Councils and Communication: Washington's Decision Making Process at the Strategic Crossroads of 1777
Technical Report,25 Jun 2018,23 May 2019
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
Pagination or Media Count:
Following a significant setback during the Philadelphia Campaign in September of 1777, General George Washington and senior political leaders had to decide whether to pursue an offensive winter campaign or forego any immediate attempt to regain the initiative by encamping nearby. The British occupied the capital, and the army could not arrange a decisive battle as the winter season approached. Washington was at an operational crossroads which required political and military discourse to determine how to progress. As the political actors deliberated on options, Washington met with his council of war to develop contingency plans to support the political objectives. Washington and the Second Continental Congress decided to forego an offensive winter campaign in 1777 for the opportunity to reconsolidate and train at Valley Forge. The decision came after deliberately considering the interrelated ties of local and national politics with the capability of the Continental Army to carry out viable options as contingency plans. Washingtons decision-making process and civil-military exchanges in the fall of 1777 provides a framework for analyzing modern theories on civil-military relations. Overlaying Washingtons interactions with political and military leaders reveals underlying roots to the contrasting viewpoints of contemporary theorists, Samuel Huntington and Peter Feaver.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics