U.s. Military Campaign Planning

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The 2003 invasion of Iraq, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) provides an excellent case study to evaluate military campaign planning. OIF demonstrates the complexity of campaign planning, while providing relevant lessons for today’s planners and leaders. OIF was successful in achieving its initial tactical objective of capturing Baghdad. However, due to a insufficient understating of the operational environment (OE) and a poorly defined problem, OIF’s initial operational approach failed to achieve strategic interests. Fortunately, a successful operational approach under Secretary Gates and General Petraeus occurred and through iterative reassessment and reframing allowed the military to establish conditions, which facilitated reaching national …show more content…

Operational art is the application of planners and commander’s skills, intuition, knowledge, judgment, and experience that link ends, ways, means and risk to achieve a desired end state. Whereas, operational design is an iterative process of understanding and problem framing that supports planners and commanders in their application of operational art to conceive and construct viable approaches to operations and campaigns. The result of operational design is the commander’s operational approach that generally describes the actions the joint force needs to accomplish its end state. With the overall intent of operational art and design providing a bridge between tactics and strategy, which links military operations to national interests. One of the foundational elements that link military operations to national interests is military planners and commanders interpretation of civilian policy guidance. JP 5-0 states, “clear strategic guidance and frequent interaction among senior leaders, and commanders promotes early understanding of, and agreement on, strategic and military end states, objectives, planning assumptions, risks, and other key factors.” The military interpreted civilian pre-invasion policy guidance as the timely removal of Saddam Hussein from power and neutralization of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) with a small and agile force. In addition, the military would need and set the conditions for the establishment and

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