THE MILITARY THOUGHT.

The military thought can be divide in professional and analytical or theoretic. Though departing from a common core of education, actions and interests, between the professional military thought and the analytical one are sufficient and important differences and functions, to distinguish them clearly in his sphere and his practice. Both forms of the military thought are two points of view, two approximations to that one, complementary, synergic (that act simultaneously and combined) and not antagonistic nor excluding.

The professional military thought is orientated towards the immediate thing: the methods, the tactics, the official procedures and rules from doctrine, manuals and regulations, the men, the equipment and the supplies and replacements. It is a whole world of interests, worries and obligations, often pressing and extreme. To link, to relate, to study and to operate on them simultaneously or successively, already takes the men sufficient time, interest and effort.

On the other hand, the Military man’s profession is a profession that every time is practically exercised during less time, thanks to God and by means of the civilization. But it does not exclude its unavoidable need for the survival and yet the bloom of the nations. The domain of the methods, tactics and weapons acquires by repetition, in the centers of instruction, the academies, the destinies. But, where to acquire «military experience»? Bismarck was saying that the intelligent man was learning with the other’s experiences. Paraphrasing the Iron’s German Chancellor (Prime Minister), we can complete that the «clever» learns with his own experience and the «idiot» does not learn with any.

The critical or analyst military thought is orientated towards the transcendence. The military study operates out over the combat and the maneuver. Absorbing their facts, elaborating experience and forming criteria, advice and procedure about the good «what to do». Its area are the militaries history and doctrine. That make concrete in the logistics, the operative strategy, the operations, the tactics, the fighting forms, the military strategy. The elaboration of the manuals and the regulations is one of the areas of contact and of joint action of both forms of military thought.

The positions of both forms of military thought are also independent. And they can manage to be self-sufficient and closed. Each one being waterproofed against the flow of knowledge and experiences that creates its another complementary form. This constitutes a serious problem for the military institution.

When does this happen? The Israeli military thinker Martin Van Creveld says that all the armies were tending to turn into «stiffened bureaucracies». And I add, moribund and slightly effective (according with the means that the society gives them; that who creates and nourishes them) for their fighting missions and to achieve their operative and strategic goals. They could continue killing, but they were doing it badly, slowly and expensively. Probably his excessive endogamia demands and forces them to allow that from out of the military organization innovating ideas are given to them. At least, the Americans did so and accepted them. And they tried to incorporate them into their doctrine, regulations and manuals. And, even they tried to put them into practice in their following conventional wars (not in the asymmetrical ones). We see the flexible and promising thing that is a child of a few years. And how is an elder, also healthy, nearly the death: rigid of body and soul, little opened to changes and experiences.

Even, sometimes, the theorist or studious, within the military profession, have problems in order that their ideas are accepted and applied. This one might be John Frederick Charles Fuller’s case. In the middle of the 20s of the 20th century, he compiled a series of lectures that he had given in military British academies and published the book The Foundations of the Science of War. It is a book not overcome yet about the principles of war and their practical application. Almost 65 years after its edition in 1926 it was re-edited by the Marines’ Corps. It is of difficult reading, because uses Spencer’s scientific concepts to justify his theoretical approximation. He was seeking to give his theory a scientific precision, which was removing the study of warfare from the frame, supposedly pejorative, of «art». Though all the social sciences, always and also, they are so, as the human soul is difficult to know, fix or quantify. It had many critiques and, lamentably, the own author later went back of the underlying ideas in the book. His work remained semi forgotten, though he contributed to the definition of the principles of war gathered immediately by the American Army. The critiques, in turn, had as bottom that he had an eccentric personality, in a social group (the military men) tremendously conservative and established by protocol. He had mystical streaks (Hindu philosophy, yoga) and flirted with the Nazi, being got by Hitler, since he was a general. In a Great Britain progressively threatened by the totalitarianisms, this position was out of place.

How is it possible to stop or even correct this powerful trend to the self-opinionated thought and to the degradation of the efficiency? Let’s see in a modern example, how the American Army and the Marines Corps approached their adjustment to the modern maneuvers warfare. Several are the theoretic ones, both civilians and military men, who helped to create a coherent, sufficient, practical and effective doctrine body for this new theory. We will emphasize the analyst and lecturer William S. Lind. Curious and significantly, Mr. Lind did not serve even one day in military active service and nobody has shot him neither. Though still there exist alive a good number of officials of old formation, anxious to remedy the latter practical deficiency of his «vital path». Another fundamental personage was the colonel John Boyd, who was a former fighter pilot of the USAF. Also is interesting the contribution of the colonel Michael Wyly, teacher of the Marines Corps. Chronologically in a second time row, stands out strongly, expanding the torrent of ideas of the theory in march, the colonel of the US Army Robert Leonhard.

Let’s have present also that, the violent dialectic between two national wills, as we might define the war, has at least two big authors or prominent figures. Whose respective ideas, approaches and facts are highly dissimilar. Nevertheless, only one of the actions turns out to be finally correct or, at least, winner. The divergent points of view are typical of many human actions: is there a crisis or we are OK? Or all is changing quite rapidly?

Military Operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A Fourth Generation (asymmetrical, Guerrilla) War in Central Asia.

How do Western and Pakistani Armies develop their military operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda?  What is the idiosyncrasy of the 40 million Pasthuns who live in the territories infected by them? How is the Pashtunwali or honor’s code of their tribes? How can be better attacked the presence, a perfect control does not exist, of the rebels and terrorists in the wide zone on both sides of the «Northwest border» Afghan Pakistani? The instruction, the omnipresent use of the heavy fire support and the mentality of the great modern armies, do they facilitate the efficient military operations against indomitable fanatic religious rebels in their own lands?

The social and military situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Taliban and al-Qaeda form two vertically organized movements and from below to up. The ideological and geographical nearness allows them to collaborate tactically. That does that its cells do not know exactly which are the higher chiefs. They only know where they have to go to receive support or to send or to receive information or to communicate with another «peer» cell. The commands of these movements act by exception, not by presence or by deliberate action. This allows them to operate well, without the intervention of its high commands. The death of the mullah Omar and two or three chiefs in an American bombardment, would concern little its efficiency, its real military irregular levels of action. The «martyrdom» of the aforesaid or Bin Laden or his «managing director» al-Zawahiri would perform almost equal importance as their existence.
The operative key of the Taliban resides in their innumerable local chiefs (sheiks), with their small guerrillas bands. They are the persons in charge of intimidating, teaching, scaring, attacking and occupying more or less temporarily some of the numerous settlements and hamlets. According to the pressure degree that they should exercise on the villagers in order that they inform them, hide them and support them. Evidently its elementary degree of operative development keeps the movement at the defensive. Without being able to dispute to any of the present Armies in these areas, any territory or village. Without being able to realize other attack actions beyond ambushes, assaults to very small enemy isolated units, harassment by medium range fire, kidnapping, short duration isolated incursions and ways and paths mined. Ideologically concentrated in the conversion to their movement, to their semi nomadic cells, of the most related or nearby Pashtuns. In a minor and less extensive degree, operate the more independent cells of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Their usual procedure for assault a weak defended or without fighting spirit position is this: at dawn they bombard with the fixed rocket launchers heavy fire, then they approach to use mortars, finally, the assault it is realized by several independent squads, that converging advance shooting AK and RPD or PK machine gun bursts and their RPG and RL personal grenade-launchers.
Afghanistan almost lacks asphalt roads: there are only two. The most important gives itself a round turn all over the country, joining the principal populations, Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, etc. So they called it Ring Road. Then there is the North-South Road, which follows this tour, at the east of the country. They are not great thing. The asphalt have between half and one inch of thickness; the heats soften it and pot-holes and bubbles are easily formed. But, under a protuberance can hide an explosive device. It is necessary to cross slow the roads, looking at the soil and looking over the horizon, searching for carelessness observers, not very distant. The Taliban have the habit of recording on video the ambushes, to hang them on Internet. They are not in the habit of using cables activators; these are expensive and weigh, and the rebels are in isolated zones and the logistics is weak and complicated. The devices are activated by the pressure of the vehicle or by an frequency  transmitter with a given range; even serves an electronic opening door device. With the frequency inhibitors, the soldiers try to offset the radio waves in the probable frequencies used in the zone. Being the most expensive and complicated transmitters, that with more range, power and frequencies range. It is the game of the cat and the mouse. The problem is that the guerrillas of an area receive a radio activator that uses an unforeseen frequency.
As for the usual attack by the light and medium weapons fire, the guerrillas do not approach too much. They are less trained and equipped than that the professional military men. They act roughly scourging. Their more frequent weapon, the AK in its variants 47 and M are not precise beyond 150-175 m., in linear shooting. The mortars fire turns out to be imprecise and can be eluded against a mounted patrol. Nevertheless, against the civilians and the vehicles and goods traffic these assault skills are sufficient and effective. The most  terrifying and effective weapon of the Taliban is the illuminated fanatic suicidal. That looks for, as passport to the Houris’ Garden (it is not an eternal prize!!), to carry with him the major number of dead and mutilated enemies. But the attacker could be a religious madman, but is not an idiot. The suicides do not attack the military prepared or fortified positions. Endowed in their defensive perimeter with complicated wire fences, pits, walls, spaces between obstacles, alarms. Because they know that the explosion will vanish in the air and that they will not let him to approach the sentries outposts, because already they are waiting for him. The principal weapon of the suicide is not his explosive belt or jacket. They are the surprise, the freedom of action and the initiative.
The units of the Allied armies (in Afghanistan) or of the Pakistani army act employing battalions and regiments. With the battalion forces they try to sweep a zone in a direction, in whose opposite limit they have deployed a military «bolt». With a regiment they are in the habit of carrying out a search and annihilation operation in a given area. They are probably too much forces. The highland guerrillas have a natural weapon which lack the soldiers trained in «our way «: the patience and sobriety. In Vietnam they were lonely raised to the trees, and there were silently and stilly waiting, until the crossing of the soldiers who were sweeping the operational zone. Covering with mud the roof of an Afghan hut, it prevents the observation of its interior by the thermal vision airborne devices, crewed or not.
In 2002 the Pakistani began to send troops to the Waziristan and other Pashtuns zones, reaching progressively 80 thousand deployed men there. In their operations, destroyed Taliban training fields and captured many terrorist chiefs. But their regular war tactics and techniques, alienated them the favor or the neutrality, according to the cases, of the tribes, since there were taking place very easily civil innocent victims with them. Finally, in the autumn of 2005 the Government reached an agreement with the tribe chiefs or Maliks, moving back from the zone. It was a low intensity conflict: in the last 2 years 700 military men died. The problem was that it was clearly seen that the military men could not dominate the Pashtuns areas and clean them of terrorists. Since then, the reprisal raids are sporadic and punctual, over detected and given targets, which not always is obtained or destroyed.

The geographical space of the Pashtuns tribes (Afghans and Pakistani).

From Pakistan, looking from the Punjab (or «the land of the five rivers») towards Afghanistan, appears the great bed of the Indus river. This acts as geographical border with the Pashtuns lands, forming an enormous natural moat, which never stopped their raids. Then appears an irregular mixture of plains and mountainous spurs, in lands that turn out to be fertile when they can be watered, shaped by the first heights of the Suliman great mountainous chain. Beyond, the big mountains crown. Towards the north, forming perpetual snow zones, there are Alpine type pastures and heights forests, up to reaching the spurs of the massive chain Hindu Kush. Towards the south, spread the lowest Waziristan mountains, in which appear rocky outcrops at more than 3000  m. of altitude. Descending more toward south, are bush covered spurs and gullies, up to the desolation of Zheb and Mekran areas, already near the Indian Ocean, in the Baluchistan.
These intricate heights provide a wall that prevents massive invasions from one or another side of them, provided the passes are dominated. The most famous still nowadays is Khiber, since it opens the way between Kabul and Peshawar.
In the Baluchistan live the Baluchi, Braui and Pashtun (in the northern part) etnia tribes. In the South and North Waziristan’s regions the Pashtuns are more concentrated, forming a real Pakistani Pashtunistan. Within the great pashtun etnia, the Mahsuds (these specially inclined to break the agreements and treaties) are in the Waziristan central zone, the Wasirs and the Afridis live in the zone of Tirah and the Mohmands, at the north of Tirah. The zone of Chitral, at the north of the border, is formed by the Bajaur, Dhir and Swat districts. The Waziristans are the most problematic, independent and turbulent tribes. Their lands are poor and rough, in which scarcely they find an elementary sustenance. Formerly, up to the first third of last century, they were in the habit of descending occasionally in armed raids up to the Indus valley. To obtain value goods, mounts, jewels, foreign women, attacking and harvesting its inhabitants, which were Hindu of race and religion, and therefore, unbelievers. More to the south-east of the lands of these tribes, without coming yet to the Indus valley, are the lands also mountainous of the Khattaks, Bangashis and Yusufzais, all also Pashtuns. Tribes that produced first class Sepoys for the semi irregular British units operating in these zones.
The Afghan heights around the border with Pakistan are the other great slope west of the mentioned mountainous chains, crowned at the north of the country by the great Hindu Kush. The absence of European explorers in the Afghan side (Afghanistan was an independent country opposite to Russians and British), does that they are less studied and very little known by non specialist people.
In Afghanistan, the Pashtuns are at the south and south-east, reaching 35% of the population and around 12,5 millions persons. Another important Afghan etnia are the Uzbecs (10%) and the Tajiks (25%), which live in the north of the country, bordering the Tajikistan and Uzbekistan independent republics. In the center live the Hazaras (20 % of the population), related with the Persian and in the south are the Baluchis (10 %), related, in turn, with the Pakistani Baluchistan tribes. The flow of Afghans, specially Pashtuns, towards Pakistan or coming back home, when the military conditions are smoothed, does that the figures, lacking for decades of an official census, are variable and vague.
In Pakistan are 4 great etnias: the Pashtuns, the Punjabis, the Sindhi and the Baluchis. Precisely, the country is nowadays divided in four big provinces: Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan and the Northwest Border, each one formed by numerous administrative districts. There exists an autonomous tribes zone, that goes between the last province and the border with Afghanistan and that is governed by the central federal authority. The tribal zone possesses 7 tribal agencies and 6 small districts. The individuals of Pashtun etnia are approximately 25 millions in the country.
After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the dispute arose with Afghanistan for the possession of the wide frontier tribal zones, which was looking for its exit to the sea. Both countries almost came to the armed conflict, until they signed in 1963 an agreement of borders determination. The borders existing during the British domain were ratified in it. And Afghanistan stayed as an interior country, without access to the sea routes.

Social anthropologic particularities of the Pashtuns tribes.

The internal relations of the groups, families and local families groups and clans, are characterized by incorporating into them certain rites, rules, attitudes and taboos. These gather, value and quantify their vital needs, their primary emotions and their beliefs. The Islam is rigorously followed in the wide zone we treat. They are all of the sunni branch, that accepts the Koran and the Prophet Sunna, his acts and remarks (hadices) due gathered by his disciples, as the orthodox sources of Allah’s revelation to the men. The differences reside in the rigor with which they examine and accept the sources of the Sunna. This assumption forms a part of the social inculturation, strengthening and cohesion of these groups.
These societies agree and are ruled by an authority, more or less respected and obeyed. The more be perfected and advance towards the exterior the society, the power of this authority will become strong and grow and will spread in influence areas. The smaller and isolated is the group, the authority power will be more moderating and integrating, acting as the first between the «equal ones». In these last cases, the meeting of the active members (men, hunters) of the clan in assemblies, “jurgas” (in its language), etc., has supreme and sanctioning value of the deviant or solvent conducts for the group. Evidently, in these local councils, the prestige and the power of each individual member counts, and in them some are more «equal» than others. These local chiefs or Maliks are like favored negotiators with the different governments, who enjoy a personal more than institutional authority, and whose agreements can be ignored by the adult males, if are not confirmed by the assemblies.
Their code of customs and honor is the Pashtunwali. It establishes to the individual certain rights and demands from him certain social duties towards the family, the clan and the tribe. The basic disputes on women, gold or valid money and lands are in the origin of the durable hatreds in these tribes. And that must be kept up to avenging the perceived affront. The own fragility and weakness of the society demands the appearance of the protective values. These might be the hospitality, the loyalty, the friendship, the scorn of the strange, the revenge of affronts and damages, the individual and collective honor. Each of them protects and enlarges in some measure or shade the small human group. As we will see the relations they are interpersonal, in the areas of the family, the clan and the region. They are projected by the opportunity, the nearness, the exchange of goods and the relation. And become strong with the loyalty, the respect of the accepted procedures and the treatment time. And depending on the accumulation of these elementary successive acts. A stranger can aspire this way to his integration, in a personal manner. And not for the quality or importance of his category or institutional position.
The hospitality takes implicit the reciprocity, when one travels, is alone and is not aggressive. This sometimes is perfected by the endowment of an escort to the traveler through insecure zones. The violation of this «escort» by an assault supposes a serious affront for the clan that provided it. The loyalty between the members of the group, sometimes very unstable, cohesion it. The honor inflates the self esteem and appearance before everybody. The revenge, in absence of a real justice, search to punish and then to repair the damages and affronts real or perceived. The scorn of strange not adorned with good qualities or menacing the group, seeks to prevent a priori their integration in it, as a passive defense form. The friendship embraces the ties with the equals and within the group. If someone joins these elementary groups, he is object of loyalty and friendship in a personal way. These values would increase by his performance, ways and personal behavior. It would be the case of a native forces chief, accepted by them for the pays, the honor and the status that they offer and project on the regional clans. The acceptance is not with the cargo, but with the person.
Another characteristic of the social organization of these frontier semi independent tribes is that they stimulate a relative endogamia. With it they seek to isolate, to protect, to support or to increase their idiosyncrasy, influence and patrimony. But, without been biological harmful its use. As it would be between the members of the same family or small or nearby clan. In effect, the marriages not only suppose and carry individuals exchanges between the families of the married. They also produce exchanges and flows of gifts, visits, relations and power plots. In a few little evolved societies, living in a difficult way and, sometimes surrounded temporarily by hostile, the matrimonial relations produce a «revenue», an increases of social positions, influences and goods, which are very estimated by the families.

How is it necessary to confront the approximation towards the frontier tribes and foment their pacification? So that they isolate and expel the violent radical elements. And assume a more lasting and strong ties with the central authorities of both implied countries.

The highland villages are numerous, small and spread for both sides of the common border. In them can be camouflaged a small group of «regulars» Taliban, waiting that the jerky military flood passes away. Apart, the Taliban enjoy a complicated system of natural caves, reinforced by communication tunnels, endowed with extended zones for waiting and the storage of all classes of goods. This system is used to facilitate the traffic between both countries, without having to use the frontier passages or the most habitual and known gorges, as «parts» of the complete journey. And as temporary refuge, when the Allies carry out reprisal or rebels searching operations, on Pashtun zones where they have been more active. Taliban are Pashtuns. Only are distinguished from the local tribes by their major religious proselytism and military activity. Some of the villagers whom the soldiers meet in their patrols and searches, could be «part-time» Taliban and sympathizers. Two or three men of a native group that pass along a rural way, can be a  Taliban team moving across.
Here it is possible to exploit an atavism that survives in all the collectivities. And that is shackled by the civic and moral education in the so called educated nations. And that is the egoism, as original fruit of the defense need and of the chronic shortage of original resources. That generates in the most primitive societies a distrust towards the non nearby neighbor, who is collectively estimated as a competitor and a probable enemy. The Taliban are foreign in Pakistan, and committed in a foreign war. Apart from their select and absorbent radical interpretation of the sunni Islam. Following the mentioned general guidelines it is easy and simple, though laborious and necessarily progressive, to achieve that the Pakistani Pashtuns close up their lands to the Taliban. Avoiding this way the spread of their doctrine and methods. And the extension of their operative refuges towards the west of the Indus, which always will prevent their possible eradication of Afghanistan.
The military operations in the modern wars (of third generation) demand to detect the most rapid and precisely a mechanized enemy, along all his deployment, up to his reserves. Then attacks him with ground and air heavy fire, including tactical rockets. But here the enemy is evasive, dispersed, worse armed, bad trained, unruly. He is native, is tough and scanty, hides easily, is a born predator, usually does not defend his positions. The operations of the military big units and units let escape the guerrilla teams, through infinity of tactical «interstices» or microvacuums of military «combat capacity». It is necessary to operate with nearness at his microtactical military level. To the diffuse, tenuous, but omnipresent «swarm» of the Taliban is necessary to interpose a civic military «swarm». Formed by voluntary elements, more qualified, professional and trained than the guerrillas.
It is necessary to create small «action units», for combined “social military” actions. That are capable of reaching the Taliban habitat and to expel them from it, progressively and firmly. Interposing between them and the tribes, his real guerrilla habitat. Units that, in its basic or standard model, would be formed by a squad of infantry light local loyal trained forces, a squad of professional foreign infantries and a group of civil technical personnel for tribe promotion and education with suitable material. Its logistics and support will be based on ground units and heliborne forces, centrally controlled from 2 or 3 near operative bases. And complemented by mobile columns in vehicles or of cavalry, forming a support patrols’ network in a region.
Once made firm these small flexible units, can arrive there major forces and brigades of work and education, to go garrison the zone and stimulating its social improvement. It is necessary to possess money to buy the will of collaborators and sympathizers. This can become facilitating work and social distinction to them. And to realize the necessary plans of development.
To eradicate the opium crops can be an independent strategic goal. And it is necessary to value very well its opportunity and possibility for every small zone. It is necessary to offer the natives an alternative of peace, progress and well-being, within their beliefs and ways, in order that they expel the Taliban.

Maneuver Warfare. Its links with the Military Operational Strategy.

Introduction and Scope of the three different levels of the military activity.

The first level of the activity of the defense of an organized Society is called national strategy and also, some old-fashioned, great strategy. In it must be considered also the economic and diplomatic resources of the State, as part of the resources of a nation to obtain her big strategic goals in a war.

The military strategy or simply strategy treats, in the second great level of activity in the national defense, of the definition of the big goals of a war, of a theatre of operations or a campaign, and of the assignment of the military, generally scanty or very scanty resources, to get them.

The tactics devote itself to the best accomplishment of the combats against an enemy, whom is opposed to the achievement of our strategic goals by military means. The combat skills and technics are the bricks which help to construct the tactics. They are the specific knowledge of weapons, movements, protections, which the men personally and collectively learn with the training and their experience.

In the Realm of the ever present Operational Strategy is the ultimate goal of modern Maneuver Warfare.

Between both levels of the military action exists a space of essentially practical and eminent activity, so called operational level or operational strategy. Its mission is to optimize the use of the tactics and of the available resources in the campaign and in the theatre of operations. To do that, it defines and conceptualizes the battles, the marches, etc., both the military operations and their correct succession, depending on those decisive goals.

So it gives to the tactics and the decision to which it is orientated, a superior importance. Which is far beyond of the pursuit and the exploit of the tactical success. That is to say, the operative strategy uses the tactics as one of its immediate instruments. Integrating them to reach the goals that are entrusted to it and being orientated to them, taking part then of its strategic nature.

The Instruments of Maneuver Warfare. Used both in Mechanized Warfare as in Infantry Warfare.

This way, the operational strategy defines its own goals in the military theatre or campaign, which are the incapacitation and the disorganization of the enemy, through the action over his operational and strategic vulnerabilities. The first is orientated against the enemy combat capacity, seeking to incapacitate positionally or functionally it, and simultaneously protecting the own combat capacity. The second is achieved by the occupation or the destruction of the enemy critical vulnerabilities in the operations zone.

These vulnerabilities are those elements, possessions or reasons that give sense to the fight that the enemy makes against us. That is to say, whose loss inevitably infuses a hopelessness sensation and a uselessness sense in continuing the fight in these circumstances, which only is now oriented to accumulate more losses.

In the World War II, the occupation of the enemy capital and the fall of his government were critical strategic vulnerabilities. To which get through an operative strategy of mobile offensive war: as example, the spring campaign of 1940 in the western front. The same thing Hitler looked for in 1941 in the Soviet front in relation with Moscow. Surely in this total war, almost of extermination, in the East front, its occupation had not had the importance that was assuming him. But Moscow was constituting a great railway “hub”, a vital center of railway communications for the whole USSR at the west of the Urals mountains. And, in this respect, it had been a critical permanent vulnerability of the military operational level.

To achieve these intermediate strategic aims, the operational level has several specific operational means that are the intelligence, the imbalance and the incapacitation of the enemy, the tempo or operations and combats relative speed, the logistic organization and its physical support, the full supplies line and the correct sense of the commands.

It uses these means to lead and to optimally use (without squandering) the tactical – operational means at its disposition.

These are:

the area transitability (in the whole geographical dimension of the nature of the lands, climate, station and day hour), with less range and significance (for it not takes care of the air dimension)somes call it ground ongoing,

the combat capacity (all kind of military means like men, equipment, supports and combat or carrier vehicles) and the operational movement capacity (big and small tonnage transports, the supplies and replacements of all kinds and combustible and the deposits and accessible parks in the zone) available,

the freedom of action and the “favorable interfaces of action” with the enemy (that exist and that can also be created always, by means of the extension or the decrease of the “field of action” over him, like a tactical operative zoom, or by means of its change to another sector of the front or in the depth of the enemy zone). With these last 2 “systems” we can act always according to our criterion and interest and not simply reacting to the enemy actions.

Hereby, the mentioned 10 “operational systems” realize the employment and the functioning of all the levels of the National Defense. And they go from the conception and the great creation of goals and interests. Received from the high command and ultimately from the nation, including the allocated resources, up to the practical final accomplishment of them. Involving also the necessary and the inevitable and imposed by the enemy tactical employment of the military means, as stages for the optimal attainment of those entrusted goals.

These systems are full developed and explained in «On the Nature of War» book. You can take a look to the Index in www.amazon.com

THE OPERATIONAL STRATEGY. ITS SCOPE AND CHARACTERISTICS.

The first level of the activity of the defense of an organized Society is called national strategy and also, some old-fashioned, great strategy. In it must be considered also the economic and diplomatic resources of the State, as part of the resources of a nation to obtain her big strategic goals in a war.

The military strategy or simply strategy treats, in the second great level of activity in the national defense, of the definition of the big goals of a war, of a theatre of operations or a campaign, and of the assignment of the military, generally scanty or very scanty resources, to get them.

The tactics devote itself to the best accomplishment of the combats against an enemy, whom is opposed to the achievement of our strategic goals by military means. The combat skills and technics are the bricks which help to construct the tactics. They are the specific knowledge of weapons, movements, protections, which the men personally and collectively learn with the training and their experience.

Between both levels of the military action exists a space of essentially practical and eminent activity, so called operational level or operational strategy. Its mission is to optimize the use of the tactics and of the available resources in the campaign and in the theatre of operations. To do that, it defines and conceptualizes the battles, the marches, etc., both the military operations and their correct succession, depending on those decisive goals.

So it gives to the tactics and the decision to which it is orientated, a superior importance. Which is far beyond of the pursuit and the exploit of the tactical success. That is to say, the operative strategy uses the tactics as one of its immediate instruments. Integrating them to reach the goals that are entrusted to it and being orientated to them, taking part then of its strategic nature.

This way, the operational strategy defines its own goals in the military theatre or campaign, which are the incapacitation and the disorganization of the enemy, through the action over his operational and strategic vulnerabilities. The first is orientated against the enemy combat capacity, seeking to incapacitate positionally or functionally it, and simultaneously protecting the own combat capacity. The second is achieved by the occupation or the destruction of the enemy critical vulnerabilities in the operations zone.

These vulnerabilities are those elements, possessions or reasons that give sense to the fight that the enemy makes against us. That is to say, whose loss inevitably infuses a hopelessness sensation and a uselessness sense in continuing the fight in these circumstances, which only is now oriented to accumulate more losses.

In the World War II, the occupation of the enemy capital and the fall of his government were critical strategic vulnerabilities. To which get through an operative strategy of mobile offensive war: as example, the spring campaign of 1940 in the western front. The same thing Hitler looked for in 1941 in the Soviet front in relation with Moscow. Surely in this total war, almost of extermination, in the East front, its occupation had not had the importance that was assuming him. But Moscow was constituting a great railway «hub», a vital center of railway communications for the whole USSR at the west of the Urals mountains. And, in this respect, it had been a critical permanent vulnerability of the military operational level.

To achieve these intermediate strategic aims, the operational level has several specific operational means that are the intelligence, the imbalance and the incapacitation of the enemy, the tempo or operations and combats relative speed, the logistic organization and its physical support, the full supplies line and the correct sense of the commands.

It uses these means to lead and to optimally use (without squandering) the tactical – operational means at its disposition.

These are:

the area transitability (in the whole geographical dimension of the nature of the lands, climate, station and day hour),

the combat capacity (all kind of military means like men, equipment, supports and combat or carrier vehicles) and the operational movement capacity (big and small tonnage transports, the supplies and replacements of all kinds and combustible and the deposits and accessible parks in the zone) available,

the freedom of action and the «favorable interfaces of action» with the enemy (that exist and that can also be created always, by means of the extension or the decrease of the «field of action» over him, like a tactical operative zoom, or by means of its change to another sector of the front or in the depth of the enemy zone). With these last 2 «systems» we can act always according to our criterion and interest and not simply reacting to the enemy actions.

Hereby, the mentioned 10 «operational systems» realize the employment and the functioning of all the levels of the National Defense. And they go from the conception and the great creation of goals and interests. Received from the high command and ultimately from the nation, including the allocated resources, up to the practical final accomplishment of them. Involving also the necessary and the inevitable and imposed by the enemy tactical employment of the military means, as stages for the optimal attainment of those entrusted goals. These “operational systems” are full developed in my book “On the Nature of War”, specially dedicated to the international educational military market.

Suggested reading for professional armed forces.

I offer a books´list on military theory, which reading will be very useful to you. And that I consider to be fundamental to know better the military topics and not simply to read a more or less repeated history.

I am including one of my book, fruit of my years of dedication to this topic, which content you can examine in www.amazon.com.

“Maneuver Warfare Handbook” by William Lind.

The classical on modern maneuver warfare. Used by the Marines Corps. It is based on the German experience in the World War II. That in turn is an extrapolation to the mechanized war, of the experiences developed by the Stormtroops (infantry assault forces) in the I World War.

“The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. Samuel Griffith’s translation is the best of all.

The permanent and global chinese military theory from a classical author. Its style and content characteristics support the idea of one unique author. With each useful reading, more shades and perspectives are caught. That come to fruition in major richness, agility and depth of thought.

Other «Chinese» books give you a number of strategies (the 33, the 36, the 100, etc.). Its utilization is based on its constant memorization or on iits permanent application. I consider them to be slight practical, for the profuse, diffuse and still confused character of many ancient authors of the Han etnia. What does happen if a different case arises? It seems as if they wanted to conceal their supposed wisdom from the not initiated ones.

“The Soviet Conduct of Tactical Maneuver” by David Glantz.

The Soviet military doctrine that won the War, fully explained. With them they won the II World War. And imposed their economic social system in half Europe, supposed «liberated» from the Germans.

“Forward into Battle” by Paddy Griffith.

Excelent book about last two centuries’ military tactics, extensively presented. It has detractors for its sometimes breaking vision.

«On War» by Clausewitz.

It is an extensive work, since it fits with the epoch, in which writing little was a sign of inconsistency, little importance and scanty reflection. The books or parts that compose it were finished in variable degree by the author, whose premature death did not allow its conclusion. We are interested in the first chapters on the theory and the philosophy of the war. Other books treat on the tactics of a period in which the enemy deployment was staying at the sights of the enemy command and his HHQQ and auxiliary, placed in a nearby height. He praises Liddell Hart’s opposite: a decisive battle using the maximum own concentration and power on the enemy army. In an age of masses armies, inaugurated by Napoleon, soon was clear that it was not possible to win a war between full armed nations, in an alone great battle. It was necessary a campaign with successive victorious operations, looking for the achievement of the military goals of the campaign (theatre of operations, Europe, Pacific Ocean, Africa) or the strategy. In addition, already there did not exist a genius advanced to his epoch as Napoleon.

“Maneuver Warfare: An Anthology”, compiled by Richard D. Hooker.

Short articles of some of the best modern military writers on that topic. It has works from Rommel, Leonhard, John Antal, etc.

“The Art of Maneuver” by Robert Leonhard.

One of the first full theory about maneuver warfare. And he stands out strongly, expanding the ideas torrent of this theory in development those moments.

“Race to the Swift” by Richard Simpkin.

On maneuver warfare. The best book of this British military thinker. Its reading is some difficult, for its language erudition.

“Manual de Táctica”, dos tomos, by Eike Middeldorf.

It is the most complete and current manual on modern tactics that I have found. It has chapters about land warfare using atomic tactical bombs and on the particular conditions of fight: by night, in forests, with extreme cold, etc.

“Strategy” by Basil Liddell Hart.

Best military theory by B. L. Hart. Easy to read.

“The Foundations of the Science of War” by John Frederick Charles Fuller.

The best book about military principles. Hard to read sometimes. Almost 65 years after its first edition, it was reprinted by the Marines Corps. I got a first edition copy from an American university library (Lancaster, Pa.). It had many critiques and later the author went back on the underlying ideas in the book. The critiques, in turn, had as bottom that he had an eccentric personality, in a group (the military men) tremendously conservative and established by protocol. He had mystical streakes (Hindu philosophy, yoga) and flirted with the Nazi, being got by Hitler.

“On the Nature of War” by Enrique Alonso.

The “how to do” in war. Recent, full and unusual military theory. It is based in 10 “operational systems”.

“Understanding War” by Trevor N. Dupuy.

It is a combat theory, based on History, military factors and its figures. I find that his «friction» concept development, took from Clausewitz, is deviant. And he exposes another concept different from Clausewitz.