The Categorization of Conflict


From Parameters, Summer 1997, pp. 75-87.

The UN forces in Bosnia had called it "celebratory fire." The Implementation Force (IFOR) commanders renamed it "indisciplined fire." The men of the 1st Armored Division called it "a bad thing." Uncertain of the welcome of Croat, Serb, or Muslim factions in the tense, initial days of Operation Joint Endeavor, the "Iron Soldiers" of the 1st Armored did not appreciate Kalishnikovs shattering the air in commemoration of Ramadan, the Serbian Orthodox New Year, or the whim of indisciplined celebrators.

On 21 January 1996, an AK-47 let loose near a US dismounted patrol in the Zone of Separation. As rounds ripped through the troop formation of D Company, 3d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, the soldiers realized that this fire was not celebratory and instinctively sought cover. Tumbling behind the protection of their overwatching M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the patrol chambered rounds and brought their weapons off safe.

The rules of engagement were to "use only the minimum force necessary to defend yourself." But they also authorized deadly return of fire: "You may open fire against an individual who fires or aims his weapon at you, friendly forces, or persons with designated special status under your protection." The distraction of AK-47 rounds slamming off the side of the Bradley may have added microseconds to the decision process. But in microseconds this post-Cold War engagement was over. The attacker was an elderly, intoxicated civilian. Local residents rushed out of their homes and wrestled him to the ground. They were thoroughly apologetic for their inebriated neighbor. The patrol disarmed him, detained him, and turned him over to local police authorities. D Company, 3-5 Cav, then continued its reconnaissance into the New World Order.

That night at our mess table in Tuzla Base, we relentlessly dissected the day's incident. We felt no shame in this, for as members of the Combined Arms Assessment Team, second-guessing was our job.[1]

"This was a very bad thing." declared one observer. "That Bradley should have traversed turret and hosed down that guy, his house, and his neighbors' houses left and right. This is a peace enforcement mission. Too bad for the drunk, but with such a clear violation of the Agreement[2] he had it coming. Immediate, decisive reaction would have sent a clear signal to all the factions that the kinder and gentler days of the UN are over. Now the factions will declare open season on IFOR."

"No," argued another observer, "this was a very good thing. We can hardly convince the factions that compliance with the Agreement is to their benefit if neighborhoods go up in smoke every time somebody makes a mistake. This is a peace keeping mission. Whatever faction that guy belonged to would hardly view us as neutral if we hosed him down. Yeah--he had it coming. But that would not be the perception of his group. By either prudence or indecision, Delta 3-5 Cav preserved our neutrality today."

"Actually," offered a third party, "it is debatable whether this is a peace keeping or a peace enforcement mission. If you believe that all these factions accept the legitimacy of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, then this is peacekeeping. But we all know that their attitudes vary widely. I doubt that our senile, trigger-happy friend today has ever even heard of the Dayton Accords."

Our conversation touched on much that night, from the strategic potential of tactical actions to God's proclivity to look out for drunks. We were revisiting an enduring Army debate: the categorization of conflict. As illustrated in the above anecdote, diverse interpretations of category--peace keeping vice peace enforcement--can lead to disparate judgments and conclusions. On a broader scale, conflict, war, operations other than war, and other ways of categorizing military activity can similarly influence our perceptions and our actions. How did we arrive at these fundamental categorizations? Are our current categories about right? Can we do better? The initial draft of the 1998 revision of FM 100-5, Operations, suggests that we can.

Categorical Thinking

We categorize continuously and for good reason. There are immense benefits to categorical thinking. If athletes are preparing for a weekend game, for example, it is helpful to know that the general category of sport will be football. With the declaration of a particular sport comes a useful framework of football theory, procedures, and expected behavior. Categorization both narrows the universe of potential problems and expedites their solution.

Although there are benefits to categorical thinking, there are limits as well. Categories may not neatly model the underlying reality. A team that shows up ready to play football may face disaster if the game turns out to be soccer. A team that trains for either football or soccer might be handicapped confronting opponents who play both football and soccer simultaneously. This metaphor is leading, of course, to our post-Cold War dilemma. No one can say with certainty who we'll play next weekend, or what the game will be.

How We Slice It

Many of our doctrinal disputes over the last two decades have been associated with the categorization of conflict. People appear to care, and care vehemently, about "how we slice it."

The premiere categorical controversy of the 1980s was intense; more specifically, it was about intensity. Job One of the Cold War was the "big war": the defense of Western Europe against attack by the Warsaw Pact, whether conventional, nuclear, or both. But outside this principal focus on Armageddon lay Vietnam, the Arab-Israeli wars, and a seemingly endless series of insurgencies and disturbances that distracted our attention and appeared to merit recognition in doctrine. Enter the spectrum of conflict, in which we attempted to categorize conflict by its intensity: high, medium, or low.

Some officers may pine for the days of the Cold War, but few lament the demise of the spectrum of conflict. The notion of low-intensity conflict (LIC) drew paradoxically intense criticism. A sampling:

In addition to a cottage industry of anguished essays and doctrinal food fights, the spectrum of conflict category generated real operational problems. Allied and partner nations were offended to find themselves the object of only low-intensity support, particularly when their fate did indeed "hang in the balance." The term was irretrievably wed to Cold War counterinsurgency,[6] even though its technical definition was much broader. Finally, the term was absent from the lexicon of the Department of State and other interagency participants.[7]

Although the Army and Air Force had been comfortable enough with the term to organize the Army-Air Force Center for Low Intensity Conflict (CLIC) at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, LIC's debut in joint doctrine was short-lived. A test version of Joint Publication 3-07, Doctrine for Joint Operations in Low Intensity Conflict, met with such enthusiastic protest that the Army-Air Force Center for Low Intensity Conflict abandoned its namesake term in the final publication. The 1986 version of Unified Action Armed Forces (JCS Pub 2), meanwhile, charged the joint community with preparation for two general categories of activity, "effective prosecution of war" and "military operations short of war."[8] In 1990, the test version of JCS Pub 3-0, Operations, proffered an operational continuum of three "general states" of peacetime competition, conflict, and war within which various types of military operational activities are conducted.[9]

The Army, too, was reluctant to give the spectrum of conflict top billing. Although it had introduced the term to doctrine in the 1981 FM 100-20, Low Intensity Conflict, only the high end of the spectrum was of real interest in the 1982 and 1986 versions of the keystone doctrinal statement, FM 100-5, Operations. In the 1993 revision of FM 100-5, however, the Army undertook a deliberate expansion in the scope of its keystone doctrine. The fundamentals of Army operations (Chapter 2) presented a range of military operations encompassing war and operations other than war, and closely paralleled the draft JCS Pub 3-0 with three states of the environment: war, conflict, and peacetime. The topic of operations other than war was given its own chapter and even its own set of principles.

The latest surge of joint doctrinal activity brings the saga up to date. The joint community abandoned the operational continuum model of the test version of JCS Pub 3-0, even though the Army had institutionalized it in FM 100-5. The 1995 version of JCS Pub 3-0 established a bifurcated range of military operations, consisting of war and military operations other than war.[10] The latter category, Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW), was further articulated to differentiate those actions involving the use or threat of force from those that do not.

Joint Pub 3-07, Joint Doctrine for Military Operations Other Than War, was approved in June 1995. The next month, however, at their July 1995 conference, the regional commanders-in-chief (CINCs) decided "we should minimize the term MOOTW in our messages and publications."[11] In an August 1995 unclassified message the Director of the Joint Staff noted, "Improper usage of the term military operations other than war can create confusion and may imply there is a diminished need to provide for the security of US/multinational forces."[12]

Categorical Discontent

Categorical contentment continues to elude us. On its surface, the current distinction between war and military operations other than war appears explicit and simple. The devil, as usual, is in the details. First come the concerns of the intellectual purists, who are reluctant to define the MOOTW phenomenon by what it is not. Once past the discomfort of definition by negation, however, one could proceed to the doctrinal definition of war, understanding that military operations other than war include everything else. If only we could agree on a definition of war. . . .

