Kurt Von Schleicher—The Soldier and Politics in the Run-Up to National Socialism: A Case Study of Civil-Military Relations - Lt.-Col. Alexander B. Bitter
This monograph assesses the adequacy of current United States joint campaign planning doctrine within the context of conventional operations between similar forces within a theater of war. The study focuses on five key doctrinal planning concepts— center of gravity, decisive points, operational reach, balance, and branches and sequels.
Joint planning doctrine directly influences the national security of the United States. The foundation of effective and rigorous military planning is the body of professional doctrine that shapes and animates the planning process. The use of poor or insufficient planning doctrine may result in flawed campaign plans which unnecessarily risk the resources and prestige of the United States as well as the lives of America’s servicemen and women. Successful campaigns, developed from intellectually sound and militarily thorough planning doctrine, are the building blocks of national victory in war.
A case study of Japanese campaign planning efforts at the beginning of 1942 and the retroactive application of selected joint doctrine planning concepts to these efforts is the method and medium of inquiry. Japanese operational planning in 1942 contained a number of complex and difficult challenges. These challenges present a rigorous test for current doctrine. Historically, this process resulted in the disastrous attempt to invade Midway Island. Joint doctrine is assessed as adequate if its application to 1942 Japanese planning would have resulted in the development of a campaign plan potentially more successful than the historical Midway operation.
This paper concludes that the rigorous application of current joint doctrine by the Japanese to the planning for the 1942 campaign would have resulted in the production of a more thorough, resilient, and potentially more successful plan. Joint campaign planning doctrine, a way to think about warfare, would have overcome the challenges involved in planning this campaign.