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Adaptive Campaigning Applied: Australian Army Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This study evaluates the relevance of Adaptive Campaigning to recent Australian Army operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Adaptive Campaigning has its origins in Australias way of warfare and the evolution of Australian military thinking over the past decade. This evolution resulted in the publication of Complex Warfighting 2004, Adaptive Campaigning 2007, and Adaptive Campaigning 2009, and prompted the introduction of a novel component -- the theory of complex adaptive systems -- to the Australian Armys Future Land Operating Concept. This monograph reviews the theory of complex adaptive systems and its manifestation in Adaptive Campaigning through the execution of simultaneous lines of operation and the Adaption Cycle. It is argued that the nonlinear perspective of complex adaptive systems complements rather than replaces traditional linear processes, such as center of gravity analysis. Two case studies, Overwatch Battle Group West 1, Iraq, 2006, and Reconstruction Task Force 3, Afghanistan, 2007-2008, illustrate how these forces designed operations in the context of Adaptive Campaigning. In particular, the operational employment of the five lines of operation, the Adaption Cycle, and the translation of a campaign plan into tactical action are analyzed. The study concludes that both forces adapted the traditional planning process to cope with the complexity they encountered in ways that were consistent with Adaptive Campaigning. This poses a challenge to existing Australian Joint and Army planning doctrine, which has not yet incorporated the nonlinear perspective of the Future Land Operating Concept. A linear focus on direct force-on-force encounters and an over-reliance on center of gravity analysis may limit the effectiveness of current planning processes in complex operational environments. Australian Joint and Army planning doctrine needs to be updated to incorporate the nonlinear concepts of Adaptive Campaigning.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE