Operational Risk Preparedness: General George H. Thomas and the Franklin-Nashville Campaign
SAMS Monograph rept. Jun 2013-May 2014
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Operational risk is often referred to but as yet remains undefined within U.S. Army doctrine. This monograph analyzes and compares thoughts on risk from multiple disciplines and viewpoints to develop a suitable definition and corresponding principles. The proposed definition of operational risk is any friendly decision, enemy action, or environmental change that presents an opportunity or poses a threat, is filled with uncertainty, and requires action. This monograph also proposes the following ten principles of operational risk preparedness Leadership, Information, Communication, Analytic Process, Time, Capability, Adaptability, Initiative, Agility, and Resilience. The monograph then applies this definition and corresponding principles to the historic case study of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign where Major General George H. Thomas decisively defeated and effectively destroyed the Confederate Army of Tennessee commanded by General John B. Hood. General Thomas was much more adept at preparing his organization for risk than General Hood, and the result was a resounding Union victory that helped hasten the end of the war. This monograph concludes that operational level commanders should not attempt to manage risk or control uncertainty, but rather should use all available time and resources to continually prepare their organizations for an uncertain future by applying the principles of operational risk preparedness.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics