Operational Art &
Decisive Battles

The class of 2020 were asked to address one of two topics:

1. The utility of Operational Art and Operational level for a middle powers like Australia.

2. Operational Art and Decisive Battle do they oppose or support each other?

The use of Operational Art by Western Militaries

Abrahams - Is the ongoing desire of Western Militaries to seek a decisive battle or effect that will defeat an adversary quickly and efficiently at odds with the concept of Operational Art?

The character of war is constantly changing, and with its associated complexity and uncertainty, this is making military planning a more challenging undertaking.

10min
Decisive Battle and Operational Art

Cheng - Decisive Battle and Operational Art: Contradictory or Complementary Notions?

By employing operational art as a bridge between tactical actions and overarching strategic objectives, military planners aim to coordinate and direct a series of operations towards an overarching campaign end-state.

10min
Indecisive Blitzkrieg

Greenberg - Indecisive Blitzkrieg: When Decisive Battles Don’t Yield Political Decisions

While western militaries have often expressed a preference for rapid, decisive victories, rapidly achieving military objectives does not guarantee the achievement of political objectives.

20min
Operational art

Lucas - Western Militaries, the allure of Decisive Battle, and Operational Art

Throughout history, militaries the world over have sought victory through high-intensity force-on-force battles against their adversaries in the hope that a decisive battlefield victory would lead to strategic success.

15min
The emergence of an operational level of war as an evolution of joint operations

Prucha - Are operational level functionality and operational art required to maintain Australian Defence Middle Power Status?

The capacity of Australia, as a middle power, to shape and control what happens within the Indo-Pacific region alone is limited by its relative military strength and economic influence.

15min
Contextualising operational art and a bias for decisive action

Taylor - Is the ongoing desire of Western Militaries to seek a decisive battle or effect that will defeat an adversary quickly and efficiently at odds with the concept of Operational Art?

Is the ongoing desire of Western Militaries to seek a decisive battle or effect that will defeat an adversary quickly and efficiently at odds with the concept of Operational Art?

15min
Decisive Battle and Operational Art

Knox - Is the ongoing desire of Western Militaries to seek a decisive battle or effect that will defeat an adversary quickly and efficiently at odds with the concept of Operational Art?

For centuries, militaries have sought decisive battle to destroy the majority of an enemy’s forces in one tactical action. Such an action was believed to provide resounding victory in war.

15min
The evolution of the operational level and operational art

Byers - Are operational level functionality and operational art viable concepts for Australia, or any other middle power?

Modern military theory and practice divides war into three distinct and hierarchical levels: the strategic, operational, and tactical.

15min
Operational art

Evans - Are operational level functionality and operational art viable concepts for Australia, or any other middle power?

Middle powers have small military forces that operate almost exclusively within the context of a coalition or alliance framework, and remain focussed largely on tactics and tactical level issues

10min
Decisive battle

Marsh - Is the ongoing desire of Western Militaries to seek a decisive battle or effect that will defeat an adversary quickly and efficiently at odds with the concept of Operational Art?

The search for an effective way to defeat the enemy in battle has been an enduring one for military commanders throughout history.

10min