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Thread: Center of Gravity Construct

  1. #141
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    In 1997 the USAWC published a study by retired Col.'s Mendel and Munger which had broad impact in LE circles called Strategic Planning and the Drug Threat. In the study they teach a framework for LE to write Strategic Plans and OP plans/orders basic 5 paragraph style. In the paper they define the COG as this (page 92 of the study, 102 of the pdf file)

    "Main concentration of an opponents power which can interpose itself between us and our strategic objective causing our campaign to fail."
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 09-14-2007 at 02:58 PM. Reason: Added link.

  2. #142
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    SSI, 9 Oct 07: A Concept at the Crossroads: Rethinking the Center of Gravity
    .....As good as the military is at winning decisive battles, it now finds itself paying the penalty for incomplete thinking. The highly effective decisive operations that made fugitives of the Taliban and removed Saddam Hussein from power have each evolved into a prolonged struggle to provide stability to transforming societies and legitimacy to new broad-based governments. Decisive operations, the military is rediscovering, do not necessarily win wars. The current strategic landscape and the nature of what has come to be known as The Long War suggests that the time is ripe for a renaissance in military thinking. A more holistic approach to war, extending well beyond the realm of major decisive operations, is currently mandated, which in turn calls for a corresponding recalibration of the military mindset. Such change, among other things, necessitates adjustments to doctrine, thus bringing a discussion of the COG’s relevance to the forefront. Can the COG concept be useful in ways lying beyond the context of decisive operations, should it be applied in that broader context, and, if so, how? These are the central questions of this paper.

    After briefly examining the COG concept‘s evolution, its present doctrinal form, and some suggestions for its future, this paper proposes that the COG’s role in American military thinking must be radically reconsidered. In this regard, the paper briefly discusses three options for evolving the COG concept from its present form. It then narrows discussion to the most promising one of these options, specifically concluding that the COG can realize its fullest potential in facilitating the successful prosecution of war if it is regarded as a broad, abstract principle for focusing the total national effort in theater rather than simply a practical formula for selecting battlefield targets and objectives.....

  3. #143
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    I agree with the intent and the conclusion of paper. The word Schwerpunkt or CoG is used more broadly by CvC, sometimes as part of a metaphor drawn from physics, sometimes in a way similar to US doctrine and sometimes just to mark the main or most important point(s). If accepted as a broad principle - from which much can extracted, see the (CC, CR, CV theory) - it is a very fruitful way of thinking, especially with the two other simple guidelines.
    In conformity with all that has been said on the subject up to the present, two fundamental principles reign throughout the whole plan of the war, and serve as a guide for everything else.

    The first is: to reduce the weight of the enemy's power into as few centres of gravity as possible, into one if it can be done; again, to confine the attack against these centres of force to as few principal undertakings as possible, to one if possible; lastly, to keep all secondary undertakings as subordinate as possible. In a word, the first principle is, to act concentrated as much as possible.

    The second principle runs thus—to act as swiftly as possible; therefore, to allow of no delay or detour without sufficient reason.
    Book 8, Chapter 9
    Last edited by Firn; 09-22-2009 at 07:18 PM.

  4. #144
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    The one thing that I think is most significantly unique about COIN COG, at least revolutionary COIN COG (as opposed to resistance or separatist COIN) anyway, as compared to the traditional state vs state warfare that CvC studied, is that in COIN, the COG is something that both sides are competing for the support of, so there is just one prize to be won; whereas in conventional both sides have their own COG that the other side wants to defeat, and that they must protect.

    That COG that the government and the insurgent are competing for the support of is the populace. Whichever side gains this will ultimately win.

    Similarly the CRs and CVs are not then subsets to be identified and defeated, but rather supporting tasks that must be identified and accomplished.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 09-23-2009 at 01:40 AM.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  5. #145
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    Default What the what...

    A new publication from the Combat Studies Institute regarding COG. Personally I never liked the whole CV-CR-CC addition (what is it with the American mania to operationalise everything?)

    The Fog of COG

  6. #146
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default Yes..and no ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    The one thing that I think is most significantly unique about COIN COG, at least revolutionary COIN COG (as opposed to resistance or separatist COIN) anyway, as compared to the traditional state vs state warfare that CvC studied, is that in COIN, the COG is something that both sides are competing for the support of, so there is just one prize to be won; whereas in conventional both sides have their own COG that the other side wants to defeat, and that they must protect.

    That COG that the government and the insurgent are competing for the support of is the populace. Whichever side gains this will ultimately win.

    Similarly the CRs and CVs are not then subsets to be identified and defeated, but rather supporting tasks that must be identified and accomplished.
    Perhaps, but there are two sides to this coin. In Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars Andrew Mack points out that it is total war for the insurgency, and limited war for the large power - yet both are fighting to break the will of the other. The counterinsurgency (large nation) fighting to gain legitimacy for the Host Nation government while the Insurgency is trying to break the political will of the large nation by undermining its population's opinion that the war is a legitimate affair.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

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  7. #147
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Perhaps, but there are two sides to this coin. In Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars Andrew Mack points out that it is total war for the insurgency, and limited war for the large power - yet both are fighting to break the will of the other. The counterinsurgency (large nation) fighting to gain legitimacy for the Host Nation government while the Insurgency is trying to break the political will of the large nation by undermining its population's opinion that the war is a legitimate affair.
    That seems to assume that "counterinsurgency" is by definition fought by a large power against insurgents in another country. Where does the host nation government fit in? Aren't they fighting for survival, and shouldn't they be just as motivated as the insurgents?

    Seems to be that insurgency/counterinsurgency is essentially about a government threatened by insurgency. There may or may not be a great power or other nation in the picture supporting either or both sides.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 02-23-2013 at 10:35 PM.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  8. #148
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Our definitions of insurgency and the related operations of COIN and UW trap us in ways that are very confining. These definitions create small boxes with high walls that prevent our minds from seeing answers that otherwise are near at hand.

    I personally believe that the only healthy way to think about COIN is as a domestic operation, one that is in truth the vast majority of the time the day to day business of any system of governance to operate in a manner consistent with the will and expectations of the entire populace affected by their actions. That is always a difficult balancing act, and when governments begin to get that wrong - by intent or accident - the difficulties begin to build. Such a society then becomes vulnerable to both internal and external forces seeking to leverage the energy contained in such a populace toward their own goals and interests of the organizer. Often these are self-serving. They are not the insurgency, they are merely the exploiters of conditions of insurgency.

    Our definitions tell us foreigners do COIN to, and that all insurgency is "violent." Little wonder we show up in foreign countries where we believe we have interests and begin to act in ways that are so destructive of the sovereignty and legitimacy of the governance in those places in the name of "COIN." Equally that we think we have "won" when we make the violence go away for some short period of time or in some small place. After all, with no violence, it is no longer an insurgency, right?

    No, insurgency and COIN are two sides of the same domestic...coin. UW and FID are foreign injects into that internal system, depending on which side the foreign intruder thinks their interests are best represented by. Certainly we employ both as it suits us. Historically we have picked one. I believe in the future we will increasingly see where we are better served by some combination of both or neither. That is something we should think on.

    But first we need to scrub large sections of our doctrine. It is dangerously biased and short-sighted. It focuses on tactical criteria we think are important, rather than upon the fundamental nature of such things that truly are. Important, that is.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  9. #149
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    Our COIN doctrine, perhaps most of our doctrine, should open with the Nietzsche quote below. Too much of it is based on myth that has taken on the power of religion to explain how the world works. We need an event like Martin Luther's proclamation to start our own reformation. The doctrine church is corrupt.

    "Convictions are a greater enemy of truth than lies" Nietzsche

  10. #150
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Our definitions of insurgency and the related operations of COIN and UW trap us in ways that are very confining. These definitions create small boxes with high walls that prevent our minds from seeing answers that otherwise are near at hand.

    I personally believe that the only healthy way to think about COIN is as a domestic operation, one that is in truth the vast majority of the time the day to day business of any system of governance to operate in a manner consistent with the will and expectations of the entire populace affected by their actions.

    "Insurgency" is the sum of "Civil War" and "Violent Resistance to Occupation" (the latter including wars of independence).

    The both are vastly different, and Westerners have come to think of the latter mostly and have begun to apply that thought to civil wars.

    It is noteworthy that from the "host" or "puppet" government perspective an occupation war may be a civil war - see Afghanistan.


    Civil wars are almost all about loyalty (or more generally: motivation), with hardware and even military competence being of relatively small relevance.
    Occupation wars are largely about buying time and limiting expenses nowadays. Few countries still occupy in the Roman way, where breaking an uprising shall break an ethnicities' back and ensure lasting control (Russia and China still do and Sri Lanka did, not sure about Turkey).

  11. #151
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Fuchs,

    I appreciate where you are coming from, but I find violence to be such a poor indicator of anything. Certainly it is a metric that something is seriously wrong, but I don't think it uniquely identifies any fundamental aspects of what that problem is, which in turn would lead one to ways of going about solving it. We come to see violence as the ultimate criteria, and overly congratulate ourselves when our superior application of violence causes the other side to stop employing violence for a while.

    Most often, violence is a tactical choice of one or more of the parties. Some times the state forces the populace to resort to violence, sometimes it is the other way around. At the most fundamental level, when the degree of violence and the organization of the sides are stripped away insurgency is simply this:

    An internal, populace-based illegal challenge to some system of governance.

    That is the base model with no frills. Everything else are just option packages one can pay extra for. But no matter how many options you add to a Pinto, it is still a pinto. We get so distracted by the options we forget what it is we're driving or buying into.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  12. #152
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Default Make Peace not War

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Fuchs,

    I appreciate where you are coming from, but I find violence to be such a poor indicator of anything. Certainly it is a metric that something is seriously wrong, but I don't think it uniquely identifies any fundamental aspects of what that problem is, which in turn would lead one to ways of going about solving it. We come to see violence as the ultimate criteria, and overly congratulate ourselves when our superior application of violence causes the other side to stop employing violence for a while.
    Maybe we should examine the problem from the "peace" aspect.

    Our political masters keep telling us that making and maintaining peace is one of their top strategic goals. Why then do we invest nothing at all at collecting, studying, assessing and exploiting peace-related intelligence?
    http://www.fpif.org/articles/where_a..._professionals
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
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  13. #153
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Our COIN doctrine, perhaps most of our doctrine, should open with the Nietzsche quote below. Too much of it is based on myth that has taken on the power of religion to explain how the world works. We need an event like Martin Luther's proclamation to start our own reformation. The doctrine church is corrupt.
    Somebody say Amen!

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