The 1993 revision of FM 100-5 defines war as "a state of open and declared armed hostile conflict between political units such as states or nations; may be limited or general in nature."[13] Yet there is no definition of war in joint doctrine, and that is intentional.[14] The FM 100-5 definition, moreover, is hopelessly at odds with the 1993 operational continuum of peace, conflict, and war.

This ambiguity with respect to war and conflict is not restricted to the military. An Associated Press article in late 1996 complained of the wide disparity in current accounting of conflicts and war. The National Defense Council Foundation reported "a conflictive world" of 64 "hot spots." The Center for Defense Information listed 27 active conflicts. The CIA announced a total of 28.[15]

One potential clarification would be a constitutional approach that accepts war as whatever the Congress declares it to be. This approach, however, could bring the term war to obsolescence, since by this definition all military operations since World War II have been military operations other than war. Michael Howard commented on this ambiguity in The Lessons of History:

It is quite possible that war in the sense of major, organized conflict between highly developed societies may not recur. . . . Nevertheless violence will continue to erupt within developed societies as well as underdeveloped, creating situations of local armed conflict often indistinguishable from traditional war.[16]

Former Chief of Staff of the Army General Gordon Sullivan remarked on the distinctions between war and MOOTW:

Their simplicity can be seductive. Categorizing "war" as separate from all other uses of force may mislead the strategist, causing him to believe that the conditions required for success in the employment of military force when one is conducting "war" differ from use of military force in "operations other than war."[17]

For all the agony and good intentions associated with bringing Operations Other Than War (OOTW) into the house of doctrine in the 1993 revision of FM 100-5, the Army has gained little approbation. Some view the inclusion of OOTW under the roof of keystone doctrine as a serious dilution of our warrior ethos. Others, however, view the OOTW chapter in the 1993 FM 100-5 as mere lip service. In their perspective, OOTW was brought into the house of doctrine, but then perniciously quarantined in a back closet with its own unique principles and special considerations, reinforcing the perception of OOTW as being completely "other than" what we do as an Army.

Nor has the Army's lone, dogged effort in its operational continuum (peace, conflict, war) to redefine conflict as a state between peace and war gained favor with the passage of time. FM 100-5 states that conflict is "characterized by hostilities to secure strategic objectives" but does not volunteer how such activity is distinct from war. It is simply too ambitious, moreover, to hope that a doctrinal definition can reverse centuries of usage in the English language in which conflict has always been a broader notion that encompasses war as one form of conflict.[18]

The category controversy, now over a decade in duration, was given new energy in late 1995 when the Army's Training and Doctrine Command issued a message citing the August 1995 Joint Staff directive to minimize the use of MOOTW:

The term "OOTW" has served us well to provide increased visibility for new types of operations over the past several years. We have reached a point in our post-Cold War doctrinal development so we can speak with more precision about Army operations in peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, peacemaking, and other specific missions. Since "OOTW" has served its purpose, we should begin to retire the term, while maintaining and enlarging the vital lessons learned in specific areas.[19]

The message went on to explain that the intent was not "to replace the term with another buzz word, or eliminate it outright. Simply want to let Army use of it fade away over a period of several years."[20]

The TRADOC Commander's OOTW philosophy arguably became the most widely distributed "personal for" message in Army history, generating a controversy within the doctrine community that refuses to "fade away." Those who have resisted the dichotomy between war and OOTW rejoice. Another group, suffering from what can only be characterized as "categorization combat fatigue," have little stomach to revisit the wrenching debates of the past. They will typically admit that there are deficiencies in the term, but they have no confidence that there is a magic alternative phrase awaiting discovery. Their cynicism may have been borne out in the intervening months, because although the TRADOC message specifically eschewed replacing OOTW "with another buzz word," the Army instinct for categorization was irrepressible. A draft revision of FM 100-20 was labeled "Stability and Support Operations," precipitating the rumor that SASO would replace OOTW. Finally, some in the doctrine community are legitimately concerned that it was the Army that conceived the term and sold it to the joint doctrine community. It would be unseemly, in their opinion, to walk away. To parody their protest somewhat: "It's too late. The Army sold this term to the joint community. They adopted it, and so did many of our allies and multinational partners. We can't think about this anymore."

Comprehensive Doctrine: FM 100-5, Operations (1998)

But think about it we must, for the Army has initiated yet another revision of FM 100-5, Operations. The revision cannot ignore the categorization issue, moreover, because the initiating directive includes guidance to "Fold . . . military activities short of general war into the body of Army operational doctrine and not treat them as separate. . . . [T]he term OOTW should not appear."[21] At the same time, Army Chief of Staff General Dennis Reimer and Army Secretary Togo West have declared that "America's Army is a capabilities-based force" that "does not pick its missions and must, therefore, remain capable across the full spectrum of requirements."[22] The 1998 revision of FM 100-5 must be a comprehensive doctrine that establishes our best thinking on the conduct of operations across this entire "spectrum of requirements."

There is a growing perception in the US Army that "operations are operations." Whether those operations occur in a strategic environment of war or other than war is not uniformly significant. For political and diplomatic leadership it is a vital distinction. For an operational lawyer, it is noteworthy. For a soldier in 3-5 Cav trying to crawl inside his flak jacket, however, it is irrelevant. Soldiers do what they are told to do, and doctrine should offer the best available thought on what it will take to accomplish the given task.

The initial coordinating draft of the 1998 revision of FM 100-5 proposes, therefore, that although there are advantages to categorical thinking, there are limits as well. There are fundamental ideas--principles, tenets, functions, guidance for command, planning, execution, and logistics--applicable across the entire range of "the things we do." They are addressed without categorization. There are other aspects--purposes, phases, types of maneuver, and imperatives--unique to various categories of activity. The draft revision identifies those general categories and their associated particulars. Comprehensive doctrine must strike a balance, simultaneously illuminating what is common and what is unique across the range of operations. (See Figure 1 below.)

The draft revision applies the purpose of an operation to distinguish four general categories: offense, defense, stability, and support.

The draft revision addresses each category of operations in its own chapter, elaborating the unique purpose, types, phases, and imperatives of the relevant category.

Just as important as the idea of category is the notion of combinations of these categories. "Pure" operations in any of the offensive, defensive, stability, and support categories will be a rarity. Units typically implement combinations of these categories over time and across echelons of command.

Across the time span of an operation, a force may shift emphasis from one operational category to another. Initial Desert Shield deployments of Third US Army were primarily a stability operation to deter Saddam Hussein and reassure our allies. Soon we had a force strong enough to defend Saudi Arabia and compel him to remain in Kuwait. With Desert Storm we transitioned to an offensive operation that compelled him to leave Kuwait, and support operations were subsequently required to meet the needs of the citizens of Kuwait and northern Iraq.

The combination of categories is also evident across the vertical echelons of command and control. A headquarters will often have subordinate units conducting different operations, yet all operating in the context of the higher commander's intent. A corps, for example, may be conducting an offensive operation in its main effort, while several brigades conduct a defense. Some units may be engaged in a stability operation in the corps rear areas, or even support operations for battlefield refugees.

At senior levels, commanders will almost invariably be exercising combinations of these categories of operations. When assigned a mission, therefore, a commander analyzes the factors of the situation to determine how and to what degree the categories are to be incorporated into the overall concept of the operation. No category is left unconsidered, and the potential to transition rapidly from one general category to another is ever-present.

The 1998 revision will follow the joint lead and abandon the attempt to treat conflict as a tool of categorization. Two important refinements will enrich the treatment of conflict in Army doctrine. The first will be the recognition that linkage pervades all aspects of conflict. The draft acknowledges linkage across three complementary spheres of influence, or domains, of conflict: the physical, the informational, and the moral.

These domains are presented as simultaneous, completely interdependent aspects of the conflict environment, not as tools of categorization. They reinforce the linkage of Army, joint, multinational, and interagency activity in strategy, operations, and tactics.

Second, comprehensive doctrine requires a comprehensive set of principles. The draft revision of FM 100-5 proposes a fused set of principles of operations. Many of the valuable ideas associated with the 1993 principles of operations other than war were salvaged as imperatives in the appropriate stability or support operations chapters.

The Coming Debate

The initial coordinating draft proposals described above are but an opening argument. The Army should welcome a debate on the fundamental issue of categorization, for a vigorous dialogue will be essential for a sound, collective understanding in doctrine. Some aspects of that debate are already visible.

"Comprehensive doctrine is a mistake."

Some will argue that the very notion of comprehensive doctrine is a mistake. They might contend that doctrine should not prepare the Army for operations which they view as bad policy, diplomacy and national strategy notwithstanding. Doctrine should address only actual combat, for, they fear, non-combat activities dilute the warrior ethos and overall readiness:

The ability of the restructured force to fight and win two regional conflicts is suspect. One big reason for this is the focus on OOTW, and the debilitating effect such operations have on the capability of the military to be combat ready, deployable, and psychologically able to fight.[23]

This is a politically charged issue, and the Army should certainly review the training and readiness implications associated with our recent deployments. But it is not clear that these requirements are completely counter to readiness for combat. The current assessment of our Bosnia deployment, for example, is that proficiency for large-scale maneuver by battalion and brigade declines after extensive commitment in such operations. But many small-unit skills are reinforced, as noted by a brigade commander in Bosnia:

I read a lot that would indicate that folks within the Army think we're losing a lot of our skills in terms of heavy operations. Some of that's obviously true. But crews are spending lots of time in Bradleys and tanks. The artillery community is working hard here. We do daily hip shoots--dry. Much work is being done to keep those skills up to a high level. The engineers have never worked as hard as they do in this sector. These guys do more combat engineering in a month than most engineers do in an entire career--with mine clearance overwatch, route clearance, construction of cantonment areas--the base camps--they're stressed out. And within this command post, the planning process has not suffered a bit . . . I think this brigade could transition to heavy operations in short order.[24]

Many of the nay-sayers believe that stability operations and support operations are squishy, unmanly duty, but those who have been more directly involved dispute that perception. Commenting on his Operation Joint Endeavor experience, an officer of the 1st Armored Division noted, "It would be incorrect to describe that mission as a peacekeeping operation. It's far more accurate to characterize it as a combat operation in which no shots were fired."[25]

It is not clear, moreover, that the notion of readiness for a comprehensive range of strategic requirements is a radical departure for our doctrine. The following citation from doctrine seems remarkably current:

United States military forces must be able to operate effectively across the spectrum of war, in any area where conflict may occur, and under any foreseeable restraints, employing their military power selectively in accordance with assigned missions and prescribed limitations. The force they apply must be both adequate to, and consistent with, assigned objectives. United States military forces must, therefore, be capable of operating effectively throughout the world in . . . wars in infinite combinations of locale, intensity, duration, and participants.[26]

The fact that the above citation is from the 1962 version of FM 100-5, Operations, tells us that this is not the first time that the Army has perceived the need for comprehensive doctrine.

"OOTW is a good category. Leave it alone."

Others will argue that comprehensive doctrine is not a mistake, and that OOTW is a useful categorization. The defenders of OOTW have two authentic motivations. First, they fear that loss of the label signals a concomitant loss of attention and resources for the activities associated with it. Second, they point out the utility of affording a clear distinction that reinforces the military strategic role short of war.

A careful examination of the 1998 revision should allay the first concern. The equal treatment of the four categories of operations significantly mainstreams these activities, freeing them from "other than" status. The second concern is legitimate, but it does not follow that a strategic distinction such as war and other than war has similar utility at the operational and tactical levels. To attempt to draw tactical implications from a strategic descriptor--an ambiguous one at that--simply will not do.

There is evidence, in fact, that the label can have some unfavorable consequences. During the early phases of the train-up for Operation Joint Endeavor, trainers at the Combat Maneuver Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany, found that units slated for duty in Bosnia initially tended to overlook fundamental requirements associated with intelligence preparation of the battlefield, fire planning, and security. Trainers reported that many units assumed these combat activities were not relevant to an "other than war" situation. This perception was corrected, but the consequences of a mere label cannot be dismissed.

"Categorize by combat."

Recognizing that a strategic distinction between war and OOTW is problematic at the tactical level, others are prepared to use tactical distinctions as the basis of categorization. Combat and non-combat is an alluring way to categorize operations, for there is widespread agreement that the use or threat of violence dramatically alters the nature of human activity. Fair enough. This distinction is present (but often overlooked) in the joint doctrine elaboration of MOOTW activities, and it is the basis for discriminating between stability operations and support operations in the draft revision of FM 100-5. But combat, real or potential, is so interwoven with non-combat activities in most military operations that it is an impractical means of categorization. To categorize by combat would suggest that D Company, 3-5 Cav, was on a non-combat operation until the drunk staggered into his front yard and started firing; then the operation instantly transmuted to combat. It is impossible to associate substantive planning and execution guidance with such a fleeting, transient model of categorization. As Major General Carl F. Ernst noted in the Joint Task Force Somalia After Action Report, "All commanders must believe they are always only a heartbeat away from a gunfight."[27]

"This is embarrassing."

It was the Army that sold the joint community and our multinational partners on "OOTW." How, then, can we walk away from the term?

Have we no shame? Indeed, this is enough to make even a doctrine-writer blush. But the history of doctrine is no stranger to false starts. In the past we have seen claims for the efficacy of the bayonet attack, the marginal military utility of aeroplanes, and the irrelevancy of conventional forces in a nuclear age. What can we say? We beg forgiveness and ask for the opportunity to get on with the search for a better idea.

It is always possible, moreover, that there is room for some creative tension in our approach to categorization. We have pointed out that the distinction between war and OOTW is most applicable at the strategic levels of consideration. The joint community may be prepared to accept the term, along with its implicit deficiencies, but only the hobgoblin of consistency would insist that the term must also be imposed on operational and tactical considerations of land warfare. Consistency is one thing; contradiction is another. The notion of four categories of operations does not contradict the joint description of a strategic environment of war or OOTW. It is entirely possible that an alternative, noncontradictory method of categorization is more appropriate at the operational and tactical levels.

Categories and Consequences

More than a century ago, the English philosopher F. H. Bradley wrote that "appearance leaves the world more glorious, if we feel it is a show of some fuller splendour; but the sensuous curtain is a deception . . . if it hides some colourless movement of atoms, some . . . unearthly ballet of bloodless categories."[28] Eight years into the post-Cold War era, we have a deeper appreciation for the "fuller splendour" of the complete range of military operations. Our strategic environment is complex and chaotic, an environment that routinely frustrates the strictures of bloodless categories.

This frustration will not cause us to resist the impulse to categorical thinking. Indeed, in times of chaos and complexity, nothing is more instinctive. But categorization brings consequences. We ignore the logical channeling and predispositions derived from our categorizations of conflict at great risk. The proposed revision of FM 100-5 attempts to strike a balance, categorizing our operations according to purpose, while acknowledging that only agile, flexible combinations of these categories can meet the complete range of strategic requirements. Is this about right? Let the debate begin.

How can I read it? How can I comment?

The Initial Draft of the 1998 FM 100-5 was put into Army distribution on 4 April 1997. To view the complete draft, offer comments, or download the book, visit the FM 100-5 web site at:

Comments can be entered at the web site or sent to the writing team by fax to 913-758-3309 or DSN 585-3309, or by email to:


1. The Center for Army Lessons Learned organized and dispatched a group of observers to capture lessons learned--a Combined Arms Assessment Team (CAAT). The author was Team Chief of CAAT I - Bosnia.

2. The General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP), popularly known as the "Dayton Accords." Task Force Eagle soldiers were encouraged to use the term GFAP in lieu of "Dayton Accords."

3. John S. Fulton, "The Debate About Low-Intensity Conflict," Military Review, 66 (February 1986), 61.

4. Dennis M. Drew, "Insurgency and Counterinsurgency: American Dilemmas and Doctrinal Proposals," thesis, Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research and Education, USAF Air University, September 1987, p. 5.

5. John R. Galvin, "Uncomfortable Wars: Toward a New Paradigm," Parameters, 16 (Winter 1986), 7.

6. One of the first doctrinal uses of the term, in the 1981 FM 100-20, was focused almost exclusively on counterinsurgency. Over the next several years, a series of 100-20 Field Circulars expanded the scope of low-intensity conflict. (Richard M. Swain, "Removing Square Pegs from Round Holes: Low-Intensity Conflict in Army Doctrine," Military Review, 67 [December 1987]).

7. Ann E. Story and Aryea Gottlieb, "Beyond the Range of Military Operations," Joint Force Quarterly, Autumn 1995, p. 99.

8. Joint Chiefs of Staff Publication 2, Unified Action Armed Forces (Washington: GPO, December 1986), p. 2-1.

9. Joint Chiefs of Staff, JCS Pub 3-0 (Test).

10. JP 3-07, Joint Doctrine for Military Operations Other than War, followed the lead of JP 3-0.

11. Unclassified Message, Director of the Joint Staff, 311514Z Subject: "Joint Doctrine for Military Operations Other than War."

12. Ibid.

13. US Army, Field Manual 100-5, Operations (Washington: GPO, 1993), p. G-9.

14. Action officers involved in attempts to insert explicit definitions of war in joint doctrine have informed me that legal advisors resist attempts to define war in order to preserve room for interpretation of military operations before both Congress and international courts.

15. David Briscoe, "Wars, or Rumors of Wars? Wonks Differ," Washington Times, 30 December 1996, p. 13.

16. Michael Howard, The Lessons of History (London: Yale Univ. Press, 1991), p. 176.

17. James Dubik and Gordon Sullivan, "Land Warfare in the 21st Century," Military Review, 73 (September 1993), 20.

18. A message by Colonel (ret.) Peter Herrly on the doctrine "list serve" (army-doctrine, 02:56 PM 12/18/95, subject: "OOTW or What?") offered an insight into the history of the "operational continuum":

There was a strong effort with an early Army authored draft of Joint Pub 3-0 to get the Armed Forces to adopt a "continuum" with the three stages of peace, "conflict," and war. That use of "conflict" to describe the middle area was fatally flawed--because of the simple fact that for virtually all Americans "conflict" is a very general term which ENCOMPASSES "war" (as one form of human conflict). No general/admiral on the Joint Staff or any other service staff was ever able to get past the basic problem with taking a normal English word and distorting it in such a fashion. As General Powell told me when I brought the whole issue up with him, using "conflict" like that would require reeducating entire generations of military officers.

19. Commander, TRADOC, Message, "Commander TRADOC's Philosophy on the Term `Operations Other Than War,'" Personal For Message DTG 272016Z Oct 95. Released by Colonel Robert Killebrew, HQ TRADOC, 31 March 1997.

20. Ibid.

21. General Hartzog, FM 100-5, Operations, directive to Lieutenant General L. D. Holder, 27 October 1995.

22. General Dennis Reimer and Secretary Togo West, "Force of Decision . . . Capabilities for the 21st Century," Department of the Army White Paper, Washington, D.C., 15 April 1996, p. 13.

23. Richard L. Strube, Jr., "Operations Other Than War and Their Ramifications for U.S. Military Capability," Army, January 1997, p. 9.

24. Commander of a Brigade Combat Team, Operation Joint Endeavor. "Initial Impressions Report, Operation Joint Endeavor, Task Force Eagle Initial Operations," Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL), US Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, p xiv.

25. Sean D. Naylor, "Readiness is in Eyes of Beholder," Special Report, Army Times, 17 February 1997, p. 18.

26. FM 100-5, Operations (1962), p. 8.

27. Major General Carl F. Ernst, Joint Task Force Somalia After Action Review (undated slide briefing).

28. F. H. Bradley, "Principles of Logic," Book 3, Part 2, Chapter 4, 1883, cited in Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (4th ed.; New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1992), p. 139.

Colonel David A. Fastabend has served since June 1996 on the FM 100-5 Writing Team at the School of Advanced Military Studies, US Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Before his current assignment he held a War College fellowship as the Army National Security Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has commanded a combat engineer battalion, served as the speechwriter for USCINCPAC, and written several articles on military doctrine. He is a graduate of the US Military Academy, the US Army Command and General Staff College, and the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS). He holds master's degrees in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in military arts and science from SAMS.

Reviewed 12 May 1997. Please send comments or corrections to