Sei sulla pagina 1di 7

This is the html version of the

file http://www.benning.army.mil/mssp/PDF/nwc_sweeney_op_art_primer_16jul2010.pdf.
Google automatically generates html versions of documents as we crawl the web.
Page 1

THEUNITEDSTATESNAVALWARCOLLEGE
JOINTMILITARYOPERATIONSDEPARTMENT

OPERATIONALARTPRIMER
PROF.PATRICKC.SWEENEY
16JULY2010
Page 2
1

INTENTIONALLY
BLANK
Page 3
2

Thepurposeofthisprimeristoprovidethereaderanoverviewofselectedelementsof
operationalart.Whileadeeperunderstandingofoperationalartcanonlybeachievedthrough
extensivestudyandfrequentapplication,mostnoviceplannerscancertainlybenefitby
appreciatingahandfulofkeyconcepts.Thisprimerhasnarrowedthesecriticaltouchstonesof
operationalarttosixtopics:TheObjective,LevelsofWar,OperationalFactors(SpaceTime
Force),TheFourQuestions,TheaterGeometry,andtheCenterofGravity.
OperationalArt
Beforegoinganyfurther,thefirstquestionthatmustbeanswerediswhatisoperational
art?U.S.Jointdoctrinedefinesoperationalartas,Theapplicationofcreativeimaginationby
commandersandstaffssupportedbytheirskill,knowledge,andexperiencetodesign
strategies,campaigns,andmajoroperationsandorganizeandemploymilitaryforces.
Operationalartintegratesends,ways,andmeansacrossthelevelsofwar.
1Thiscreative
imaginationrestsuponafoundationofbothartandscience.Scienceincludesthephysicsof
modernwarfare.Howlongdoesittakeaforcetoreachaspecificlocation?Whatisrequiredto
sustainaforce?Whatistheseaportand/orairportthroughputcapacity?Whataretheenemys
militarycapabilities?Thesetypesofquestions,andthousandsofotherquestionsofsimilarilk,
arethedomainofscienceandareaddressedbyamyriadofstaffestimates.Art,ontheother
hand,whileofteninformedbyscience,reliesuponintuition,orwhatClausewitzreferredtoas
Coupdoeil.Thisaspectofoperationalartishonedthroughoperationalexperienceandthestudy
ofmilitarytheoryandhistory.Someexamplesofintuitionincludesensingtheapproaching
culminationofanenemyoronesownforce,orenvisioninganimaginativeapproachtostrikean
enemyortoconcealonesownforcesvulnerability.

TheObjective
Theprimacyoftheobjectiveisthe
mostfundamentalconsiderationinoperational
artallactionsshouldbedirectedtowards
accomplishingtheobjective.Invariably,when
onefeelsthatplanningoranoperationis
goingofftrack,therightquestiontoaskis,
Whatistheobjective?Inextricablytiedto
thestrategicobjectiveistheDesiredEnd
State(DES).TheDESistheultimate
condition(oreffect)thepoliticalleadership
wishestoseeattheendofhostilities.This
conditionencompassesallaspects:political,
diplomatic,military,economic,social,
informational,environmental,andother
applicablecircumstancesrelevanttothe
conflict.NotethemilitaryconditionisonlyoneportionofDES.TheDESshouldbepartofthe
strategicguidancereceivedfromstrategicpoliticalleadership.

1JointPublication102,DODDictionary,https://jdeis.js.mil/jdeis/dictionary/def.jsp?
word=operational+art(accessed6
July2010).

