War Termination Criteria: Linking Strategic Policy and Operational Objectives
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The purpose of this study is to explore two historical case studies from the Vietnam War to discover how termination criteria influence the planning process and the relationship between strategic aims and operational objectives. The significance of this study is to yield and codify salient points from an analysis of an historical case study in regards to war termination. Examining the Vietnam War termination from policy to operational objectives tested the hypothesis that war termination criteria should be articulated before the employment of military forces. Through application of the elements of operational art, planners must look beyond the initial campaign and tighten the aperture between strategic aims and operational objectives. This study uses structured, focused comparison method to examine two separate time periods in the Vietnam War, President Johnsons war in Vietnam case study and President Nixons war in Vietnam case study. An exploration of two historical case studies from the Vietnam War enables this study to analyze the influence of termination criteria on the planning process and the relationship between strategic aims and operational objectives. The overall hypothesis tested is that if the United States clearly identifies the national strategic objectives and termination criteria, then operational planners could develop and adjust an operational approach to link the operational objectives and policy. The evidence suggests that the overall thesis for this monograph has a mixed outcome. Thus, when war termination criteria are clearly defined then operational planners can apply operational art to develop plans to meet strategic objectives, is correct and supported by the analysis of the evidence in one of the case studies.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics