Accession Number:



A Brief History of Operational Art in US Army Doctrine

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Many consider Operation Desert Storm to be the pinnacle achievement of the US military. While there are many reasons for the coalitions success, a key component was the application of operational art in the design of the campaign. However, operational art as a concept did not exist in US military doctrine at the end of the Vietnam War. That is what this study seeks to answer how did the concept of operational art come about in US military doctrine, and how has it evolved from its inception in the 1980s through today Using five research questions, this study answers a single hypothesis, if the US military faces the threat of large-scale combat operations against a peer adversary, then it needs operational art to develop and execute campaigns that achieve the political objectives using available resources. The empirical evidence and analysis of this study support the thesis that in the current operating environment, with the threat of large-scale combat operations against a peer threat, the concept of operational art will be critical to the successful conduct of future US military operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]