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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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(p.222) Conclusion
The Evolution of Operational Art

John Andreas Olsen

Martin van Creveld

Oxford University Press

The evolution of operational art has seemingly reached a critical point following almost two decades of strategic bewilderment caused by the end of the Cold War, exasperating peace operations, and 9/11. But regardless of the form that future conflicts may take, officers will find themselves tasked with translating short-term operations into a larger operational design that links their near-term actions to the strategic aim of the campaign. Undoubtedly, interpretations and applications of operational art will differ widely in accordance with each commander's mission, personality, and priorities. Yet there is a common thread: from a problem-solving perspective, operational art will make it possible to take an unstructured problem and give it sufficient structure to ensure that further planning can lead to useful action. Understanding operational art improves the fundamental understanding of military operations per se, and therefore underlies all military successes. Consequently, whatever else officers may study and master — organization, leadership, intelligence, technology, logistics — they must have operational art at their fingertips.

Keywords:   operational art, campaign, military operations, planning operations, military success

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