Rounding Out a Concept of Operational Art: Using Theory to Understand Operational Art's Purpose, Structure, and Content
Monograph, Jun 2011-May 2012
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This monograph posits that military practitioners have a theoretical and doctrinal gap in understanding operational art. This threatens to separate tactical action from strategic purpose resulting in battlefield success that is orphaned by strategic frustration. To address this situation, this monograph proposes a theory of operational art, tempers it with historical case studies, and evaluates both Joint and Army doctrine. It demonstrates that, while operational art cannot overcome severe policystrategic faults, it is necessary to successfully organize tactical action to achieve strategic aims. After describing both military strategy and tactics, this monograph proposes that the purpose of operational art is to bridge these two qualitatively different functions. To accomplish this operational art must bridge the conceptual-physical divide, negotiate boundaries, use tactical culmination to serve continuation, and manage political interaction. To accomplish this, operational art needs to have a structure that can understand strategic purpose, generate an operational logic, negotiate boundaries, and control tactical units. This four-part structure is the chain that links strategic purpose to tactical action. Three historical case studies provide insight into the functioning and limitations of the theoretical model.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics