Systemic Operational Design: An Introduction
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Systemic Operational Design SOD is an application of systems theory to operational art. It is an attempt to rationalize complexity through systemic logic employing a holistic approach that translates strategic direction and policy into operational level designs. SOD focuses upon the relationships between entities within a system to develop rationale for systemic behaviors that accounts for the logic of the system, facilitating a cycle of design, plan, act, and learn. This is accomplished through seven discourses, leading to a holistic design of an operation that will facilitate planning. Military operations exhibit the signs indicative of complex behavior. Traditional industrial age thinking has led to an approach to planning based on decomposition of problems into pieces of the coherent whole and specialization into organizational sub-sets for analysis and planning. Synchronization of these separate ideas was then enacted to form a complete plan. This approach to design and planning is classical in its roots, based on a mixture of Jomini and Clausewitz, and characterized by a predominantly linear and mechanistic approach. This approach to planning had, and continues to have, many advantages for dealing with tactical level problems. At the operational and strategic level however, problems are often unbounded and no clear solution is apparent. There is an inherent danger in adopting a process that started off as a tactical problem solving tool and via an induction has been imposed on the operational level. A danger is that in ignoring the distinction of the operational level of war, strategy can become tactics writ large. The advent of the use of systems theory in military art and science provides another theoretical framework for understanding. SOD utilizes a systems approach to study these complex problems.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics