American Operational Art, 1917–2008

Antulio J. II Echevarria

in The Evolution of Operational Art

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199599486
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595806 | DOI:
American Operational Art, 1917–2008

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This chapter's point of departure is that US operational art has essentially focused on perfecting war's ‘first grammar’ — the principles and procedures related to defeating an opponent by armed force — while struggling to come to grips with war's ‘second grammar’ — the handling of insurgencies, guerrilla warfare, and irregular warfare. Consequently, American operational art over the last century has concentrated on fighting battles rather than on waging wars: US forces performed operational art with excellence during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, as these campaigns were based on an understanding of war's ‘first grammar’, only to falter as these campaigns made the transition from regular warfare to war's ‘second grammar’, which demands knowledge of how to design, plan, and conduct counter-insurgency operations.

Keywords: America; United States; first grammar of war; second grammar of war; Afghanistan; Iraq; counter-insurgency operations; operational art; regular warfare; irregular warfare

Chapter.  14225 words. 

Subjects: International Relations ; Political Theory

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