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A Misapplied and Overextended Example: Gen J. N. Mattis's Criticism of Effects-Based Operations
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB MAXWELL AFB AL
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Both General Mattis s USJFCOM Commander s Guidance for Effects- Based Operations and his memorandum for US Joint Forces Command 14 August 2008, which includes that guidance, focus on the concept of EBO. In the former, Mattis spends half a page on Israel s 2006 campaign to underline his point that EBO is a flawed concept that in effect impedes the development and conduct of joint operations.4 Although he mentions other historical examples, the Israeli campaign remains his most prominent one by far. Thus, one can only assume that the general considers it a particularly good illustration of his point. This article seeks to analyze the empirical foundation of General Mattis s conclusion regarding EBO as a military concept not the concept of EBO itself. If that foundation is weak or even misguided, then the conclusion should undergo reassessment. Consequently, a finding that the Israeli campaign in 2006 does not provide sufficient empirical evidence of flaws in EBO justifies challenging General Mattis s assertions regarding that concept. The article, therefore, analyzes the basis of his critique to determine whether or not the latter includes the key issue at hand the limitations of Israel s strategic thinking in this war.
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