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War College Papers 2020

 

The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgement that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish by that test the kind of war on which they are embarking: neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature.

Clausewitz[1]

One must habitually consider the whole of war before its components

Herbert Scharnhorst[2]

The search for an effective way to defeat the enemy in battle has been an enduring one for military commanders throughout history. Western Militaries (and their doctrine) have placed formal emphasis on the concept of Operational Art in the twenty-first century. Indeed, Kelly and Brennan argue that Operational Art is the core of the profession of arms.[3] However, the concept itself is relatively new to Western Militaries; first appearing in the mid-1980s in the United States of America (USA) Army Field Manual 100-5 after the disaster of Vietnam,[4] where it was perceived that the USA won every battle but lost the war.[5] It was driven by the technological innovation of the Industrial Revolution, which meant that the battlefield was expanded and strategy was ‘unable to sustain adequate intimacy in its dialogue with tactics.’[6] Intellectually, its roots were in Soviet ‘deep operations theory and a unique interpretation of the German way of battle’.[7] After appearing in American doctrine, it was imported to other Western Militaries, including Australia, [8] with what Dickson describes as a lack of intellectual debate. [9] This lack of intellectual discussion meant that the concept was not considered in the context of the Western Militaries ongoing desire to seek a decisive battle or effect. Closer attention could have been paid to Soviet thinkers who recognised the character of modern warfare, with its technological advancements meant that it would not be possible to ‘destroy the enemy’s manpower by one blow in a one-day battle.’[10] The failure to properly engage in this debate has meant that the predisposition of Western Militaries to seek a decisive battle is at odds with the concept of Operational Art.

This paper will argue that the ongoing desire of Western Militaries to seek a decisive battle or effect is at odds with the concept of Operational Art because it hinders the skilful employment of military force as it predisposes military professionals towards a solution that is unlikely to achieve strategic goals. This essay is in four parts. The first part will discuss the definition of Operational Art. The second part will explain why Western Militaries have an ongoing desire for decisive battles or effects. The third part will use historical examples to argue that seeking a decisive battle or effect has rarely achieved strategic goals which is the purpose of Operational Art and has resulted in commanders failing to understand the character of the conflict they are involved in. The fourth part will argue that seeking a decisive battle or effect in potential future conflicts is just as likely to result in a failure. Two cases studies will demonstrate this; grey-zone activities and a high-intensity conflict between the USA and China.

Part One: Definition of Operational Art

The definition of Operational Art has been debated in academic circles. Kelly and Brennan state that Operational Art can ‘mean anything we decree it to mean, but it cannot usefully mean everything.’[11] This essay will use the Australian Defence Force (ADF) doctrinal definition; namely that Operational Art is ‘skilful employment of military forces to attain strategic goals through the design, organisation, sequencing and direction of campaigns and major operations.’ [12] It ‘translates strategic into operational and ultimately tactical actions.’[13] There are two key points to be drawn from this definition. Firstly, it is not a mechanical sequencing of tactical actions but rather the skilful employment of military force which implies a ‘cognitive or creative’ element.[14] A fundamental requirement of the skilful employment of military force is that military professionals fully understand and appreciate the character of the conflict they will be employing force in. The second key point is that Operational Art’s purpose is to attain strategic goals, or in Clausewitzian terms, the political objective. [15] It is the linking (ways) ‘of tactical means to strategic ends.’[16] Anything that negatively impacts on the ability of Operational Art to achieve strategic goals is at odds with it, in particular the ongoing desire of Western militaries to seek a decisive battle or effect.

Part Two: Why Western Militaries have an ongoing desire for a decisive battle

Three forces drive the desire for a decisive battle or effect for Western Militaries. The first is a Western military cultural desire for what Nolan characterises as the ‘lure of the battle’ or the cult of the offensive,[17] seen infamously in the German Schlieffen Plan. Destroying the ‘enemy in battle… is the unique skill that a military provides its government’,[18] and doing so quickly and efficiently enhances the military’s standing whereas drawn-out campaigns are likely to be questioned by political masters and result in interference.[19] The second factor is an almost visceral, ethical distaste that Western Military commanders feel for drawn-out campaigns, a legacy of the attritional wars of the twentieth century, with the images of Passchendaele, the Somme and Vietnam casting a long shadow on military thinking. For many, there is almost an ethical obligation to defeat an opponent quickly, with minimal loss of life. [20] Failure to do so is seen as not merely incompetent, but immoral. [21] Finally, there is a belief that democracies will not support long campaigns. Szabo argues that Americans, in particular, are an impatient people and ‘will always demand that wars be won quickly and at the lowest human costs’ and with style.[22] This can be seen not only in the public’s reaction to modern campaigns such as Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq but also in ancient Greece, where Pericles’ strategy of enduring Spartan land assaults while attacking from the sea, was eventually rejected by the Athenian populace.[23]

The cultural predisposition towards seeking a decisive battle or effect has been exemplified in recent military doctrine. Evans argues that the Future Joint Operating Concept (FJOC), contained in the 2007 Joint Operations for the Twenty-First Century, was ‘too narrowly focused on a polyglot of information-centric theories that revolved around ‘taking down’ an opponent quickly.’[24] This ongoing desire to seek a decisive battle is problematic in the same way Evans critiqued the JFOC; because it stops commanders from considering the full range of ways to employ military force to achieve political or strategic goals.[25] Scott reinforces this, stating that the ‘desire for a quick victory through decisive battle can be an impediment to the design and execution of a relevant and effective campaign on today’s battlefield.’[26] History demonstrates that seeking a decisive battle or effect has rarely been successful in achieving strategic goals, which is the purpose of Operational Art.[27]

Part 3: Decisive Battles have not achieved strategic goals

Military history is replete with plans and theories on how achieving a decisive battle or effect will win the war, force the parties to the peace-table or other strategic goals. They have rarely been successful.[28] The Schlieffen Plan did not obtain victory for Germany in the First World War, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour is universally regarded as a strategic disaster, and even General MacArthur’s ambitious amphibious landing at Inchon during the Korean War failed to attain strategic goals as it provoked a massive Chinese response. Even the 1991 Gulf War, where Operation Instant Thunder and Desert Storm removed Iraqi forces from Kuwait with only 100 hours of ground combat operations, failed to achieve the broader goal of a cowed Saddam Hussein.[29] Historically, the ‘search for the quick, convenient solution, often at the expense of the less obvious, but ultimately more enduring ones’, leads to failure. In part, this is because the predisposition towards a decisive battle consistently underestimates an opponent’s capacity to resist and refusal to admit defeat. As Clausewitz pointed out, ‘war…cannot be considered to have ended so long as the enemy’s will has not been broken.’[30] The twentieth century was replete with examples of refusal to admit defeat, including French resistance after initial German advances in 1914, the British refusal to surrender during the Battle of Britain in the Second World War and Russian endurance in nearly every conflict but particularly during the Siege of Leningrad in 1941-1942. The inability of a decisive battle or effect to break an opponent’s will is even more evident in counterinsurgencies and in what General Sir Rupert Smith described as ‘war among the people’.[31]

History demonstrates that the Western Militaries’ desire to seek the decisive battle or effect in ‘wars among the people’ or counterinsurgencies will rarely achieve the strategic goals for those conflicts. Counterinsurgencies by their nature are complex, often long term and difficult to achieve success or victory in.[32] However, the desire to seek a decisive battle or effect is at odds with designing an appropriate, enduring counterinsurgency campaign. As Scott points out, in modern counterinsurgencies, legitimacy is key and the use of force ‘can undermine popular support, change perceptions and alienate the local population.’[33] As Mao Zedong recognised, support of the local population for an insurgency is critical.[34] Western Militaries have traditionally first attempted to undermine that support through the decisive effect of killing insurgents (or their supporters) in battle in order to either sever the link to the local population or reduce the capacity of the insurgency so it cannot mount effective attacks.[35] An example of this is the Malaya Emergency. The initial British response to the Malaya Emergency, under Major General Boucher, focused on large scale sweeps designed to locate, trap and bring the Communist insurgents to battle.[36] Clutterbuck stated that the ‘predilection of some army officers for major operations seems incurable’.[37] It was only after repeated failures that the British altered their Operational Art, first with the Briggs Plan,[38] and then with Lord Templar’s ‘hearts and minds’ strategy.[39] The British predisposition to seek the decisive battle hindered the skilful employment of military force. The lessons in Malaya were not heeded in Vietnam.

Vietnam offers a second historical example of how the predisposition of Western Militaries to seek the decisive battle or effect results in a failure of Operational Art because it blinds commanders to the character of the war they are fighting.[40] As a result, they cannot skilfully employ military force to achieve strategic goals. As an example, General Westmoreland, the Commander of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam from June 1964 to July 1968, notionally recognised that Vietnam was both a counterinsurgency and a conventional fight.[41] However, he consistently prioritised the conventional fight and sought the decisive effect of killing the enemy, with the infamous Vietnam body counts as a measurement of success,[42] rather than other options. This is seen in his opposition to the Marine concept of Combined Action Platoons,[43] where he stated that Marines should be used to find ‘the enemy’s main force and bring them to battle’ rather than embedded in villages.[44] Such thinking failed to understand the Vietnamese ability to resist, [45] a character of many insurgent conflicts, from the Communists in China’s Long March to the Taliban in Afghanistan.[46] This was summed up in a conversation between American Colonel Harry Summers and a North Vietnamese officer, where Summers said ‘‘you know, you never defeated us on the battlefield. The North Vietnamese officer replied ‘That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.’’[47] Military history provides evidence that the Western Military predisposition towards seeking a decisive battle or effect is at odds with Operational Art as it means that commanders do not fully understand the character of the conflict they are fighting and thus fail to skilfully employ military force to achieve strategic goals. It results in ‘a way of battle, not a successful way of war with a proper theory of victory.’[48] This is dangerous when considering likely twenty-first century conflicts; in particular, countering grey-zone activities and a high-intensity conflict between the USA and China.

Part 4: Case studies: Grey-zone and USA and China high-intensity conflict

The 2020 Australian Defence Strategic Update (DSU) identified that ‘grey-zone’ activities are expanding and are a potential threat that Australia, (and other Western nations), must counter.[49] The DSU defined grey-zone activities as involving ‘military and non-military forms of assertiveness and coercion aimed at achieving strategic goals without provoking conflict’[50] which are being ‘facilitated by technological developments including cyber warfare.’[51] While the DSU did not explicitly name China, most academic commentators point to Russia, China, Iran and North Korea as key practitioners of ‘grey-zone’ activities.[52] Using China as an example, Chinese grey-zone activities include the creation and militarisation of artificial islands with air-strips in the Spratly Islands, [53] the use of non-military forces such as the Tanmen Maritime Militia, the Coast Guard and ‘civilian’ fishing fleets,[54] and aggressive cyber activities. It is likely that China directed the malicious state-backed cyber activity against Australian government agencies, infrastructure and business in June 2020.[55] Additionally, Chinese grey-zone activities also encompasses economic persuasion and coercion, or ‘geo-economics’.[56] Belt and Road Initiative investments in Samoan medical centres, road infrastructure in Tonga and the Luganville Wharf in Vanuatu create influence.[57] The coercive form of Chinese economic power can be seen in recent threats to Australian beef, barley and wine after Australia initiated the World Health Organisation’s inquiry into the origin of the COVID-19 virus. The wide-ranging characteristics of grey-zone activities, across multiple domains, means that the concept of a decisive battle or effect is of little use when looking at how to skilfully employ military force to defeat or defend against such activities.

Grey-zone activities are ‘deliberately designed to remain below the threshold of conventional military conflict and open interstate war.’[58] Therefore, the concept of a conventional decisive military ‘battle’ is not only at odds with Operational Art, it is also irrelevant. The diverse character of grey-zone activities, as outlined above, means that it is also likely to be impossible to achieve a decisive effect. Practitioners of grey-zone activities will simply deescalate, change tactics or shift the competition to a new domain. This can be seen from China’s de-escalation of the border confrontation with India and reticence to fully engage in a trade war with President Trump. Grey-zone activities are designed to achieve long term strategic goals. If Western Militaries are to skilfully employ military force against grey-zone activities (noting that such a response is arguably a whole of nation or whole of government’ effort) it must not use its predisposition towards seeking a decisive battle or effect. To do so would be to fundamentally misunderstand the long-term character of the grey-zone competition and conflict. This applies to the second case study of future potential military conflicts: a high intensity-conflict between China and the USA.

The potential for a high-intensity conflict between the USA and China, while still remote, is rising and is dominating the education (and thinking) of Western Military professionals.[59] The sheer military power and resources that the USA and China (and their allies) would bring to such a conflict mean that a decisive battle would be improbable. The USA has recognised that despite its power projection capabilities,[60] its extensive hub and spoke alliance system,[61] and an experienced military that has been involved in combat for the past two decades, its comparative military advantage to China is declining.[62] While the USA has the most advanced, equipped and resourced military in the world, with their military spending at $US648.798 billion in 2018, compared with China’s $US 249.997 billion,[63] and may win such a conflict, China is closing the gap and a high-intensity conflict will not be decided quickly or without tremendous cost.

China’s military capacity and capability have improved significantly, driven by its economic growth. China is the world’s second-biggest military spender and has been modernising its military forces for decades, with the aim of ‘complete national defence and military modernisation by 2035’.[64] China has sought to ‘outsmart’ rather than ‘outmatch’ the USA, with significant investment in anti-access/area-denial capabilities, such as anti-satellite weapons, cyber warfare capabilities, anti-ship missiles and submarines. [65] Moreover, throughout its history, China has demonstrated an ability to absorb tremendous losses and continue fighting.[66] Scott phrases this as a having a high ‘strategic threshold’, meaning the ruling elite of the Chinese Communist Party will be ‘relatively impervious to changes in political will, community support, or public opinion’.[67] It is unlikely that the Clausewitzian concept of defeating the will of the enemy would be achieved in a decisive battle, given the vast resources of both China and the USA.[68] Further, Western Militaries have imposed a significant number of ethical and legal restraints on their use of lethal force.[69] This means that the type of tactics which may (arguably) have a decisive impact, such as a widespread chemical or biological attack, are aberrant to Western military commanders, politicians and their domestic constituents. Even if the conflict escalated into a nuclear exchange, it would be exceptionally unlikely that either side could destroy the other’s nuclear capability in one engagement or decisive strike, leaving the prospect of a fearsome retaliation that would result only in the decisive end of human life as we know it. By attempting to seek a decisive battle or effect against China, Western Militaries are likely to fail at a hideous cost. It would demonstrate, perhaps with some finality, that the ongoing desire to seek a decisive battle or effect is at odds with the skilful employment of military force.

Conclusion

The ongoing desire of Western Militaries to seek a decisive battle or effect is at odds with Operational Art because it hinders the skilful employment of military force as it predisposes military commanders towards a solution that is unlikely to achieve strategic goals. This represents a fundamental failure on the behalf of the commander to fully appreciate and understand the character of the conflict they are fighting. This impacts on the likelihood that the strategic goals, or in Clausewitzian terms, the political objective, of war, is achieved. If the Operational Art ‘does not achieve the political objective for which the war is being fought, or at least contribute to that end, then the campaign will be a waste of effort’ and lives. [70] This essay has defined Operational Art in accordance with ADF doctrine and emphasis on two key points; that the skilful employment of military force requires a cognitive component that appreciates the character of the conflict and that the purpose of Operational Art is to achieve strategic goals. It has discussed why Western Militaries continue to seek a decisive battle or effect and how this impacts Operational Art, and offered three explanations; the ‘cult of the offensive’ and preference for quick victories, an ethnical distaste for drawn-out campaigns which may waste human lives, and a belief that democracies will not support long campaigns. Moreover, it has argued that history demonstrates that plans to use decisive battles or effects to achieve strategic goals have rarely been successful in conventional warfare and even less successful in counterinsurgencies. It has examined two case studies of potential twenty-first century conflicts that Western Militaries may be involved in; countering grey-zone activities and a high-intensity conflict between the USA and China and argued that the concept of a decisive battle or effect is likely to be irrelevant or dangerous in such conflicts. Western Militaries are being asked to solve complex, ambiguously defined strategic problems, in a complex, uncertain and non-linear operating environment.[71] The ongoing desire from Western Militaries to seek a decisive battle or effect is at odds with the skilful employment of military force and is not likely to achieve strategic goals in that operating environment. Western Military professionals would be wise to change this cultural predisposition as they face the most challenging threat environment for decades.

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[1] Carl von Clausewitz, "On War, translated and edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret," (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), 88.

[2] Herbert Scharnhorst as cited in Herbert Rosinski, "Scharnhorst to Schlieffen: the rise and decline of German military thought," Naval War College Review (1976): 85.

[3] Justin Kelly and Mike Brennan, "Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy," Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, 2009.

[4] Edward N. Luttwak, "The operational level of war," International Security 5, 3 (1980-1981): 61-79.as cited in Michael Evans, "The closing of the Australian military mind: The ADF and operational art," Security Challenges 4, no. 2 (2008).

[5] Richard M Swain, “Filling the Void: The Operational Art and the US Army’ in BJC McKercher and Michael A Hennessy, The operational art: Developments in the theories of war (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996), 148.

[6] Kelly and Brennan Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy. 96.

[7] Trent Scott, The Lost Operational Art: Invigorating Campaigning into the Australian defence Force (Canberra: Land warfare Studies Centre, 2011), 32. See also Kelly and Brennan Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy.

[8] Australian Defence Force, Joint Operations, Command and Control of the Australian Defence Force Operations 2-4 (Canberra: Headquarters Australian Defence Force, 1988).

[9] Richard N Dickson, Operational art in a middle-power context: a Canadian perspective, Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth (2004), 1.

[10] Mikhail Tukachevsky as cited in Shimon Naveh, In pursuit of military excellence: The evolution of operational theory, vol. 7 (Taylor & Francis, 1997), 10.

[11] Kelly and Brennan Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy. 97.

[12]Department of Defence, ADDP 3.0 Campaigns and Operations, Second ed. (Canberra ACT: Defence Publishing Service 2012), 1.47. Department of Defence, ADDP 5.0 Joint Planning, Second ed. (Canberra ACT: Defence Publishing Service 2014), 2.09.

[13]Defence, ADDP 3.0 Campaigns and Operations, 1.47. Defence, ADDP 5.0 Joint Planning, 2.09.

[14] Evans, "The closing of the Australian military mind: The ADF and operational art."

[15] Clausewitz, "On War, translated and edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret."

[16] David A Fastabend, "Transformation and Operational Art," Rethinking the Principles of War (2005): 156. See also Kelly and Brennan Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy. 8.

[17] Cathal J Nolan, The Allure of Battle: A History of How Wars Have Been Won and Lost (Oxford University Press, 2017), 12. Stephen Van Evera, "The cult of the offensive and the origins of the First World War," International security 9, no. 1 (1984); Jack Snyder, "Civil-Military Relations and the Cult of the Offensive, 1914 and 1984," International Security 9, no. 1 (1984).

[18] Scott, The Lost Operational Art, 82.

[19] Kelly and Brennan Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy. 66. For critiques see Eliot A Cohen, "The unequal dialogue: The theory and reality of Civil-military relations and the use of force," in Soldiers and Civilians, ed. Peter D Feaver, Kohn, Richard (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001); Eliot A Cohen, Supreme Command: soldiers, statesmen and leadership in wartime (Simon and Schuster, 2012).

[20] Ernest A. Szabo, "Attrition vs. Maneuver and the future of war," Armor September-October (2002): 41. See also Kelly and Brennan Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy. 86.

[21] Nolan, The Allure of Battle: A History of How Wars Have Been Won and Lost, 9.

[22] Szabo, "Attrition vs. Maneuver and the future of war," 41.

[23] Thucydides, "The Landmark Thucydides: A comprehensive guide to the Peloponnesian War," ed. B. Strassler (New York: The Free Press, 1976).

[24] Evans, "The closing of the Australian military mind: The ADF and operational art," 121.

[25] Evans, "The closing of the Australian military mind: The ADF and operational art," 122.

[26] Scott, The Lost Operational Art, 20. See also John A Nagl, Learning to eat soup with a knife: counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam (University of Chicago Press, 2005), 203.

[27] Bernard Fook Weng Loo, "Decisive battle, victory and the revolution in military affairs," Journal of Strategic Studies 32, no. 2 (2009).

[28] Antulio J Echevarria, Toward an American way of war (DIANE Publishing, 2004).

[29] Kelly and Brennan Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy.

[30] Clausewitz, "On War, translated and edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret," 36.

[31] Rupert Smith, The utility of force: the art of war in the modern world (Vintage Books USA, 2008).

[32]Russell W Glenn, "Counterinsurgency and Capacity Building: Lessons from Solomon Islands and the Southern Philippines," (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, 2008), 103. Scott, The Lost Operational Art, 5.

[33] Scott, The Lost Operational Art, 21.

[34] Douglas Porch, Counterinsurgency: Exposing the myths of the new way of war (Cambridge University Press, 2013), 155.

[35]Leslie H Gelb and Richard K Betts, The irony of Vietnam: The system worked (Brookings Institution Press, 2016), 310.

[36] Richard Stubbs, "From Search and Destroy to Hearts and Minds: The Evolution of British Strategy in Malaya 1948-60.‖ In Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare, edited by Daniel Marston and Carter Malkasian, 101-118," (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2010), 102. Nagl, Learning to eat soup with a knife: counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam, 67.

[37] Richard L Clutterbuck, The Long, Long War: Counterinsurgency in Malaya and Vietnam (Praeger, 1966), 51.

[38] Karl Hack, "The Malayan Emergency as a counter-insurgency Paradigm," Journal of Strategic Studies 32, 3, no. June (2009): 386.

[39] Hack, "The Malayan Emergency as a counter-insurgency Paradigm," 386. Templer as cited in Stubbs, "From Search and Destroy to Hearts and Minds: The Evolution of British Strategy in Malaya 1948-60.‖ In Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare, edited by Daniel Marston and Carter Malkasian, 101-118," 109.

[40] John A. Nagl, "Counterinsurgency in Vietnam: American organizational culture and learning," in Counterinsurgency in modern warfare, ed. David Carter Malkasian Marston (Oxford: Osprey Publishing 2008).See support in Lewis Sorley, Westmoreland: the general who lost Vietnam (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), 199. For supporters of the view that it was a conventional war, see Harry G Summers, On strategy: A critical analysis of the Vietnam War (Random House Digital, Inc., 1995), 113.

[41] Daniel Marston, "The Vietnam War: The spectrum of conflict, 1954-1967," in A history of counterinsurgency, ed. Gregory Fremont-Barnes (London: Praeger, 2015), 148.

[42] Scott Sigmund Gartner, Marissa Edson Myers, "Body counts and “Success” in the Vietnam and Koren Wars," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 25, no. 3 (1995).

[43] Nagl, "Counterinsurgency in Vietnam: American organizational culture and learning," 139.

[44] William Childs Westmoreland, A soldier reports (Da Capo Pr, 1989), 165.

[45] John E. Mueller, "The Search for the "Breaking Point" in Vietnam: The Statistics of a Deadly Quarrel," International Studies Quarterly 24, no. 4 (1980): 507-10. See also Mark Clodfelter, Limits of Air Power: the American bombing of North Vietnam (New York: The Free Press, 1989), 42.

[46] Clodfelter, Limits of Air Power: the American bombing of North Vietnam, 43.

[47] Summers, On strategy: A critical analysis of the Vietnam War, 1.

[48] Scott, The Lost Operational Art, 75. See also Antulio J Echevarria II, Clausewitz and contemporary war (Oxford University Press on Demand, 2007), 140.

[49] 2020 Defence Strategic Update, (Canberra: Department of Defence, 2020).

[50] 2020 Defence Strategic Update, Short, 5.

[51] 2020 Defence Strategic Update, Short, 12.

[52] MJ Mazarr, "Mastering the grey zone: Understanding a changing era of conflict. United States Army War College Press," (2017).

[53] Oliver Holmes, "China nears completion of controversial airstrip in South China Sea," The Guardian (Bangkok), 2 July 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/02/china-controversial-airstrip-south-china-sea-spratly-islands.

[54] Michael Green, Kathleen Hicks, Zack Cooper, John Schaus, Jake Douglas, Countering coercion in maritime Asia: the the theory and practice of Gray Zone deterrence, Centre for strategic and international studies, (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), 11.

[55] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-19/why-would-china-launch-cyber-attack-against-australia/12374990

[56] Michael Wesley, "Australia and the rise of geoeconomics," in Centre of Gravity (Canberra: Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, 2016).

[57]Steven Warwick, "Chinese Aid to the Pacific: What are the concerns?," (08 August 2018 2018). www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australianoutlook/chinese-aid-to-the-pacific-what-are-the-concerns/.

[58] Hal Brands, "Paradoxes of the Gray Zone," Foreign Policy Research Institute February 5 (2016): 23.

[59] 2020 Defence Strategic Update, Short, 5.

[60] Robert Ayson, The Economics-Security Nexus under Trump and Xi: Policy implications for Asia-Pacific countries, vol. 35, Centre of Gravity, (Canberra: Strategic & Defense Studies Centre, ANU, 2017), 3.

[61] See Nina Silove, "The Pivot before the Pivot: U.S. strategy to preserve the power balance in Asia," International Security 40, no. 4 (2016).

[62] Department of Defense, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America: sharpening the American military’s competitive edge, 3 (USA: Department of Defense, 2018).

[63] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, "SIPRI Military Expenditure Database," (2019, 26 March 2020). https://www.sipri.org/databases/milex.

[64] See Philip C Saunders, Chairman Xi remakes the PLA: Assessing Chinese Military reforms (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 2019). It is noted that President Xi built on (and accelerated) Jiang Zemin goal of modernisation and informatization. See Taylor Fravel, "China’s “World-Class Military” ambitions: Origins and Implications," The Washington Quarterly 43, no. 1 (2020): 87-89.

[65] Green, Countering coercion in maritime Asia: the the theory and practice of Gray Zone deterrence, 10.

[66] Van Jackson, "The risks of Australia’s solo deterrence wager," War on the Rocks, 20 July, 2020, https://warontherocks.com/2020/07/the-risks-of-australias-solo-deterrence-wager/.

[67] Scott, The Lost Operational Art, 18.

[68] Kelly and Brennan Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy. 88-89.

[69] Kelly and Brennan Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy. 97.

[70] Bradley J Meyer, ‘The Operational Art” The Elder Moltke’s campaign plan for the Franco-Prussian War’ in McKercher and Hennessy, The operational art: Developments in the theories of war, 30.

[71] Scott, The Lost Operational Art, 14.

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