The State of Knowledge on the Determinants of Offensiveness and Defensiveness in Conventional Ground Forces
INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA
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The paper surveys the military theoretical literature to establish the current state of knowledge with respect to the determinants of offensiveness and defensiveness in conventional land forces. It is intended in part as a resource to researchers, and as a source of background knowledge to policy makers. It is also meant to serve as a point of departure for further work to advance the state of knowledge described in the paper, and thereby to contribute to an improved basis for policy making on issues of conventional arms control, conventional force planning and alliance strategy. The paper reviews the work of the classical military theorists -- Clausewitz, Jomini and Sun Tzu the twentieth century theorists J.F.C. Fuller and Basil Liddell Hart Lanchester theory and modern operations research political science scholarship on the offense-defense balance and insights from the conventional arms control, conventional balance and non-provocative defense debates. The paper concludes that while this literature fails as yet to provide a coherent, systematic body of theory, it is nevertheless rich in insight and thus constitutes a valuable heuristic device for the construction of more rigorous theory.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics