PLANNING FOR AND APPLYING MILITARY FORCE:
AN EXAMINATION OF TERMS
Paul K. Van Riper
Who was it that said the corruption was in the fine print?--maybe me! I read this Paper by Lt. Gen. Van Riper, and began to percieve the real evil of Pentagon Staff bureaucracy. That Evil consists of multiplex confusion. I decided to present some of my own personal definitions to Those interested, simply to simplify or confuse.
Observations of this Author:
1) Center of Gravity--This refers specifically to what element in the Enemy culture or economy must be defeated, in order to engender Peace. Von Clauswitz lacked visualization of the true nature of warfare, where warfare is actually a transitional phase. We seek to disturb one plateau of Peace, in order to effect another plateau of Peace which is to Our own more favorable advantage. The center of gravity is that forestalling element in Enemy society which prevents the more favorable Peace.
2) Decisive Points--Are exactly those elements of Enemy society and economy which will have to be eliminated.
3) Objectives--Are exactly the identification of Decisive Points, along with the Means of destruction of those Decisive Points. The Means possess real relevance in the Discussion because of overuse or underuse of military hardware--the worry of insufficient Fire, or of the use of too much Gun. One would not use a nuclear weapon to take out a machine gun post, or should One try to take out a fortified position with a BB gun.
4) Planning--Needs to cease at the point of Conflict, with the Commander allowed free rein to utilize all Weaponry alloted in the manner presenting the best advantage of Fire in his perception. It need be his decision alongside his responsibility.
5) Commander or Command Intent--should be renamed Battle Situation. Such a Statement should be an assessment of opposing Enemy forces, identification of the Objective, assessment of the basic Ways to accomplish the Objective, and the basic Time elements of when to cease military operations--whether the Objective has been attained or not. Both Considerations must be outlined to limit battle Casualties, and granting the Commander ability and right to exploit realized Gains in excess of the initial Objective.
Identification of an End-State in warfare is an exercise in futility, unless One is a skilled Prophet. The result of Combat operations is a Product of Command exercise and choice on both Sides, fraught with unestimated percentage variables. Searching for some specific Scenario will inevitably leave Command and Staff unsatisfied. Warfare is like unto a Business enterprise--it will make a Profit or fail; no one can foretell the level of Profit, or the total Cost of failure. lgl