Accession Number : ADA297966

Title :   The Razor's Edge: Identifying the Operational Culminating Point of Victory.

Descriptive Note : Final rept.,

Corporate Author : NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI

Personal Author(s) : Webb, George S.

PDF Url : ADA297966

Report Date : 16 MAY 1995

Pagination or Media Count : 33

Abstract : Clausewitz's notion of the culminating point is strongly endorsed in US military doctrinal manuals. While the concept appears valid, few sources offer clues on how the operational commander is to identify the culminating point except, perhaps, in retrospect. Identifying that point as it happens could signal the military leader if and when he has lost or won the fight. This study determined that absent any practical advice, one has to revert to theory to deduce an answer. Clausewitz says there are three means of determining victory: the enemy's greater loss of material strength, his loss of morale, and his admission of giving up his intentions. The first falls in the physical domain of combat, the second lies in the moral domain, and the third is a function of initiative. Determining victory or defeat, therefore, is both an art and a science. Several historical accounts of operational culminating points are analyzed to see how that point could be identified. It also appears that the loser is the side which invariably sends the signs of the culminating point. The point is extremely difficult to see (and my never be accurately determined), but using the indicators discussed, the commander and his staff should plan for, anticipate, create, and capitalize upon the culminating point of victory. They need to anticipate the culminating point before the battle, but they also must seek it as the battle ensues. (AN)

Descriptors :   *THEATER LEVEL OPERATIONS, *MILITARY COMMANDERS, MILITARY INTELLIGENCE, MILITARY HISTORY, LESSONS LEARNED, DECISION MAKING, LEADERSHIP, STRATEGIC ANALYSIS, LOGISTICS MANAGEMENT, BATTLEFIELDS, MORALE, TACTICAL ANALYSIS, MILITARY PLANNING, JUDGEMENT(PSYCHOLOGY), PERCEPTION(PSYCHOLOGY).

Subject Categories : Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE