This article by Dale Eikmeier via Small Wars Journal offers yet another perspective on whether or not the operational art is synonymous with the operational level of war. The author cleverly begins the article with a question which forces readers to make an initial judgment on whether they think there is a distinction between the two terms/concepts. He then goes on to offer his own view, that the two are different concepts and any suggestion to merge the operational art with the operational level of war is flawed.
Dale Eikmeier argues that no one would suggest that ‘art’ and ‘level’ are synonyms terms. He states that art is a creative process, level is a location; they are clearly distinct. However, when we add ‘operational’ to them, certain doctrine implies that they are synonyms without any distinction. He suggests that this blurring of the terms introduces a difference and friction between Army and joint doctrine, and that it can lead to reduced precision in the application of operational art.
By the end of the article, you will have a more comprehensive view of both the operational art and the operational level of war, and hopefully be confident in forming your own view about whether you think the two concepts are distinct from one another or not.