Symbolic Interpretation of the Lines of Effort through the Theory of Strategic Ambiguity
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The Army conducts operations in complex environments with Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental and Multinational JIIM partners. Doctrine provides several concepts designed to create and sustain effective partnerships. One of these concepts, the Lines of Effort LOE, has been viewed as a method of long term visualization but is undervalued as an organizing tool. This monograph examines how LOE can effectively assist operational commanders in achieving unity of effort with multiple JIIM partners in a counterinsurgency COIN environment. The analytical framework is based on Eric Eisenbergs theory of strategic ambiguity, which contends that leaders utilize ambiguity to achieve organizational goals. Two contemporary Operation Iraqi Freedom OIF case studies, 1st Calvary Division in OIF II and Multinational Force-Iraq during the New Way Forward, were analyzed against criteria that assessed if LOE were used as a symbol of strategy to promote unified diversity and facilitate organizational change. Numerous conclusions resulted from the analysis. In both cases, the LOE contributed to the successful incorporation of numerous JIIM partners. Each commander utilized LOE as a symbol to represent their vision of the operation, and the LOE subsequently became a symbol of orientation for the organization. In turn, this allowed for multiple interpretations among JIIM partners and created unified diversity. The LOEs effectiveness as an organizing tool became apparent when used in the planning and execution process by allowing organizational adaptation. Ambiguity of LOE when paired with a change in purpose facilitated organizational change. When used by a commander in a symbolic manner, LOE allowed for diverse interpretations by JIIM partners attributing to unity of effort. Based upon this integrated conclusion, this monograph makes the following recommendations.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics