War Termination: We Can Plan Better
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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War termination presents a complex challenge to the combatant commander and his operational planners. The combatant commander is responsible for establishing the conditions for a better peace through war termination by translating military success into political victory. The strategies for war termination that are most likely to produce a better, more stable or enduring peace are characterized by clearly stated objectives, significant planning, negotiation leverage and a reliable means to enforce the peace. Such was the case in World War II when the allies clearly articulated their objective of unconditional surrender in both the European Theater and the Pacific Theater. The objective of unconditional surrender was supported by considerable planning that took into account the necessary leverage and means to enforce the peace. Without significant planning or consideration for the war termination phase it becomes difficult for the combatant commander to determine how far to go militarily to achieve political objectives. Consequently, the combatant commander increases the risk of going beyond the culminating point of victory or stopping short of that point resulting in the loss of valuable leverage for negotiations. The lack of leverage will reduce what the national leadership is able to demand politically in peace negotiations leading to a peace that is less enforceable. To best establish conditions of leverage and enforceability in operational plans, the planning staff must develop war termination criteria. The Korean War provides an excellent example of the problems of war termination when leverage and enforceability are lost due to a lack of war termination criteria.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics