Assessing the Requirement for Operational Design in the Face of Nonlinearity
MARINE CORPS COMBAT DEVELOPMENT COMMAND QUANTICO VA
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Adoption of operational design by the U.S. military will provide an approach to. functioning effectively within a complex environment in the near-term, while serving as a catalyst for a more comprehensive understanding of systems thinking in the long-term. Complexity is not a new phenomenon. Throughout time people have wrestled with complex problems and situations and have met with varying levels of success in their achievement of an acceptable solution. The relatively new science of complexity has facilitated our understanding of different types of complexity and has enhanced our ability to develop solutions to the problems that exist within such environments. A logical part of operating in environments of complexity is the conduct of operational design or the conception and construction of the framework that underpins a campaign or joint operation plan and its subsequent execution. As an increasing number of leaders realize the importance of design the inadequacy of our current joint and service publications has become apparent. Absent of an acceptable doctrinal foundation, design has been less than effective in providing an approach to effectively function within a complex environment. While it is certain to meet resistance, the implementation of properly developed design that is based on systems thinking will have farreaching impacts on individual services and the joint force.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics