Effects-Based Operations: A Military Application of Pragmatical Analysis

By Rocha, Alexandre Sergio da | Air & Space Power Journal, Fall 2005 | Go to article overview

Effects-Based Operations: A Military Application of Pragmatical Analysis


Rocha, Alexandre Sergio da, Air & Space Power Journal


Editorial Abstract:

Dr. da Rocha presents a Brazilian perspective of the relationship between pragmatical analysis and effects-based operations (EBO), showing how the former encompasses the latter's typical features and provides insights into some aspects of EBO. He notes that any set of connected purposive actions is a collective work and must be considered from multiple standpoints. A successful planner must be aware of these different frameworks and their interrelationships.

THE CONCEPT OF effects-based operations (EBO) is key for the US military. Arguably, one can trace its roots back to World War II, perhaps even earlier.1 In a sense, this should not surprise us because planned actions, in war and elsewhere, are supposed to be rational and purposive-and every rational, purposive action purports a foreseeable effect.2 This comment, however, is not trivial. Even though purposive action is connected to its effects, many questions arise regarding an action's true effect and awareness of undesirable side effects that could accompany the desired effect. Perhaps the key issue lies in determining an action's true effect because-as Lt Col Antulio J. Echevarria II points out-actions always have "first- and second-order effects."3 The very important issue of determining the truly desired effect-critical to military planning-differs from determining an action's true effect. However, because the desired effect depends on how the repercussions of first- and second-order effects change the environment-political, economic, military, and sociocultural-both issues are intertwined.

The relevance of "effects" for military purposes, both regarding their connection with the actions that are supposed to generate them and considering their contribution toward a final goal, prompted Col Edward Mann, Lt Col Gary Endersby, and Mr. Tom Searle to call for "a fully developed theory grounded in effects-based thinking."4 One could expect the conception of such a theory to follow two different trends. The first and more obvious one would involve creation of a comprehensive military theory of planning and warfare grounded in and permeated by effects-based thinking. Military thinking is already developing such a program, mainly in the United States. A second view would draw from research on the theoretical foundations of effects-based thinking. Even though this type of theoretical approach might seem less practical, it could prove useful when one applies its principles and findings to military issues.

This article takes the second approach, suggesting that effects-based thinking can apply to any planning of social actions, including military actions; it is embedded in a broader theory whose philosophical roots owe much to the tradition of American philosophical thought. This approach is not a mere academic exercise. By displaying the typical pattern of rational-purposeful acting, it can help distinguish between military and nonmilitary entities in an effects-based view of war.

During my tenure at the Brazilian National War College from 1986 through 1992, I developed a theory called pragmatical analysis. Even though it never became part of the methodology used at the college, one can apply it to governmental development policies to understand why many such policies that should have succeeded did not. The theory's usefulness became apparent when I presented a paper on Brazilian education, specifically using pragmatical analysis as a tool, at the VI National Forum held in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1993.5 This article discusses the relationship between pragmatical analysis and EBO, showing how the former encompasses the latter's typical features and suggesting that it could possibly shed light on some aspects of EBO studies.

Effects-Based Operations: Concept and Essential Features

Maj Gen David A. Deptula describes EBO as a "campaign-planning philosophy [through which] the military planner uses superior knowledge to avoid attrition encounters, applying force at the right place and time to achieve specific operational and strategic effects" (emphasis added). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Effects-Based Operations: A Military Application of Pragmatical Analysis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.