Words Mean Things: What is the Decisive Point?
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Many principles and concepts exist within the idea of operational design. Although most of these elements link their importance and historical roots to the classic military thinkers Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, and Jomini, arguably, one of the most important is the concept of decisive point. As defined by Joint Publication 5-0, a decisive point is a geographical place, specific key event, critical factor, or function that, when acted upon, allows commanders to gain a marked advantage over an adversary or contribute materially to achieving success. While this definition may sound clear and understandable, in actuality it does not adequately link the doctrinal use of the term to the original ideas of the classic military thinkers. Thus, the premise of this essay is to demonstrate that the joint definition for decisive point is worded in a context that is improper and, therefore, could promote confusion and inhibit commanders from framing a clear picture of the operational environment and subsequent development of a plan.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics