TTACTICS. The techniques of deploying and directing
military forces in coordinated combat activities against
an enemy in order to achieve the objectives defined by
strategy or operations. Twentieth-century Western military
thought and practice have established tactics as those plans
that are left to relatively junior officers to carry out. If strategy is the art and science of using resources in support
of national objectives, converting power into policy and
operational design, tactics convert military strategy into
the maneuvering of aircraft, ships, and troops in actual conflict.Tactics offers the same problem of definition that bedevils most military concepts: the line dividing tactics and
other things is unclear and changes over time. What seem
in theory to be clear and distinctive differences between
tactics and strategy become more uncertain in practice. A
senior scientific intelligence officer during World War II, R. V. Jones of the British Air Ministry put the point well
in his remark that "strategy is nothing but tactics talked
through a brass hat" ( Jones 1978, p. 504).Since the end of the cold war, much effort has been expended in countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO) and in those of the former Warsaw Pact to
define the whole range of military activities rather more
usefully. The consensus accepted the German General
Staff's analysis during the first half of the twentieth century. The meaning of strategy was extended upward to incorporate all elements of national decisionmaking about
national security, not just military instruments. The lower
levels of military strategy were defined as operations-the
control and direction of large forces within a single theater
of war-and led to the development of operational art. Tactics overlapped the lower end of operations, being the
means by which individual field force commanders within
the combat theater achieved their objectives. Below that
were fighting instructions and rules of engagement, covering precise matters of military detail at the unit level and its
command and control. Lately, the evolution of military
doctrine has sought to encompass all these elements of the
spectrum, thereby accepting the areas of overlap that occur
in definition.This conceptual framework works well for total war
and the cold war. It has much less applicability to the requirements of United Nations peacekeeping and peace enforcement. With operations in the 1990s, such as Somalia
and Bosnia, political micromanagement of military matters in circumstances short of all-out war has been the
order of the day. The operational level of war has, in practice, disappeared. And, once again, strategy and tactics
have become almost indistinguishable. For those who see
command in warfare as an extension of the sciences, this is
confusing and regrettable; for those who see it as something closer to art, this is no more than the latest development requiring the application of military flair and genius. PETER FOOT
| Jones, R. V., 1978. Most Secret War: British Scientific Intelligence
1939-1945. London: Hamish Hamilton.|
| Paret, Peter, ed., 1986. The Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press.|
| Royal The Navy, 1995. The Fundamentals of British Maritime
Doctrine. London: HMSO.|
TARGET-BASED BUDGETING. A budget reform that requires the budget office to give targets, or
maximum amounts to the departments before they draw
up their budget requests. The departmental request must
be within these targets, or it will be returned to the department for revision.
In its simplest form, target-based budgeting is a budget reform that rejuggles some of the traditional functions of the
budget office and the departments during the process
of budget requests. Under traditional, incremental budgeting, budget requests came up from the departments based
on few or no prior constraints from the budget office. The
totals of the requests would normally exceed the revenue
available, forcing the budget office to cut back the departmental requests. Such cutbacks would either be across the
board, requiring little knowledge of the department's operations, or be targeted, under the assumption that the budget office was armed to find the fat in department budget
The traditional model led to a number of widely acknowledged problems. Perhaps the most serious of those
problems was an oppositional relationship between the
budget office and the departments, and a mood of mutual
mistrust and game playing. Department heads often inflated their budget requests because they expected across
the board cuts and still had to be able to manage their
departments. Budget officers came to look on the departments as duplicitous and their requests as exaggerated. The
budget office staff learned to watch out for departmental
tricks and sometimes evaluated themselves in terms of
their ability to find and catch those tricks.
When the budget office staff tried to find and cut the
fat in the departments' budgets, they were often frustrated
by their lack of understanding of departmental operations.
The results were unpleasant on an interpersonal basis and
damaging to management. Unrealistic departmental esti
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration.
Contributors: Jay M. Shafritz - Editor.
Publisher: Westview Press.
Place of publication: Boulder, CO.
Publication year: 1998.
Page number: 2205.
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