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Military Operations Planning and Methodology: Thoughts on military problem-solving
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy. Försvarshögskolan.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1653-3787
2017 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis discusses military operations planning and methodology by reviewing two of NATO’s planning documents, i.e. the ‘Allied Joint Doctrine for Operational-Level Planning’ (AJP 5) and the ‘Comprehensive Operations Planning Directive’ (COPD), and defends the following claim.

Parts of the description of NATO’s Operational-Level Planning Process (OLPP), as described in the AJP 5 and the COPD, is methodologically inconsistent (contradictory), due to epistemic and practical implications of methodology.

As such, the thesis discusses three topics: approaches to Operational Art, planning heuristics and implications of methodology. The thesis also intertwines military operations planning, methodology and military problem-solving.

This thesis consists of two published papers and an introduction. The introduction explains and further discusses operations planning as well as terms and concepts stated within the two papers.

Paper I focuses on the AJP 5 and discusses the methodological distinction between two approaches within Operational Art, denoted the ‘Design’ and the ‘Systemic’ approach. The distinction between these approaches is vague and paper I states one epistemic and one practical implication of methodology.

Paper II focuses on the COPD and discusses two specific planning heuristics. The first relates to the Systemic approach and the second heuristic relates to the third approach denoted the ‘Causalist’ approach within Operational Art. A methodological contradiction exists between these specific heuristics and paper II states one epistemic and three practical implications of methodology.

Briefly, this thesis implies that parts of NATO’s description of the OLPP suffers from a methodological contradiction. Hence, a suggestion is to revise parts of the AJP 5 and the COPD. The thesis also suggest the development of a “NATO handbook of methodology” to better explain methodological implications on military operations planning and the “how to” of military problem-solving.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. , p. 81
Series
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831 ; 58
Keywords [en]
Military operations planning, methodology, problem solving, military decision-making, approaches to Operational Art, planning heuristics, AJP 5, COPD.
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-204854ISBN: 978-91-7729-336-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-204854DiVA, id: diva2:1086296
Presentation
2017-04-25, abe_deansoffice_konferensrum (nr 1414), Teknikringen 74 D, (4 tr. med hiss), Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20170403

Available from: 2017-04-03 Created: 2017-03-31 Last updated: 2017-04-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Approaches to Operational Art Revisited: Theoretical and Practical Implications of Methodology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Approaches to Operational Art Revisited: Theoretical and Practical Implications of Methodology
2016 (English)In: 21st International Command & Control Research and Technology Symposium (ICCRTS): C2 in a Complex Connected Battlespace, 2016Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

U.S. doctrines have introduced a third approach within Operational Art, called the design approach, which has evoked military professional and academic debate as well as influenced NATO doctrines. Allied Joint Doctrine for Operational-level Planning (AJP 5) states that a Force Commander should choose one out of three approaches when conducting Operational Art and conducting operational planning: a traditional (causalist), a systemic or a design approach. The difference between the causalist- and the systemic- approach concerns the clash between reductionism and holism, but the difference between the design- and the systemic- approach is methodologically vague. Hence the following question concerning methodology and Operational Art arises:What methodological implications could constitute an argument for choosing the design approach when conducting Operational Art within a battlespace?Neither NATO doctrine, planning framework nor previous research offer any explicit methodological argument for choosing, or preferring, the design- over the systemic- approach. This article concludes that one possible argument for preferring a design approach is adherence to value-focused thinking, but this requires that the Force Commander can and is willing to focus on stakeholders’ values within the battlespace. This conclusion is implied by two methodological implications identified and discussed in this article. If the design approach is to be a relevant option, then further conceptual development, experimentation and education is required. To conclude, NATO should review the description of their approaches within Operational Art since the argument for preferring one approach over another is lacking and this could hamper the Force Commander’s management of the battlespace. U.S. doctrines have introduced a third approach within Operational Art, called the design approach, which has evoked military professional and academic debate as well as influenced NATO doctrines. Allied Joint Doctrine for Operational-level Planning (AJP 5) states that a Force Commander should choose one out of three approaches when conducting Operational Art and conducting operational planning: a traditional (causalist), a systemic or a design approach. The difference between the causalist- and the systemic- approach concerns the clash between reductionism and holism, but the difference between the design- and the systemic- approach is methodologically vague. Hence the following question concerning methodology and Operational Art arises:What methodological implications could constitute an argument for choosing the design approach when conducting Operational Art within a battlespace?Neither NATO doctrine, planning framework nor previous research offer any explicit methodological argument for choosing, or preferring, the design- over the systemic- approach. This article concludes that one possible argument for preferring a design approach is adherence to value-focused thinking, but this requires that the Force Commander can and is willing to focus on stakeholders’ values within the battlespace. This conclusion is implied by two methodological implications identified and discussed in this article. If the design approach is to be a relevant option, then further conceptual development, experimentation and education is required. To conclude, NATO should review the description of their approaches within Operational Art since the argument for preferring one approach over another is lacking and this could hamper the Force Commander’s management of the battlespace.

Keywords
Design approach, Methodology, Operational Art, Operations planning, Value-focused thinking, Battlespace management
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Philosophy; Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-204853 (URN)
Conference
21st International Command & Control Research and Technology Symposium (ICCRTS),6-8 september, London UK
Note

QC 20170403

Available from: 2017-03-31 Created: 2017-03-31 Last updated: 2017-04-03Bibliographically approved
2. Operations planning revisited: theoretical and practical implications of methodology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Operations planning revisited: theoretical and practical implications of methodology
2016 (English)In: Defence Studies, ISSN 1470-2436, E-ISSN 1743-9698, Vol. 16, no 3, p. 248-269Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Parts of NATO’s contemporary planning framework called the comprehensive operations planning directive (COPD), and parts of the operation-level planning process should be revised since they suffer from methodological inconsistency. This claim is defended by discussing contradicting methodological properties and heuristics applied when framing and managing a military problem in accordance with the COPD. The methodological inconsistency within the COPD; in other words, simultaneously applying contradictory methodological properties, implies one theoretical and three practical implications. The theoretical implication is summarised in a meta-theoretical framework and explained by discussing five methodological properties: non-linearity, emergence, independently changeable generalisations, invariance and boundaries. The three practical implications of methodology imply that methodology is guiding: the problem-frame, conceptual development and action. To improve military planners’ understanding and management of these four identified implications, NATO is recommended to develop a “handbook of methodology.” The purpose of such a handbook should be to emphasise the utility of methodology when planning military operations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2016
Keywords
causalist approach, complexity, COPD, methodology, Operations planning, systemic approach
National Category
Business Administration Computational Mathematics Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-197183 (URN)10.1080/14702436.2016.1187567 (DOI)2-s2.0-84973140766 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20161213

Available from: 2016-12-13 Created: 2016-11-30 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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