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Maneuver Warfare Theory: Creating a Tactically Unbalanced Fleet Marine Force?

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[Technical Report, Monograph]

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The application of the maneuver warfare theory as tactical doctrine within the U. S. Marine Corps has been a contentious issue for several years. The Marines adopted this theory for its tactical doctrine in 1988. The purpose of this monograph is to examine the soundness of the theory through an analysis of its logic. The maneuver warfare theory presents an inductive logical argument. The theory takes a subject, or class, military victory in battle, and through a process of analysis provides backing assertions about some events of this class supported by proofs battles. From the assertions, the argument makes an inductive leap to a conclusion, or assertion, about all such events. The conclusion, or inductive leap, reached by the theory is that future battles are to be won through the disruption of the enemys decision cycle, through maneuver, and not through physical destruction. The backing assertions which support this conclusion are, in essence, that small forces can consistently win against larger forces using a maneuver warfare style of warfare. This style of warfare emphasizes disruption caused by fast tempo, or movement within the enemys decision cycle to disrupt his view of reality. Fighting is incidental to victory because the target is the enemys mind and not his physical destruction. The PrussianGerman army is the primary and most important proof of the maneuver warfare theory. This monograph refutes the maneuver warfare theory by demonstrating that the backing assertions and proofs are neither sound nor truthful enough to warrant me conclusion or inductive leap. The criteria, Bidwells Five Fallacies, demonstrate the unsoundness of the backing assertions. A counter-example, the methods and intent of the PrussianGerman army, refutes the proof that this army practiced a maneuver style of warfare.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]