Accession Number:



Reading the President's Mind: Interpreting National Intent from Patterns and Landmarks, 1987-1996.

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018

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US Army School of Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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This monograph identifies signals of national intent during military planning. In times of crisis, national policy is a moving target, especially for military planners trying to anticipate policy and align operations with it. Fortunately, when it comes to committing Americas ground forces, there have been observable patterns and useful landmarks on the road-to-war in Panama 1989, the Gulf War 1991, Haiti 1994, and Bosnia 1995. Patterns and landmarks enable planners to interpret what the President wants the military to do and when by providing termination criteria and timeline guidance. The crisis-response pattern of crisis, political response, military planning response, and catalyst, depicts US prerequisites for war. Landmarks like United Nations resolutions, presidential elections, treaties and national agreements, rise above the noise of the hyper-information environment and clarify real policy. Speeches from NCA figures are not reliable landmarks. Politically astute officers, in cooperation with interagency partners and legal counsel, are best suited to identify patterns and landmarks that clarify national intent.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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