Accession Number:



Complexity and Design Leadership: The Design of Active Defense and AirLand Battle Doctrines

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2018,31 May 2019

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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After the Vietnam War, the US Army faced a complex adaptive problem. Plagued with ebbing confidence after failing to secure a victory in Vietnam, low readiness levels due to personnel cutbacks and lagging modernization, and a waning budget necessitated by the economy and receding popular support for the military, the US Army was at a crisis point. At the same time, in Europe, NATO forces faced a credible Warsaw Pact threat invigorated by nuclear parity, an aggressive modernization program, and superior numbers of personnel. To reinvigorate the US Army and present a credible deterrence against the Warsaw Pact forces, Army Leaders embarked on a doctrinal transformation that began with Active Defense and ended with AirLand Battle. As the Army undergoes a similar doctrinal transformation to adopt Multi-Domain Operations, it is important to recognize that a doctrines adoption and longevity not only depend on its ability to solve the problems at hand, but also its reception by the community it serves. It is therefore prudent to analyze and compare the leadership of Generals William DePuy and Donn Starry in developing the doctrines they produced.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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