the alliance dissolving with the threat of Israels entrance into the war against Iraq. Commanders must identify and assess risk for all operations. However, during multinational operations, the US Army and joint doctrine are silent in their discussion of how to assess and mitigate risk for operations involving allied partners. Therefore, a commander must identify, assess, and mitigate risk another way when including allies as part of a multinational operation. By examining Operations Overlord and Desert Storm through a methodology of structured focused comparison, this study examined how these two commanders understood coalition risk, and what steps they took to mitigate it. It examined the relationship between education and experiences that shaped their ability to influence the planning of their operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement: