Decisive Point, Center of Gravity or Something Else: The Effort to Ascertain the Role of the Affected Populace in COIN Operations
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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In the past several years, there has been resurgence in the study of Operational Art in order to prepare our forces to face the dynamic changes seen in warfare since the end of the Cold War. The theories of Clausewitz have been especially popular as leaders search to maximize the effectiveness of limited resources and personnel in a growing realm of global conflict. A central tenet of Clausewitzs teachings is the concept of Center of Gravity. This concept is meant to aid the commander focus his resources on areas where maximum results may best be realized. This focus will theoretically cause serious degradation of enemy forces and speed victory. While this approach may realize good success through proper application in a conventional fight where large formations or readily apparent objectives are the norm, when the application is attempted in a Counter Insurgency setting, especially at the operational level, the process can be frustrating and the results unclear. This paper argues that operational commanders need not look further than the populace affected by the insurgency in his search to most directly influence the insurgent forces abilities.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics