Center of Gravity: Is the Concept Still Relevant
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This monograph addresses the usefulness of the concept of centers of gravity as a planning tool. The concept of center of gravity has been integral to the planning of military operations since its initial description by Clausewitz. It had been described in other ways before Clausewitz and has been interpreted in numerous ways by theorists since. Today, the concept is at the forefront of United States military doctrine. However, the concept of centers of gravity is also a source of great confusion to todays military planners. The question of the usefulness of the concept of center of gravity is very relevant to todays military. The Army is currently writing new operational doctrine with centers of gravity as a key component. The military as a whole is continuing to strive towards jointness but service doctrine differs greatly regarding centers of gravity. There is an absence of common understanding among the professional officer corps on the subject. These factors make it clear that the subject is in need of clarification and evaluation in terms of its usefulness as a planning tool. This monograph argues that the concept of centers of gravity is not useful in its current state. It is not commonly understood by military planners. It is also not clearly defined in joint and service doctrine. However, this monograph also demonstrates the immense value of the concept to military planners when it is clearly defined and commonly understood. Finally, the monograph provides a proposed solution that demonstrates the fact that, when clearly defined and commonly understood, the concept is a useful tool to military planners.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics