Sunday, March 20, 2011

What is the best warfighting strategy?

It is interesting to compare the allied strategy in Libya:
But the first shots fired didn’t appear to produce an immediate collapse in the rule of Qadhafi, who has surprised his enemies with his resilience. Qadhafi’s tenacity, both in his present circumstance and as evidenced over decades of survival in a very tough neighborhood, begs the question of what happens if this self-consciously limited allied response does not succeed in chasing him from power.

Allied leaders so far haven’t provided defining answers; in fact, quite the contrary. In a series of comments and communiques over the weekend, American, British, and French officials stressed that they aren’t attacking Qadhafi’s forces to achieve “regime change” – while at the same time maintaining, as British Prime Minister David Cameron insisted, that Qadhafi “needs to go.”

...to the US Marine warfighting manual. One of my colleagues uses this to teach MBA's how to formulate succesful business strategy.  Starting out with lack of a clearly defined goal leads to what the manual calls "frictions."
The very essence of war as a clash between opposed wills creates friction. It is critical to keep in mind that the enemy is not an inanimate object but an independent and animate force. The enemy seeks to resist our will and impose his own will on us. It is the dynamic interplay between his will and ours that makes war difficult and complex. In this environment, friction abounds.

Friction may be mental, as in indecision over a course of action. Or it may be physical, as in effective enemy fire or a terrain obstacle that must be overcome. Friction may be external, imposed by enemy action, the terrain, weather, or mere chance. Or friction may be self-induced, caused by such factors as lack of a clearly defined goal, lack of coordination, unclear or complicated plans, complex task organizations or command relationships, or complicated communication systems. Whatever form it takes, because war is a human enterprise, friction will always have a psychological as well as a physical impact.

While we should attempt to minimize self-induced friction, the greater requirement is to fight effectively within the medium of friction. The means to overcome friction is the will; we prevail over friction through persistent strength of mind and spirit. While striving to overcome the effects of friction ourselves, we must attempt at the same time to raise our enemy's friction to a level that destroys his ability to fight. 

No comments:

Post a Comment