Re-Understanding End States
Technical Report,01 Jun 2018,31 May 2019
US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States
Pagination or Media Count:
Tactical understanding of the term end state can be inadequate and inaccurate when used to describe operational and strategic aims and objectives. These aims are less about ends and specific momentary conditions and more about transitions, building potential and maintaining positions of positive advantage. Therefore, military leaders transitioning from tactical execution to operational and strategic planning must divest themselves of their tactical understanding of end states and adopt a more fluid and transitionally-focused view. This study conducted a structured, focused comparison of Operation Desert Storm in Iraq from 1990 to 1991, Operation Restore Hope in Somalia from 1992 to 1993, and the Canadian operations in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014. Four research questions were asked of each case relating to national strategic aims, military end states, the adjustments made to both, and if their flexibility led to positions of positive advantage. The case studies showed that there are several interpretations of terminology to describe operational and strategic goals. Furthermore, success came less from flexibly written strategic aims or military end state conditions and more from flexible leadership and transitional planning when creating those aims and end states. The theories and empirical evidence examined supported this monographs thesis that clear strategic aims combined with flexibly planned military end state conditions will better maintain positions of positive advantage than the use of rigid military end states that are focused on momentary success.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics