Campaign Design for
Winning the War . . .
and the Peace



From Parameters,  Summer 2005, pp. 36-50.

It had started so well. The most battle-worthy, best-trained, best-equipped, and best-led army in the world had made a stunning advance in enemy country. It had defeated the enemy army and captured its national capital. By all rules of classical warfare, this should have been the end of it. But the enemy continued to resist. Soon, scattered elements were hitting back hard and the long lines of communication were threatened. Hostile neighboring countries began to see the opportunities. . . .

The echoes of Napoleon’s campaign of 1812 in Russia still resonate today: they are at the core of our understanding of war, and the relationship between policy, strategy, and operational art.1 Statesmen and generals have sought to explain this relationship ever since Socrates urged one of his students to go learn the art of war from a famous visiting general, only to hear him report, upon his return, that he had learned “tactics and nothing else.”2 Recent history has merely reminded us of the paradox of the campaign of 1812 in Russia. Indeed, the numerous critiques, opinions, and analyses of the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq center around one critical question, best posed by Frederick Kagan: “Why has the United States been so successful in recent wars and encountered so much difficulty in securing its political aims after the shooting stopped?”3 The answer, for some, is political,4 while others believe it lies with the US “method of warfare,”5 or with “a persistent bifurcation in American strategic thinking.”6

Yet US and NATO military doctrine are crystal clear that “wars are successful only when political goals are achieved and these goals endure.”7 If doctrine is sound at this level, the problem, if any, then surely lies elsewhere


and suspicion must fall on the ways in which the ends are met. Is there a fault line between strategy and operational art, and, if so, is it made worse by inadequate campaign design? The thesis of this article is that there is, and that the current Western interpretation of campaign design must thus reunite with its strategic roots of ends and means in its quest to seek ways of winning both the war and the peace in the post-9/11 era.

The Current Interpretation of Campaign Design

The genesis and object of campaign design are intrinsically strategic. Indeed, campaign design seeks to devise ways in which strategic ends are met through the employment of strategically generated means. It entails the formulation of a commander’s vision and the application of the operational art in the conduct of the campaign.8 To assist in what is essentially a creative process aimed a solving complex military problems, commanders and campaign planners use a number of “elements”9 such as the center of gravity, decisive points, lines of operation, etc. Unfortunately, these elements “hamstring planner’s and commander’s abilities to design and construct effective, coherent campaigns for operations across the spectrum of conflict in today’s security environment.”10

The first weakness of these elements is that they reinforce a pervasive dichotomy between ends and ways. Indeed, while US joint doctrine states that “campaign planners should never lose sight of the fact that strategic objectives must dominate the campaign planning process at every juncture,”11 they are admonished two paragraphs later that “above all, the [operational] concept must make it explicitly clear that the focus is on the destruction or neutralization of the adversary’s [centers of gravity].”12 Since the latter are more often than not defined at the operational level as the enemy’s armed forces (or a key element thereof),13 the result is an undue focus on seeking battle rather than the attainment of policy itself. In Western civilization, this quest for battle is ingrained in cultural tradition and values. It was codified in the writings of Clausewitz, who declared that “destruction of the enemy forces is the overriding principle of war, and, so far as positive action is concerned, the principal way to achieve our object.”14 Such a view gave rise to the concept of the Battle of Annihilation


(Vernichtungsschlacht). Here was an ideology, according to Simon Naveh, that had an “addictive impact” on succeeding generations of military theorists and practitioners who, unfortunately, lacked the cognitive tools to assess the validity of Clausewitz’s work.15 In Antulio Echevarria’s analysis, the corollary is the subsuming of a way of war into a way of battle, a practice shared by the United States and its major allies.16 In contrast to this quest for battle stands a competing viewpoint, expressed under Liddell-Hart’s pen as a pronouncement that “battle is but one of the means to the end of strategy,”17 and exemplified in history by several campaigns such as those of Belisarius, du Guesclin, Wallenstein, and Napoleon at Ulm.

These two competing views can generate cognitive dissonance in the design of a strategy or campaign. In early 1942, for example, British and American strategists argued over whether it was best to immediately commence a buildup for a direct attack of German forces over the English Channel, or to undertake a more indirect approach aimed at collapsing the Wehrmacht by strategic encirclement, from Norway through to the Mediterranean, capitalizing on the expected uprising of conquered nations, and with a cross-channel assault figuring only as a relatively minor “coup de grāce.”18 It is significant that, in the end, neither view was fully implemented, revealing a truth about the nature of strategy, to which we will return later.

The quest for battle is fed by the Western fixation on the center of gravity. It is no exaggeration to say that this concept has spawned a cult-like following, as evidenced by the massive literature devoted to it, some of it reading more like the exegesis of holy Clausewitzian scripture.19 The volume of discussion generated by this concept attests, in fact, to its somewhat nebulous nature. The validity, in today’s operating environment, of a concept whose premise is that “sufficient connectivity exists among the various parts of the enemy to form an overarching system (or structure) that acts with a certain unity”20 is also in question. In campaign design, however, the danger is when the importance of the center of gravity is elevated above that of strategic objectives, to the point that it acts as a pole of attraction for many other elements of campaign design.

Decisive points are one such element, first postulated by Jomini, who envisioned them as points “capable of exercising a marked influence either upon the result of the campaign or upon a single enterprise.”21 Contemporary usage offers campaign planners ample room to characterize a decisive point, ranging from a geographic location to an event, a system, a function, or a condition. US doctrine emphasizes the advantage it confers over the enemy generally,22 instead of accomplishing effects useful to the attainment of strategic objectives. Such a separation from strategy is even more pronounced in NATO and Canadian doctrine, both of which specifically define it as a point from


which a center of gravity can be threatened.23 Other elements of campaign design, such as the sequencing and arrangement of operations, simultaneity and depth, and so forth, are also conceived only in terms of destroying the center of gravity. The real danger, however, comes when the concept of “lines of operation” is introduced. Again, this is a Jominian term, whose original meaning only intended the roads that “the army would follow to reach one of these decisive points.”24 US doctrine today defines them as lines “which connect a series of decisive points,”25 retaining a geographic slant (“directional lines linking geographic decisive points”26) not found in NATO doctrine, which is more conceptual and which, interestingly, envisions them as a form of “critical path.”27 In practice, they appear to have recently adopted a functional, or capability-based character. General Tommy Franks’ lines of operation for the 2002 US intervention in Iraq, for instance, included operational fires, maneuver, and unconventional warfare.28 In both doctrine and in practice, however, lines of operation lead to the center of gravity or “the defeat of an adversary force,”29 rather than the achievement of strategic objectives.

The current interpretation of campaign design is, therefore, largely based on a juxtaposition of land-centric Clausewitzian and Jominian concepts. While useful individually, these have inherent conceptual and interpretive weaknesses that can be compounded when employed in concert. Essentially, their main flaw is that beyond the enemy center of gravity, one is left in a void, hoping that things will turn out all right or, in the rather more elegant words of Allied Joint Publication 3, that “the necessary leverage should exist to prevent the enemy from resuming hostilities.”30 A better way must be found, but for that, we must first consider the strategic ends.

The Ends

Strategy, declared Liddell-Hart, consists of “the art of distributing military means to fulfill the ends of policy.”31 To understand these ends, we must begin with the highest policy goal of any nation, which is security. In World War II, for example, “The ultimate purpose of the (Western Allies) was to remove a potential menace to themselves, and thus ensure their own security.”32 But what is security? At its core, according to Barry Buzan et al., “security is about survival,”33 giving the term “vital interest” its literal sense. The conditions for survival usually revolve around the absence of threat and the sustainment of life. Security is often accompanied by policy goals based on national interests such as the increase of influence, wealth, and power. Altruism, the promotion of certain values, even proselytism, are other goals that may influence a state’s policy. The desired end result is a new order, one that satisfies the notion that “the object in war is to attain a better peace.”34 Of all these broad goals, however, and notwithstanding differing interpretations of


the aims of non-state actors,35 only narrowly defined national security can justify the expense of a nation’s blood and treasure. Indeed, in the words of Field-Marshal Douglas Haig, who was not shy about accepting casualties, “Few of us believe that the democratization of Germany is worth the loss of a single Englishman.”36

Policy goals, however, usually fall within the category of the “broad generalities of peace, prosperity, cooperation, and good will—unimpeachable as ideals but of little use in determining the specific objectives we are likely to pursue.”37 As William Flavin contends, “Military forces will rarely receive political objectives that contain the clarity they desire.”38 As a result, we must now enter the province of military strategy, and the formulation of military strategic objectives and end-states. Objectives may be defined as “the clearly defined, decisive, and attainable goals towards which every military operation should be directed.”39 At the strategic level, US doctrine distinguishes between “military strategic objectives”40 and “theater strategic objectives.”41 Sometimes, certain national or policy objectives will be of a clear military nature, without being labeled as such. For instance, Canada’s “National Objectives” in support of the US-led campaign in Afghanistan in November 2001 did not discern between political and military objectives.42 There may be wisdom in this, since it affords both flexibility and unity of purpose.

The broader issue, though, is the relationship between strategic objectives and policy goals. There are two dimensions to this relationship: a sequential one and a hierarchical one. The first is closely tied to the definition of war itself. According to Echevarria, “Failure to see the purpose for which a war is fought as part of war itself, amounts to treating battle as an end rather than means.”43 More to the point, as Flavin observed: “Conflict termination and resolution are not the same thing. Conflict resolution is a long process. It is primarily a civil problem that may require military support. Through advantageous conflict termination, however, the military can set the conditions for successful conflict resolution.”44 Since the desired new order should tend toward a steady state balance and, hence, conflict resolution rather than mere conflict termination, the achievement of military strategic objectives is therefore likely to be sequential.

The second, hierarchical, dimension is driven by a quest for clarity. Indeed, starting in the late 1980s, and in the wake of the 1984 “Powell-Weinberger Doctrine” which called for “clearly defined political and military objectives,”45 the end-state emerged as a new concept for helping envision the aim. Defined as “the set of required conditions that defines achievement of the commander’s objectives,”46 the end-state can be interpreted in three different ways, according to the meaning attached to the word “condition.”47 Unfortunately, the end-state is a concept that implies that, once reached, the job is fin-


ished. In fact, the set of conditions achieved may well require long-term military commitments or operations to sustain it, or else simply act as the starting point for follow-on operations, underscoring again the need for successive sets of military objectives or conditions.

To the end-state, we have added operational, or campaign, objectives and end-states.48 Some regional Combatant Commanders have even introduced “campaign imperatives” to assist in orienting their campaign. Such a proliferation of objectives and end-states exists to satisfy the military quest for clarity, but is invariably problematic. Indeed, while clarity might be achievable in conventional, decisive combat operations, it often remains elusive or ambiguous in peace-support or counterinsurgency operations. The very terms can also be difficult. The traditional understanding of objectives as a geographic or physical element, for instance, tends to skew their significance at the operational level. More important, all this pseudo clarity means that operational commanders may be lulled into a false sense of certainty and a belief that strategic ends, once received, are set in stone. To the contrary, the changing nature of strategy may soon invalidate all such clarity.

Strategy is always dynamic, and nowhere more so than within that tenuous, high-strung link between policy and military strategy. Translating policy into strategy is arduous and takes time. In World War II after Pearl Harbor, for example, the United States had already deployed some 132,000 troops to the Pacific Theater before some semblance of a coherent coalition strategy could be formulated during the Arcadia conference of 22 December 1941 to 14 January 1942. In addition to the meetings between Churchill and Roosevelt, this conference alone required some 12 meetings at the Chief of Staff level and ten more at the lead planner level. Even then, the priority of theaters was a decision that had to be deferred.49 More recently, General Franks provides us with evidence that well-advanced operational planning can still have unclear strategic objectives, which must therefore be stated as assumptions.50

Strategy formulation is also intellectually perplexing, as attested by Eisenhower’s wartime admission that “the struggle to secure the adoption by all concerned of a common concept of strategical objectives is wearing me


down.”51 One of these difficulties is how purely political reasons can drive strategy itself, as opposed to merely stipulating the higher purpose. To continue the World War II example, US strategic planners were opposed to a landing in North Africa in 1942, but Roosevelt “considered it very important to morale, to give [the United States] a feeling that they are at war, to give the Germans the reverse effect, to have American troops somewhere in active fighting across the Atlantic.”52 Military officers could be tempted to see such political influences as something sinister, but in fact they merely reflect the nature of politics. Roosevelt was simply the best judge of how to maintain the public support necessary to the prosecution of a cataclysmic war like World War II.53 In this case, it meant forsaking possibly sounder shorter-term strategy for longer-term prospects of victory.

Personality also will make the formulation of policy difficult. In World War II, for example, an exasperated British Chief of the Imperial General Staff confided, “Politicians . . . confuse issues, affect decisions, and convert simple problems and plans into confused tangles and hopeless muddles. . . . It is all desperately depressing.”54

Furthermore, military strategy changes over time. Evolving policy is one reason.55 For instance, Liddell-Hart distinguished between “permanent policy,” which provides the national policy goal, and “policy in execution,”56 which we would now call national or coalition political objectives.57 The latter are also likely to be iterative in nature. According to Bob Woodward, for instance, in the run-up to the 2002 US intervention in Iraq, policy was formulated or refined on at least three different occasions.58 But even steady policy is no guarantee of a correspondingly unalterable military strategy. For example, in the 1999 Kosovo campaign, despite five clear and enduring policy goals,59 military strategy changed at least three times.60 Such fluctuations are by no means confined to modern warfare. Indeed, in World War II, Allied military strategy experienced no less than eight major decisions involving significant repercussions for theater- or operational-level commanders between 1942 and 1945, or about once every five months.61 Thus, military strategic objectives are rarely enduring, and campaign design must be sufficiently agile to adjust to their fluctuations.

Compounding this difficulty are the different interests and objectives of coalition powers. For example, in World War I, France’s war aims went beyond Britain’s goal of destroying Prussian militarism and reestablishing an independent Belgium. It included the restitution of the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, as well as the territory lost in the early stages of the war,62 and explains in no small measure why France accepted the highest number of casualties per capita of all the World War I participants.63 These different objectives, and the degree to which a country fears for its survival, therefore create funda-


mental differences in the options open to its statesmen, and will determine the nature of that country’s commitment in terms of blood and treasure, with a corresponding impact on the formulation of coalition strategy.

We must also understand the nature and effect of military objectives and end-states, which are not really ends as such, but rather interpretations of the ends. The more objectives and end-states are allowed to proliferate, the more they add filters, distance, and possibly obfuscation between operations and policy. Yet military systems are not closed systems. They are open, complex systems, firmly integrated within broader societal, political, cultural, and economic systems. Boxing campaign design in a construct using hermetic definitions of military objectives and end-states may have value, but we must be aware of the dangers of losing sight of the aim. The logical, linear derivation of strategy from policy is thus affected by intrinsic fluctuations, making it somewhat of an iterative, parallel process. Acknowledging the inherent difficulties—and even incoherence—of strategy leads us to a new campaign design model, one in which the fluctuating conditions of the desired new order become a constantly reappraised focal point.

The Means

The military strategic level is the first to make an estimate of the military means required, an essential condition to gaining political approval for a strategic course of action. Since detailed operational-level planning has not yet begun, only a general idea of the force required can result from this process or, in the words of Maurice Matloff, one of the official historians of the US Army in World War II, “a ‘guess’ of what the task force commander might consider necessary.”64 Even then, differing assumptions and potential concepts mean that these estimates can vary greatly.65 A further complication is the fluctuating nature of the military forces required. Post-conflict operations may, for instance, involve more troops than decisive combat operations.66 Beyond the requirement for the establishment of security and all the other responsibilities of an occupying power,67 such a force is also instrumental in providing the strategic leverage alluded to before. For example, as late as 20 May 1919, some seven months after the armistice that terminated World War I, the Allies directed the deployment of a force of 42 divisions, including 200,000 American troops, and moved toward renewing the blockade of Germany, “preparing for the possibility that the Germans would not sign the peace treaty.”68 Elsewhere, the powers controlling the long Versailles treaty negotiations quickly saw their leverage decrease commensurately with the demobilization of their armed forces.69 Evolving strategic conditions therefore imply evolving operational-level means, a fact that greatly restrains campaign design.


Once a strategic course of action has some level of political agreement, there occurs, especially in a coalition environment, a complex set of negotiations involving “statements of requirements” by operational-level commanders, troop-contributing conferences, and so forth. Such a dynamic is a facet of the inseparable relationship between the operational and strategic levels. The most likely outcome of the force-generation process is a multinational force of very different capabilities and, even more important, differing mandates and political limitations. This may cause dismay in certain officers who forget William Slim’s adage, “There’s only one thing worse than having allies—that’s not having any.”70

National limitations to military missions and tasks are particularly misunderstood by senior coalition officers, as they appear to run against the military ethos of teamwork and sharing of risk. In fact, they merely reflect each nation’s appreciation of the threat to its own national security. Indeed, unless national survival or security is directly threatened, most democracies will, sensibly, assign mandates and rules of engagement that will restrict the employment of their contingent within a coalition. Yet nowhere in doctrine do we find mention of this. Presumably, then, forces are assumed to be available, trained, able, and without limitations. In limited war, this is an assumption that can lead to cognitive dissonance in the campaign design, as exemplified by NATO’s 1999 campaign in Kosovo. As a humanitarian intervention, the character of this campaign was essentially altruistic. Certainly, none of the NATO countries’ survival was threatened, which contributed to “significant disagreement . . . inside both the US and NATO militaries with regard to strategy and priorities”71 and corresponding limitations on the mandates of individual national contingents. In extreme cases, such as Afghanistan, the means can be so lacking that only a precarious end-state or a state of uneasy culmination can be envisaged in the near and mid terms. Campaign design must thus offer methods of quantifying shortfalls of means in terms of their impact on the formulation of strategic objectives.

The greatest difficulty in evaluating the means of a campaign lies, though, in another dimension. Since military systems are not closed systems, they must interact with all instruments of national or coalition power in the


achievement of the aim. Canada’s current operation in Afghanistan, for example, has embraced this concept as the “3D Approach” of defence, diplomacy, and development, “involving unprecedented levels of coordination among government departments and agencies.”72 While the idea of this kind of integration is not a new concept, recent operations and emerging doctrine have highlighted its critical importance.73 But the short length of today’s campaigns means that planners no longer have the leisure to prepare for conflict resolution activities as they had in past wars lasting years.74 Indeed, in World War II, “formal doctrine for military government [and] a School of Military Government was established at the University of Virginia, and thinking began there about postwar reconstruction” as early as the spring of 1942.75 In today’s environment, an ad hoc approach to operational-level campaign design involving all instruments of national power is insufficient. And although the requirement for a tight supporting and supported relationship between agencies is acknowledged in US doctrine,76 it is not translated into an integrated set of campaign design elements. We should now examine the ways of doing so.

The Ways

A number of new approaches to campaign design have been proposed to solve some of the challenges posed by the contemporary operating environment.77 They range from a refinement of the currently used elements to broad theories that have not yet yielded practical and integrated aids to campaign planners and whose linkages to the higher purpose of war are not apparent. The paragraphs that follow therefore propose a comprehensive approach, using redefined or new elements, and whose novelty resides chiefly in the full integration of campaign design with policy and strategy.

If we accept that there is a single interagency campaign, then military operations must be sequenced across the campaign’s entire breadth and depth to support the attainment of policy in full. That desired “resultant order” should be described as specifically as possible.78 For this, the focus must be on the conditions, which will be termed here “Campaign Termination Conditions.” These must be the object of improved, dynamic, and systemic reassessment. The weakness of the daily “campaign assessment” now being proposed under the aegis of emerging effects-based operations doctrine79 is that, apparently, it measures effects achieved as part of a campaign against the set of conditions initially envisioned as defining the strategic end-state, as opposed to an evolving or subsequent set of conditions. The latter may well call for a validation, from first principles, of the entire campaign design. Only after these conditions are visualized is it appropriate to start thinking in terms of method. From the Campaign Termination Conditions we derive “Campaign Objectives,” which serve to focus effort, facilitate the communication of the


commander’s intent, and establish a link to instruments of national and coalition power. The introduction of a single set of evolving Campaign Termination Conditions linking Campaign Objectives directly to policy goals is the key advantage here, one that ensures a truly integrated approach.

There also can be no question of “end-states” at artificial junctures in a campaign. Yet, it would be impractical for military planners to attempt the production of a single major operation covering such a vast endeavor in its entirety. A succession of major operations should therefore remain as critical segments of a campaign. The transition between each of these operations should also be defined by a set of forward-looking and evolving conditions whose purpose is to enable the sequel operation. These can be termed “Sequel Conditions,” eliminating the use of “end-states.” The final such set of conditions would coincide with Campaign Termination Conditions.

To illustrate, using the case of the recent US intervention in Iraq, the primary US or coalition policy goals could have been, simply, national security and regional stability. The Campaign Termination Conditions satisfying these goals have been expressed thus:

We would like Iraq to become a stable, united, and law-abiding state, within its present borders, cooperating with the international community, no longer posing a threat to its neighbors or to international security, abiding by all its international obligations and providing effective and representative government for its own people.80

The Campaign Objectives here could have been “Replacement of the Baath regime with a law-abiding democratic government,” “Elimination of the Iraqi military threat to the region,” and so on. If predominantly military means are chosen to achieve these objectives, it is possible to envision a sequence of at least two major operations hinging on the elimination of the old order and the emplacement of the new order. The Sequel Conditions defining this junction would therefore contain elements of both elimination and creation. Thus, a classical condition such as “Iraqi military forces defeated or capitulated” would coexist with one such as “A safe and secure environment established for civil government in Iraq,” with all that entails in terms of civil and military efforts.

Within an operation, certain sets of effects, or conditions, will need to be achieved before others or, put another way, arranged and sequenced. Decisive points remain useful here, although their focus should be on effects rather than on our own actions or supporting operations. “Enabling Effects” would be a more appropriate term, one that allows greater consideration of second- and third-order effects, a key element when planning sequel operations. More important, Enabling Effects must be identified as being under a civil or military lead.


Lines of operation can now be determined to link civil and military sets of effects and conditions. In theory, lines of operation should reflect the logical sequence or critical path of Enabling Effects. In practice, it may be more advantageous for them to reflect a theme, function, or sector of effects. This offers potential for clarifying the respective roles of military and civil agencies. The use of “Civil Lines of Operation” or “Military Lines of Operation” is also helpful terminology, as long as it is understood that they imply a “supporting/supported” framework, and not a compartmentalized approach. One of the finest examples of this kind of mutual support is found in the synergy achieved by the French in the war in Algeria, between some 400 civil-military development teams, local Algerian leadership, and French Army forces.81 That this relationship was not without complications and stresses remains, however, a constant of contemporary operations, as attested by the challenge of developing and implementing the “multi-year road map”82 in Bosnia. This document was, for all practical purposes, an operational-level interagency campaign plan using several lines of operation corresponding to different sectors of activity, such as the economy, good governance, rule of law, general security, and entity armed forces reductions. Each of these lines of operation had multiple, sequential sets of effects, or conditions, to achieve. This example also illustrates that Civil Lines of Operation often aim at long-term policy goals, extending therefore through “Military Sequel Conditions,” which tend to succeed each other at shorter intervals. A final, key characteristic of lines of operation is that they should not be directed at a conceptual center of gravity but should rather aim at the achievement of Campaign Objectives.


Campaign design involves finding ways to achieve strategic ends using strategically generated means. Its current interpretation has contributed to great military victories but has not guaranteed the achievement of policy. This is the product of a lingering belief in the quest for a battle of annihilation, and an overreliance on ill-defined concepts such as the center of gravity, which becomes a pole of attraction for all campaign design elements, even at the expense of the achievement of the policy goals.

Attempts to find solutions to this situation begin with a thorough analysis of the nature of the ends, allowing us to conclude that the new model of campaign design must acknowledge the inherent incoherence and, especially, the dynamic nature of strategy. The corollary is that the ends of that campaign, or Campaign Termination Conditions, must be understood to coincide with the end of the war and the beginning of the peace, incorporating the full achievement of policy. Campaign Termination Conditions may then be


arranged into Campaign Objectives aimed at focusing civil and military efforts. To that effect, military operations need to succeed each other in sequence, using a set of Sequel Conditions as transitions between them. Within each operation, Enabling Effects will continue that thread, allowing the sequencing of desired effects and their incorporation into lines of operation, directed at the achievement of Campaign Objectives, rather than the destruction or neutralization of a center of gravity or enemy force, and integrating all instruments of national or coalition power. This new model of campaign design acknowledges the wider purpose of major military operations, reunites operational art with strategy, and harmonizes military operations with other instruments of national power.


1. There are many synonymous terms for the various levels of war. For simplicity, this article uses: “policy” to convey what is implied in other terms such as geostrategy, grand strategy, war aims, etc.; “strategy” when referring to determination of military ends and means; and “operational art” when discussing the employment of military forces to achieve strategic objectives.

2. Xenophon, The Memorabilia, Book III-1, trans. H. G. Dakyns, p. 83,

3. Frederick W. Kagan, “War and Aftermath,” Policy Review, 120 (July-August 2003),

4. See, e.g., James Fallows, “Blind Into Baghdad,” The Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2004, pp. 53-74.

5. Kagan, “War and Aftermath.”

6. Antulio J. Echevarria II, Toward an American Way of War (Carlisle, Pa.: US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, March 2004), p. 7,

7. US Department of Defense, Joint Publication 3-0, Doctrine for Joint Operations (Washington: Department of Defense, 10 September 2001), p. III-25 (hereinafter JP 3.0). See also, e.g., Joint Publication 1, Joint Warfare of the Armed Forces of the United States (Washington: Department of Defense, 14 November 2000), p. II-5 (hereinafter JP 1); and NATO, Allied Joint Publication 3, Allied Joint Operations (Brussels: NATO, September 2002), p. 6-1 (hereinafter AJP-3).

8. Canada, Department of National Defence, B-GG-005-004/AF-000, Canadian Forces Operations (Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 18 December 2000), p. 3-1; and JP 3.0, p. I-1.

9. US joint doctrine terms some of these “Facets of Operational Art” (JP 3-0), while US Army doctrine calls them “Elements of Operational Design” (US Army, Field Manual 3-0, Operations [Washington: Department of the Army, June 2001]). Canadian Forces doctrine uses the term “Operational concepts in campaign design” (Canada, Department of National Defence, B-GJ-005-500/FP-00, CF Operational Planning Process [Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 6 November 2002]). Meanwhile, NATO doctrine uses “Planning tools/Key operational concepts” (AJP-3). Finally, UK doctrine calls them Campaign Planning Concepts (UK, Ministry of Defence, Joint Doctrine Publication 01, Joint Operations [Swindon, UK: Ministry of Defence, Joint Doctrine & Concept Centre, March 2004], p. 3-13). For simplicity, this paper will use the term “elements of campaign design.”

10. James K. Greer, “Operational Art for the Objective Force,” Military Review, 82 (September/October 2002), 22-23.

11. Department of Defense, Joint Publication 5-00.1, Joint Doctrine for Campaign Planning (Washington: Department of Defense, 25 January 2002), p. II-11 (hereinafter JP 5-00.1).

12. Ibid., p. II-12.

13. See, e.g., Joe Strange, “Centers of Gravity and Critical Vulnerabilities: Building on the Clausewitzian Foundation so that We Can All Speak the Same Language,” in Perspectives on Warfighting, No 4 (2d ed.; Quantico, Va.: Marine Corps University, 1996).

14. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, ed. and trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 1984), p. 258.

15. Simon Naveh, In Pursuit of Military Excellence, The Evolution of Operational Theory (London: Frank Cass, 1997), p. 71.


16. Echevarria, Toward an American Way of War, pp. 1-7.

17. Basil Liddell-Hart, The Strategy of Indirect Approach (London: Faber and Faber, 1941), p. 192.

18. Maurice Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1943-1944 (Washington: Department of the Army, Office of the Chief of Military History, 1959), pp. 10-11.

19. See, e.g., Antulio J. Echevarria II, Clausewitz’s Center of Gravity: Changing our Warfighting Doctrine—Again! (Carlisle, Pa.: US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, September 2002).

20. Ibid., p. 16.

21. Baron de Jomini, The Art of War (London: Greenhill Books, 1992), p. 86.

22. JP 5-00.1, p. GL-5.

23. AJP-3, p. 3-7.

24. Jomini, p. 91.

25. JP 5-00.1, p. B-1; and AJP-3, p. 3-8.

26. JP 5-00.1, p. B-1.

27. AJP-3, p. 3-8.

28. Tommy Franks, American Soldier (New York: Harper Collins, 2004), pp. 336-40.

29. JP 5-00.1, p. B-1; and AJP-3, p. 3-8.

30. AJP-3, p. 6-1.

31. Basil Liddell-Hart, The Strategy of Indirect Approach, p. 187.

32. Basil Liddell-Hart, History of the Second World War (London: Pan, 1973), p. 1.

33. Barry Buzan, Ole Waever, and Jaap de Wilde, Security, A New Framework Analysis (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 1998), p. 21.

34. Basil Liddell-Hart, The Strategy of Indirect Approach, p. 202. See also Clayton Newell, The Framework of Operational Warfare (London: Routledge, 1991), pp. 57-58.

35. See, e.g., Martin Van Creveld, The Transformation of War (New York: The Free Press, 1991), pp. 196-205.

36. Quoted in John Gooch, “Soldiers, Strategy and War Aims in Britain 1914-1918,” in War Aims and Strategic Policy in the Great War 1914-1918, ed. Barry Hunt and Adrian Preston (London: Rowman and Littlefield, 1977), p. 30.

37. Maxwell Taylor, Precarious Security (New York: W. W. Norton, 1976), pp. 17-18.

38. William Flavin, “Planning for Conflict Termination and Post-Conflict Success,” Parameters, 33 (Autumn 2003), 97.

39. US Department of Defense, DOD Dictionary of Military Terms,

40. JP 5-00.1, p. GL-8. Also known as “supporting military objectives” to political objectives (JP 1, pp. II-5, II-6) or as “military objectives” (JP 5-00.1, p. II-2).

41. JP 3.0, p. III-9. Also known as “objectives applicable to the combatant command or theater” (JP 3.0, p. II-3).

42. Objective Number 2, for example, “Take the appropriate military action to compel the Taliban to cease harbouring, and co-operating with Al-Qaeda” was clearly military while Objective Number 3, “Isolate the Taliban regime from all international support,” was more diplomatic in nature. Department of National Defence, Operation Apollo—Lessons Learned Staff Action Directive (Ottawa: Department of National Defence, April 2003), p. B-2/41.

43. Echevarria, Toward an American Way of War, p. 18. Italics in original.

44. Flavin, p. 96.

45. Weinberger Doctrine, available at

46. JP 5-00.1, p. GL-5.

47. The classical sense of the word means a prerequisite to something else (now sometimes called a “pre-condition”). It also can express a mode of being, meaning the state in which something, or a system of things, is set. Finally, emerging effects-based operations doctrine considers conditions to be the result of an action and its effect. See also US Department of Defense, “Operational Implications of Effects-based Operations,” Joint Doctrine Series, Pamphlet 7 (Norfolk, Va.: US Joint Forces Command, Joint Warfighting Center, 17 November 2004), p. 12.

48. JP 5-00.1, p. C-5; and JP 3.0, p. I-9. NATO doctrine, which generally retains only strategic objectives as the basis of campaign planning, also mentions operational objectives in its glossary of terms, although practice often considers them to be the same as strategic objectives (AJP-3, p. G-10).

49. Maurice Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942 (Washington: Department of the Army, Office of the Chief of Military History, 1953), pp. 97-98, 119.

50. Franks, pp. 330-31.

51. Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942, p. 156.


52. George C. Marshall, “Notes on Meeting at White House,” 23 December 1941, quoted in Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1943-1944, p. 105.

53. Interestingly, Roosevelt was also very detailed in the way he later implemented this decision, outlining, for example, how many divisions were to go where, how fast, the rerouting of airplanes, etc. Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942, p. 273.

54. Alan Brooke, Diary, quoted in David Rigby, “The Combined Chiefs of Staff and Anglo-American Strategic Coordination in World War II,” Ph.D. thesis, Brandeis University, 1996, p. 119.

55. JP 1, p. II-6.

56. Liddell-Hart, The Strategy of Indirect Approach, p. 187.

57. JP 1, p. II-5.

58. Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (London: Pocket Books, 2004), pp. 1-2, 154-55, 328.

59. These goals were formulated by the United States and communicated to NATO ambassadors on 22 March 1999. Benjamin S. Lambeth, NATO’s Air War for Kosovo: A Strategic and Operational Assessment (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2001), p. 10.

60. William M. Arkin, “Operation Allied Force: The Most Precise Application of Air Power in History,” in War over Kosovo, ed. Andrew J. Bacevich and Eliot A. Cohen (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2001), pp. 4, 10, 12, 16.

61. Kent Roberts Greenfield, American Strategy in World War II: A Reconsideration (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1963), pp. 4-10.

62. John Gooch, pp. 21, 44.

63. Barbara W. Tuchman, The Guns of August (Toronto: Bantam, 1980), p. 488. See also Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919 (New York: Random House, 2003), pp. 26-28.

64. Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1943-1944, p. 114.

65. See, e.g., the narrative of strategic planning for the landing in North Africa in 1942, ibid., pp. 105-07. The development of the plan for the US intervention in Iraq in 2002 is another example.

66. See, e.g., James D. Scudieri, Iraq 2003-4 and Mesopotamia 1914-18: A Comparative Analysis in Ends and Means (Carlisle, Pa.: US Army War College, Center for Strategic Leadership, Student Issue Paper S04-07, August 2004), p. 16; and Fallows, pp. 64-65, 72.

67. As stipulated in the 1907 Hague Convention, 1949 Geneva Convention, and its 1977 First Additional Protocol 1949, in AJP-3, p. 6-7.

68. Conrad C. Crane and W. Andrew Terrill, Reconstructing Iraq: Insights, Challenges, and Missions for Military Forces in a Post-Conflict Scenario (Carlisle, Pa.: US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, February 2003), p. 13; and MacMillan, pp. 471-72.

69. MacMillan, 159, 267-68.

70. William Slim, Higher Command in War, transcript of 1952 address to US Army Command and General Staff College (New York: Brown Univ. Press, 1999), pp. 9-16.

71. Arkin, p. 4.

72. Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), “Beyond Peace: Canada in Afghanistan,” in Canada World View, Issue 20 (Ottawa: DFAIT, Autumn 2003), p. 4. See also Paul Martin, Address by Prime Minister Paul Martin at CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick (Ottawa: Office of the Prime Minister, 14 April 2004),

73. US Department of Defense, “Operational Implications of Effects-based Operations,” pp. 2, 4, 7, 11.

74. Echevarria, Toward an American Way of War, pp. 13-14.

75. Crane and Terrill, p. 13.

76. JP 5.00-1, p. II-5.

77. Greer, e.g., summarizes five apparently exclusive alternatives: current doctrine, systems approach, effects-based operations, destroy-dislocate-disintegrate, and center of gravity to critical vulnerability. Greer, pp. 27-28.

78. Newell, pp. 57-58.

79. Stephen Runals, “Effects-Based Planning and Operations, An Overview,” presentation at the Quadripartite Combined Joint Warfare Conference, US Joint Warfare Command, Arlington, Va., 2 June 2004, pp. 22-25. See also US Department of Defense, “Operational Implications of Effects-based Operations,” pp. 16-17.

80. UK, Parliament, “Statement by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Jack Straw),” 7 January 2003,

81. Alistair Horne, A Savage War of Peace, Algeria 1954-1962 (New York: Penguin, 1987), pp. 109, 165, 220.

82. Kerensa Hardy, “Multi-Year Road Map Tracks SFOR Progress,” SFOR Informer Online,

Lieutenant-Colonel Pierre Lessard (Canadian Forces) graduated in 1985 from the Royal Military College at St-Jean, Canada, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He was commissioned in the Canadian Infantry (Royal 22d Regiment) in 1985 and commanded a mechanized infantry platoon with NATO in Germany in 1985-87, a mechanized infantry company with UNPROFOR in Bosnia in 1993, and a LAV3 infantry battle-group with NATO in Bosnia in 2002. He is currently a member of the directing staff of the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

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Reviewed 12 May 2005. Please send comments or corrections to