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The Evolution of Operational ArtFrom Napoleon to the Present$
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John Andreas Olsen and Martin van Creveld

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599486

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599486.001.0001

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American Operational Art, 1917–2008

American Operational Art, 1917–2008

(p.137) 5 American Operational Art, 1917–2008
The Evolution of Operational Art

Antulio J. II Echevarria

Oxford University Press

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

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