Skip to main content

Paper – Introduction to Operational Art

Click on the photo to read the paper by Colonel Michael Matheny

Why Operational Art

At the #breakin we like to introduce some of our more complex theories with an ‘Introductory’ article or two. You can view all of these by clicking the ‘Intros’ button.

Here we take an initial look at the theory of Operational Art – one of the central ideas that has driven the Western approach to operations since the end of the Second World War.

The idea of Operational Art has developed significantly over time and, as if often the case with these theories, you can learn a lot by tracing the ‘lineage’ of the idea.  This paper by Colonel Michael Matheny (or click image above) via the United States Air Education and Training Command (AETC) Air University, takes us on a journey through the history of how Operational Art has developed and who its key influencers were.  It introduces us to Jomini and Clausewitz and their mutual interest in the application of military force to achieve political goals.

The author describes the importance of campaign planning to both theorists and their different perspectives and contributions surrounding it.  He guides us through the emergence of the ‘Centre of Gravity’ concept which many of us have studied closely when using the Military Appreciation Process.  Culminating points, key military theory publications, principles of strategy, and lines of communication are all discussed within the paper and their importance in the development of the operational art.

Why not have a read of the paper and let us know your thoughts on Operational Art by clicking on the comments button.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *

The Cove is a professional development site for the Australian Profession of Arms. The views expressed within individual blog posts and videos are those of the author, and do not reflect any official position or that of the author's employers' - see more here. Any concerns regarding this blog post, video or resource should be directed in the first instance to