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Major Joint/Combined Operations
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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In Western militaries, there is a general lack of a commonly agreed definition and a theory of operations aimed at accomplishing an objective. The U.S. Army solution in the early 1980s was to adopt the term major operation and thereby distinguish between operations in general and those planned and conducted in accordance with the tenets of operational art. Currently, the Army and the main joint doctrinal documents describe a major operation as a series of tactical actions battles, engagements, strikes conducted by various combat forces of a single or several services, coordinated in time and place to accomplish an operational and sometimes strategic objective in an operational area. These actions are conducted simultaneously or sequentially in accordance with a common plan and are controlled by a single commander.1 In contrast, other Services of the Armed Forces do not recognize a major operation as a method of their combat force employment. The Air Force, for its part, invariably and incorrectly is focused on planning what it calls air campaigns. In generic terms, a major operation can be described as consisting of a series of related major and minor tactical actions by two or more combat arms of one or more Services concurrently andor sequentially in terms of time and place and aimed at accomplishing an operational and sometimes limited strategic objective. Major operations are normally an integral part of a campaign they are planned and conducted in accordance with a common operational idea and controlled by a single commander. A major operation is not just a mechanical collection of randomly conducted battles, strikes, attacks, and other tactical actions but mutually connected tactical actions conducted over a larger part of the theater over several days.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE