Principles of Tactical Organization and Their Impact on Force Design in the US Army, Ian Gilbert, 9781288306565


This study investigates the nature of the theoretical principles that govern military organization, seeks to identify those principles, and then applies them to determine how best to design tactical organizations. To test its hypothesis that such theoretical principles do exist, the study examines the existing theory of tactical organization and analyzes the various force design options that the US Army has adopted since World War II. The study concludes that two fundamental principles govern tactical organization — economy of force and unity of effort — and that the US Army misinterprets both these principles. From these two fundamental principles, the study postulates and defines five subordinate principles — flexibility, integration, standardization, resiliency, and continuity — and derives from them a list of organizational imperatives for the force design process. The study also concludes that the US Army does not have, but desperately needs, a formal doctrine for force design. It argues that the US Army currently relies on individual interpretations of the World War II McNair philosophy of streamlining and pooling, despite the fact that changes in conditions have rendered that philosophy even more deficient than it was at the time of its formulation. The study also identifies several major force design issues that remain unresolved in the US Army today, and provides some possible solutions to those issues for further evaluation. Among these issues is the question of whether the Army should adopt a “skip echelon” force structure that alternates units of maneuver and units of concentration at both the tactical and operational levels. Another issue centers on the organizational implications of the Army’s evolving operational concept for the reintroduction of tactical corps and operational field armies. The final issue is the fundamental dilemma of the Army of Excellence — its organizational emphasis on austerity and flexibility conflicts with the Army’s new

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