Page 4
3
Figure2.LevelsofWarduringWWIIinthePacific

Planningregressively(backwards)fromtheDES,oneshouldthenidentifythestrategic
objectivesnecessarytobeaccomplishedinordertoreachtheDES(seefigure1).Itisalso
importanttoremember,similartotheDES,moststrategicobjectiveswillrequirethe
employmentofacombinationofinstrumentsofpower,notjustthemilitary.Fromeachstrategic
objectiveagain,planningregressivelyonecanthenascertaintheoperational,andlater,
tacticalobjectives,whichmustbeaccomplished.Failuretoplanregressivelycanleadtoan
unfocusedoperationorcampaignthatmeandersratherthanstayingfocusedontheDES.
TheLevelsofWar
Intheearlydaysawarriorkingwouldleadhisarmyintobattlehewouldpersonally
executethelinkagebetweenstrategicguidanceandtacticalactions.Aswarfareexpandedin
spaceandtimeboththroughtechnologyandlargermilitaryformationsstrategicleaderslost
theabilitytopersonallyfulfillthe
linkagesenjoyedbytheearlierwarrior
kings.Thethreelevelsofwar
strategic,operational,andtactical
helpclarifythelinksbetweennational
strategicobjectivesandtactical
actions.Therearenofinitelimitsor
boundariesbetweentheminfact,

levelscanbesubdividedifsorequired
(forexample,CombatantCommanders
oftenoperateattheTheaterStrategic
levelofwar,alevelanchoredbetween
theNationalStrategicandOperational
levelsofwar).
2

Theoperationallevel
ofwartranslatesstrategicobjectives
intotacticalactions.Applicationof
operationalartassistsinthis
translation.Thekeypointtokeep
inmindisthateachlevelof
warhasassociatedobjectives.SeeFigure2foranexampleofthelevelsofwarduringWorld
WarIIinthePacific.
OperationalFactors:SpaceTimeForce
Inordertoachievefreedomofaction,asuccessfulcommandermusteffectivelybalance
theOperationalFactorsofSpace,Time,andForce.TheoperationalarttheoristDr.MilanVego
notedthatthesefactorsarepivotalinmakingdecisionsatalllevelsofwar.Thehigherthelevel
ofwar,thelargerthefactorsofspace,time,andforceandhencethemorecriticalforthe
commandersandtheirstafftoproperlybalancethesefactorswiththerespectiveobjective.
3

See
Figure3foragraphicrepresentationoftheconcept.Anillustrativeexampleofbalancingthe
operationalfactorscanbeobservedbyconsideringinitialoperationsinAfghanistan(OEF).
GeneralFranks,theCENTCOMcommander,wasfacedwithadilemma.Hisobjectivewasto
2
3

JointPub30,JointOperations,p.II1.
MilanVego,JointOperationalWarfare:TheoryandPractice,p.III3.

Page 5
4

defeattheTalibanandAlQaedaforcesandeffectaregimechange.Inordertoachievethis
objectivehehadtoquicklydeploy
(FactorTime)aforceintoadistantland
lockedcountrywithlittleimproved
infrastructureandfewnearbylocations
thatcouldbeusedasIntermediateStaging
Bases(FactorSpace).HowwasFranks
goingtobalancethesetwodemanding
operationalfactorswiththeremaining
factorofforce?Whilehemighthave
desiredtosendinadivisionsizedforce,
toachieveabalanceoftheoperational
factorsFranksemployedalightforceof
SpecialOperationsandairpower(FactorForce).

TheFourQuestions
Closelyrelatedtotheoperationalartdiscussionsabovearethemostessentialquestions
thatacommander(andstaffofficer)shouldanswerwhenconsideringanyoperation.
1.Whatconditionsarerequiredtoachievetheobjectives?(ENDS)
2.Whatsequenceofactionismostlikelytocreatethoseconditions?(WAYS)
3.Whatresourcesarerequiredtoaccomplishthatsequenceofactions?(MEANS)
4.Whatisthelikelycostorriskinperformingthatsequenceofactions?(RISK)
ThoseaspectsofEnds,Ways,orMeanswhichareassessedasoutofbalancebecomeRisk.
UsingtheOEFexamplementionedearlier,thelimitedforces(Means)employedbyCENTCOM
meantthattheU.S.wouldbehighlyreliantuponsurrogateAfghanrebels(Ways)toachievethe
ultimateobjective(End).Thislimitedoptionleftforlittleflexibilityifthesurrogateforce
falteredorchangedallegiances(Risk).Fewoperationsarewithoutrisk.Itisimperative,
however,foranorganizationtoidentifytherisksduringtheplanningphaseinordertosupport
thecommandersdecisionprocess.Basedonanunderstandingofthebalancingofthefour
questions,thecommandermayofferspecificriskmitigationrequirementsand/oradjustmentsto
oneormoreoftheotherelementsoftheequation(changetheforcemix,directadifferent
approach,orperhapsseekachangetotheobjective).Operationallevelriskthenisdefinedas
risktomissionorrisktoforce.
TheaterGeometry
Thedesignofoperationshasalwaysrequiredtheconsiderationofgeographical
influences.Evenwithtodaysmoderntechnology,geographyoftenplaysadecisiverolein
militaryplanning.
4

Themostbasicconceptfortheatergeometryisthemovement/maneuverof
forcesfromBasesofOperationtoanObjective.Thismovementoccursalongoneormore
LinesofOperations.Theoretically,aLineofOperationpassesthroughDecisivePointsonthe
waytotheObjective.SeeFigure4.DecisivePointsaredefinedbyjointdoctrineasA
geographicplace,specifickeyevent,criticalfactor,orfunctionthat,whenactedupon,allows
4

Ibid.,IV49.

Page 6
5
Figure5.PhysicalLinesofOperation(JP50)

commanderstogainamarkedadvantageoveranadversaryorcontributemateriallytoachieving
success.5
DecisivePointsoftenbecomeobjectivesortasksforsubordinatecommands.An
exampleofaDecisivePointcouldbeanairfieldandseaportcomplexrequiredtosupportthe
entryofajointforceintoanenemycountry.Thiscouldbecomeaforcedentryobjectivefor
airborne,amphibious,and/or
SpecialForces.Oneshouldalso
notethatanoperationseldom
unfoldsaccordingtoplan.As
such,acommandwillplanfor
BranchPlans.ABranchis

definedas,Thecontingency
optionsbuiltintothebaseplan.A
branchisusedforchangingthe
mission,orientation,ordirection
ofmovementofaforcetoaid
successoftheoperationbasedon
anticipatedevents,opportunities,
ordisruptionscausedbyenemy
actionsandreactions.6
Essentially,abranchplananswersthequestion:Whatifthingsdonotgoaccordingtoplan?Ifa
BranchPlanisproperlyexecuted,theforceshouldreturntosomepointontheoriginalLineof
Operation(unlesstheBranchPlanledtoacatastrophicsuccessthatallowedfordirectmovement
totheobjective).AnexampleofaBranchPlanmightbecontingencyplanningfortheenemy
approachingfromanunexpecteddirection.Figure5offersanotherviewoftheLineofOperation
conceptthatdepictsthevariousDecisivePointsalongthewaytotheObjective.
Whileallpreviousexampleshavereflectedthephysicalmovement/maneuverofforcesalonga
LineofOperationtoanObjective,theconceptisalsorelevanttothemovementofnonphysical
effortstowardsanobjective.Forexample,therequirementsofahumanitarianoperationoran
informationoperationdonotrequirethephysicalmovementofaforcethroughDecisivePoints
toachieveagivenobjective.Thesenongeographicoperationsdorequire,however,the
accomplishmentofkeytasksorintermediateobjectivesinordertoachieveanultimateobjective.

JointPublication102,DODDictionary,https://jdeis.js.mil/jdeis/dictionary/def.jsp?word=decisive+point(accessed
14
July2010).
6Ibid.
5

Page 7
6
Figure6.LinesofEffort(JP50)
Figure7.SampleControlMeasuresinaTheaterofOperations

ThesetypesofoperationsapplythesameconceptofLinesofOperations,butaretermedas
LinesofEffortorLogical
LinesofOperation(see
Figure6foranexample)and
aredefinedas,Alogical
linethatconnectsactionson
nodesand/ordecisivepoints
relatedintimeandpurpose
withanobjective(s).
7

Inadditiontothetheoretical
geometryofthetheater,
therearealsothevery
practicalorganizational
controlmeasuresusedin

jointoperations(seeFigure
7).Thesecontrolmeasures
assignspecificgeographic
areastovariouscommands
baseduponfunctionand
mission.Themeasuresareameansofcommandandcontrolandbattlefielddeconfliction.These
measuresareestablishedbya
higherheadquartersforits
subordinatecommandsand
shouldprovidesufficient
battlespaceforacommandto
accomplishitsassigned
objective(s).
CenterofGravity
Whiletheobjectiveis
thefocusofalloperations,
imposedbetweenthefriendly
forceanditsobjectiveisthe
enemyCenterofGravity
(COG).COGisdefinedas,
Thesourceofpowerthat
providesmoralorphysical
strength,freedomofaction,or
willtoact.8
ACOGisfacilitated
byitsCriticalCapabilities(CC).
ThesecriticalcapabilitiesareessentialtotheCOGinaccomplishingitsmission.Forexample,
7
8

Ibid.
Ibid.

Page 8
7

duringDesertStormtheIraqiOperationalCOGwasassessedtobetheRepublicanGuard
DivisionsintheKuwaitTheaterofOperations.SomeofthecriticalcapabilitiesforthatCOG
wereitsCommandandControl,Logistics,theIntegratedAirDefenseprotectingit,the
conventionaldivisionsarrayedaroundthemasafirstlineofdefense,andafewother
capabilities.EachofthesecapabilitiesiscomposedofCriticalRequirements(CR).These
criticalrequirementsaretheessentialconditions,resources,andmeansforthecriticalcapability
tooperate.
9

ExamplesfortheCommandandControlcriticalcapabilitymightbecommandpost,
communicationnodes,orkeyleaders.SinceattackingaCOGdirectlyisusuallycostlyin
resourcesandcombatpower,itisoftenmoreeffectivetoattackaCOGindirectlythroughoneor
moreofCriticalVulnerabilities(CV).Jointdoctrinedefinesacriticalvulnerabilityasan

aspectofacriticalrequirementwhichisdeficientorvulnerabletodirectorindirectattackthat
willcreatedecisiveorsignificanteffects.(seeFigure8).Oneshouldcontemplatethosecritical
capabilitiesandtheirsupportingcriticalrequirementsinthisregard,keepinginmindthatthese
weaknessesmustbearadirectrelationshiptoaCOGanditssupportingcriticalcapabilitiesforit
tobeassessedasa
criticalvulnerability.
Strikingaweaknessthat
bearsnosuch
relationshipissimplya
measuretakentoharvest
lowhangingfruitthat
offersnodecisive
benefit.Whilethe
plannerfirstseeks
criticalweaknesses
withinthecritical
capabilitiesand
supportingcritical
requirementsasimplied
bythedefinition,there
mightbeopportunities
foundincritical
strengthsthatprovide
decisiveorsignificantresultsdisproportionatetothemilitaryresourcesapplied.Anexample
mightbetheintegratedairdefense(IAD)thatisprotectinganoperationalCOG.Whilethis
criticalcapabilitymightbeassessedasastrength,itsneutralizationandthesubsequentopening
oftheCOGtodirectattackmaybeassessedbythecommanderasmorefavorableinregardto
theamountofresourcesandtimeexpendedtoachievethedesiredeffects.
10

Oneshouldnotethatwhilealloftheabovediscussionhasbeenfocuseduponthe
enemysCOG,thefriendlyforcealsohasaCOGthattheenemywishestodefeatorneutralize.It
isincumbentuponthefriendlyforcetothoughtfullyexamineitsowncriticalvulnerabilitiesand
seektomitigateriskstoitsownCOG.
NavyWarfarePublication501,NavyPlanning,p.C4.
NWC4111H,JointOperationsPlanningProcess(JOPP),C4thru5.Note,thisisadirectextract.
Figure8.AttackingaCenterofGravitythroughitsCritical
Vulnerabilities
9

10