Accession Number:



Consolidating Gains in Large-Scale Combat Operations: A Theoretical Framework for Operational Planners

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Field Manual FM 3-0 addresses consolidation of gains mostly at the tactical level for large-scale combat operations, providing frameworks for corps and division level formations. There is currently a gap in FM 3-0 and Army doctrine for how the Army will link tactical success to achieving strategic aims through the operational level of war. Field Manual 3-0 states that, the theater army has the most significant role in planning, coordination, and allocation of resources. However, it does not provide the necessary framework that enables the operational level planner to plan for consolidation of gains that link tactical success to strategic aims. This study will attempt to close the doctrinal gap and develop a framework for the operational level planner for consolidation of gains at the operational level. In synthesizing the material from the research on consolidating gains, six themes emerge. The first theme that emerges is that politics and war are intertwined and cannot be separate. Politics provide the purpose for war therefore, political leaders must provide the desired political end state. The second theme is that consolidating gains are decisive to the long-term success of the political goal following conflict. Third, despite consolidation of gains being decisive, political leaders and military planners fail to account for consolidating gains prior to the start of conflict. The fourth theme is that when consolidation of gains is planned for, they must be accounted for before, during, and after the conflict. The fifth theme is enemy forces must be defeated to a state that they can no longer produce the means to resist. Lastly, military governance is a viable solution for consolidating gains at the operational and strategic levels to ensure decisive and long-term success after conflict. The proposed theoretical framework developed will assist operational planners in consolidating tactical success into achieving strategic aims.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]