Operational Planning and Conflict Termination

By Boule, John R., II | Joint Force Quarterly, Autumn-Winter 2001 | Go to article overview

Operational Planning and Conflict Termination


Boule, John R., II, Joint Force Quarterly


Although the Armed Forces have proven themselves a capable policy instrument, the Nation has always struggled with conflict termination. America has often prevailed militarily while failing to achieve policy goals quickly and efficiently. A scan of joint publications suggests that military professionals embrace the idea of a termination strategy, but doctrine offers little practical help. It is time to take the next step, creating an interagency organization and practices that can effectively conduct termination planning. Each regional commander in chief (CINC) should have a standing interagency team to act as an operations transition planning cell. This element must include members well versed in the application of the military, diplomatic, informational, and economic instruments of national power.

Culture for Combat

When the President decides to use force, the military mindset is to deploy, defeat the enemy, then rapidly exit, turning affairs over to diplomats. Intense interagency coordination generally occurs only at the beginning and end. The military's hasty exit breaks continuity and detracts from shaping the environment for winning the peace and securing the desired endstate. Military culture is often oriented on its own finish line at the expense of long-term national objectives.

Strategic aims are achieved in part by the proper transition of leadership from generals and admirals to civilians. Interagency coordination throughout military operations is the linchpin. Operational planning should be guided not toward military termination but toward setting the stage for continued U.S. interaction by peaceful means.

Joint Publication 3-0, Doctrine for Joint Operations, emphasizes planning for conflict termination, with the most extensive discussions in chapters I and III. Chapter I, "The Strategic Goal and Conflict Termination," describes properly conceived termination criteria as a key to lasting victory. It further states that termination is an essential link between national strategy and post-hostility aims and that military victory is measured by how it supports overall political goals.

Chapter III, "Combatant Command Strategic Planning," contains planning guidance, defines the desired endstate, and discusses how the military scenario helps set the conditions for termination. It continues with guidelines for the combatant commander that prescribe support to the nonmilitary instruments of power. Setting military transition conditions is one of the critical first steps in the estimate and planning process. It is clear from the manual that CINCs are responsible for incorporating conflict termination into campaign planning early on and in a manner consistent with national goals.

Since Joint Pub 3-0 introduces termination planning, one might expect detailed guidance in Joint Pub 5-0, Doctrine for Planning Joint Operations. Yet termination and transition are mentioned fewer than a dozen times. The absence of techniques and practices for transition planning is glaring.

The Joint Doctrine Encyclopedia is the only other joint doctrinal source, containing six pages on termination. Some of its ideas repeat Joint Pub 3-0, but there is additional information as well as guidance about termination when applied to military operations other than war. Service publications provide little additional help.

Peace and the Operational Art

Military theorists have pointed out the importance of conflict termination. Clausewitz stressed planning a campaign clear through to completion in order to achieve political objectives--including creating military conditions that would facilitate negotiations. His recommendation is incorporated into U.S. doctrine in principle. He also cautioned against "overshooting the target" in military operations. (1) In limited wars, combatant commanders must seek the appropriate culminating point to shape the environment for favorable peace terms. …

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

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
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Operational Planning and Conflict Termination
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
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.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.