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HOKA HEY! The Unattainable End State and the Limits of Operational Art

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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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Following the Civil War, the US government renewed efforts to expand west. On the Northern Plains, its efforts met Native American resistance, most notably, from the Lakota Sioux. Two Native American leaders transcended tribal boundaries and emerged to coordinate Native American actions attempting to maintain their hegemony in the region. From 1866 to 1868, Red Cloud successfully orchestrated a campaign to close the Bozeman Trail. Red Clouds War ended with the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, with the US government acquiescing to the Native American demands. Red Clouds war demonstrates the only substantive operational and strategic victory of Native Americans against Westward expansion. In 1876, Sitting Bull rose to direct efforts against a new influx of encroachment into the unceded Indian territory outlined in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. Sitting Bull delivered a string of tactical victories culminating in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, but failed to link tactical success to operational and strategic objectives. By mid-1877, the US Army defeated Lakota resistance on the Northern Plains and the Great Sioux War ended. Analyzing Lakota actions during the wars illustrates the presence of effective and ineffective operational art in a culture unfamiliar with the concept and demonstrates the importance of deriving end states while accounting for strategic context.

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  • Humanities and History

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