Accession Number:

ADA614191

Title:

Systems Thinking: A Way to Understand Socio-political Environments

Descriptive Note:

Master's thesis

Corporate Author:

ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2014-06-13

Pagination or Media Count:

86.0

Abstract:

How can a systems perspective help military professionals understand and intervene in the world Although U.S. military doctrine recommends Systems Thinking, this doctrine 1 fails to offer a useful, robust description on the perspective and 2 simultaneously recommends the use of overly simplified frameworks that fail to convey the worlds complexity. I theorize that such approaches, which are more linear, promote incongruous interventions into the socio-political systems that compose a military units area of operation. Using a systems method of analysis that comprises both institutional analysis and complexity theory, I use a civil war case study--El Salvador 1981--to demonstrate the functionality of this method in terms of explicating systems, causal logics, and system effects. I then compare my description with the speeches and writings of policymakers and military leaders involved in this case. I show how a systems perspective conduces to analysis that is more thorough and reflective of a situations complexity. Additionally, I demonstrate that cause and effect without more complex knowledge of a system has the potential to yield counterproductive results. This study has significant implications for policymakers, strategists, and military professionals.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE