Operational Art

Overview of Operational Art

By The Cove May 16, 2019


Operational art is the use of military forces to achieve strategic goals through the design, organisation, integration, and conduct of strategies, campaigns and battles. This article or briefing script via the Air University of the Air War College provides a great snapshot of many of the elements that feed into the operational art.

The article explains that operational art assists commanders use resources efficiently and effectively to achieve strategic objectives. It requires broad vision, the ability to anticipate, and effective joint and often multinational cooperation. Joint force commanders employ operational art, in concert with strategic guidance and direction received from superior leaders, in developing campaigns and operations. Within the article it discusses that operational art is characterised by the following fundamental elements:

  • Synergy
  • Simultaneity and depth
  • Anticipation
  • Balance
  • Leverage
  • Timing and tempo
  • Operational reach and approach
  • Forces and functions
  • Arranging operations
  • Centers of gravity
  • Direct versus Indirect
  • Decisive points
  • Culmination
  • Termination

Read the article in full to enhance your understanding of Operational art and share your thoughts with us about other resources which may help people understand the concept in simple terms.



The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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