The Concept of Center of Gravity: Does it Have Utility in Joint Doctrine and Campaign Planning?
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Over the years, there has been debate within the services about whether Clausewitzs theories should be used as a basis for modern warfighting doctrine. The majority of debate has focused on the specific issue of whether Clausewitzs most well known theory--the concept of center of gravity--should be used as a key element of service doctrine and a guiding concept in the campaign planning process. Although debate on the issue has waned, two recent occurrences warrant that the issue be once again examined. First of all, the theory of center of gravity is now being used as a basis for joint doctrine and has been given a preeminent role in the joint campaign planning process. Secondly, the Persian Gulf war has provided an excellent opportunity to examine the use of the concept in an actual combat situation. This study assesses the utility of using the concept of center of gravity in joint operations. It assumes that in order for a warfighting concept to be useful, it is necessary that the concept can be unequivocally defined, clearly understood, and consensually applied. This study evaluates if the joint doctrinal explanation of the concept of center of gravity meets these criteria. The study examines the Clausewitzian, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and joint interpretations of the concept of center of gravity. Next, it describes how the concept was used during the Gulf War. It then analyzes this information to determine if current joint doctrine successfully reconciles the different service interpretations of the concept of center of gravity. It also compares current Joint doctrine to the actual use of the concept in the Persian Gulf war.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics