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Theater Strategy and the Theater Campaign Plan: Both Are Essential

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This is an era in which the Joint Staff is placing new emphasis on joint interoperability. Yet, one theater commander plans to employ joint forces according to his theater campaign plan, while another, eschewing campaigns, plans to conduct joint operations based largely on his warfighting strategy. What gives Shouldnt there be a binding joint doctrine for preparing the CINCs theater for war Shouldnt a CINC have both a theater strategy and a campaign plan The answer to both questions in my opinion is yes. Although our theater commanders have long held a propensity to do things their own way, joint planning doctrine ought to evolve into a more centralized methodology than seen in past years. This paper provides one vision of the proper relationship between theater strategy and related campaign plans. I would not pretend it is the only Or even the best vision, but I do hope it will enjoin serious thought and discussion as we begin the process of building the joint doctrine that will carry our unified forces into the next century. The Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986, the 1987 Senate hearings on national security strategy, and the Presidents National Security Strategy report for 1988 have encouraged a resurgence of interest in national military strategy, joint interoperability, and our unified warfighting effectiveness at the strategic and operational levels of war. But they do not deal with such gut questions as why theater commanders might need a strategy too in view of the presence of a controlling national military strategy which relates political goals to theater missions. Our national military strategy has its origins in our national interests--our collective sense of concerns and values as a nation. Manifest in various official declarations, these political, military, economic, and sociopsychological sensings have remained largely constant since World War II.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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