Adapting the Doctrinal Discourse on Campaign Planning to the Reality of Current Conflicts
Monograph rept. Jul 2009-May 2010
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Joint and Army campaign planning doctrine, based on the example of the 1991 Gulf War, is losing relevance to the nature of current conflicts. Current doctrine emphasizes a centrally planned joint campaign that efficiently utilizes scarce military resources against a similarly organized and relatively homogeneous conventional foe. This logic, however, does not reflect the nature of the conflicts that the United States currently wages. The transition between Phase III and Phase IV of Operation Iraqi Freedom OIF demonstrated the limits of current campaign planning doctrine Deprived of relevant guidance from higher headquarters and without doctrine to support lower level campaign planning, Army and Marine units failed to secure the gains of major combat operations after the fall of Baghdad. Eventually, commanders down to the Brigade Combat Team BCT level planned campaigns nested through purpose to the Joint Force Commanders campaign plan. Unfortunately, neither the Joint Staff nor the Army captured these successful adaptations in the latest versions of campaign planning doctrine. Thus, the gulf between campaign planning doctrine and the reality of current conflcits remains unresolved and the relevancy of campaign planning doctrine continues to diminish. Both the Army and the Joint Staff must recognize the necessity of nested campaign planning and change current doctrine to provide commanders of BCTs, divisions, and corps doctrine that empowers them to plan and execute campaigns that employ all elements of national power in ways that achieve strategic objectives.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics