The Context Of Manouevre Theory S Introduction Commerce Essay


Indian Army doctrine is derived from Indian military strategy. The Army supports this strategy through the provision to government of options for both war fighting and operations other than war. It is unlikely that the army will conduct operations to the exclusion of the other services. Consequently, joint doctrine will also influence army doctrine. A full discussion of the Indian Military Strategy is outside of the scope of this paper; however it is worth noting the importance of a proactive strategy, which shapes the approach to be taken in undertaking the Indian Army's primary task.

47. While army doctrine may 'embrace' the philosophy of manouevre theory, it is not automatically the case that the officer corps has embraced it. Important changes in the Indian Army's philosophical approach to war fighting cannot be implemented, however, by merely rewriting doctrine. Concepts discussed in earlier chapters are meaningless unless a concerted drive is undertaken to educate the officer cadre in the art of manouevre. A war fighting philosophy requires an Army that can execute it. As Richard D. Hooker suggests in Implementing Maneuver Warfare (1993), written doctrine is necessary but not sufficient to implement manouevre-based doctrine. An effort has been made to define the essential aspects of manouevre in preceeding chapters. The Indian Army must also institute changes to support the doctrinal adoption of manouevre theory as the intellectual basis for war fighting. Institutional changes are necessary to fully realize the potential of this widely applicable war fighting concept.

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48. By their very nature, military organizations are resistant to change. Institutional change is not always an easy process. As Richard Hooker wrote: "Institutional change is always difficult and can often engender resistance. Calls for change can be interpreted as criticisms of institutional norms and values and of service traditions and service culture. To some extent, senior leaders may feel vested in a system they understand, were raised in, and which nurtured and prepared them for command. They may interpret pressures for change as criticisms of the institution, and attack the credentials and qualifications of juniors and outsiders." [16] 

49. But military organizations are capable of changing, and the Indian Army must do so if it is to realize the potential of manouevre theory as its basis for war fighting. Institutionalizing the manoueverist approach in the minds of Indian Army officers need not be dramatic or traumatic for either the senior leadership or junior officers. The reason for this is that, while the term 'Manouevre Warfare' may be relatively recent, the concepts that underpin it are not new.

50. A manoueverist approach is primarily an intellectual construct rather than a physical one. The application of this intellectual component is expressed in three ways:-

(a) Analytical excellence.

(b) Adaptability.

(c) Concept led innovation.

51. Analytical Excellence. The epitome of analytical excellence is the ability of the commander and staff to produce successful outcomes through a superior decision cycle. This follows the principles established in Colonel John Boyd's "Boyd Cycle" or OODA loop. As William Lind notes, the essence of manouevre is "… Out Boyd-Cycling the enemy, being consistently faster through however many OODA Loops it takes until the enemy loses his cohesion." [17] Achieving this speed is not necessarily the preserve of physical assets such as fast moving armoured formations, although these are still important.

52. Adaptability. In any conflict, successful commanders must be able to accommodate continuously changing circumstances without being overwhelmed or neutralized. It requires individuals to be confident in their training and preparation for battle, and in their ability to master chaos. In 'Understanding Maneuver as the Basis for a Doctrine,' John Schmitt addresses this. He wrote that manouevre theory is a: "…mental approach to conflict, born of opportunism, variety, and cunning, by which we create and exploit advantage as a means for success by creating a rapidly and continuously changing situation in which our enemy cannot cope." [18] This description shares a common theme with Simpkin, when he suggests that "manoeuvre Theory draws its power mainly from opportunism." [19] Manouevre theory eschews the formulaic approach to warfare. It relies on the chaotic nature of war to permit quick thinking commanders to use speed, resolution, shock, and the enemy's lack of imagination to produce successful outcomes. Indian Army officers must be tactical and operational opportunists. Adaptability thus becomes a key element of the intellectual component of Fighting Power. It is also a key element of the successful application of manouevre theory. As Lind penned in his Maneuver Warfare Handbook: "Manouevre warfare means you will not only accept confusion and disorder and operate successfully within it, through decentralization, you will also generate confusion and disorder." [20] 

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53. Concept Innovation. While a more abstract element of the intellectual component, concept innovation plays an important part in the realization of combat power. A significant element of concept innovation is the development of concepts and doctrine to support military operations. The foundation of new doctrine and concepts will need to be the army's war fighting philosophy: the manoeuverist approach.

54. It is now clear that the primary focus of adopting manouevre theory as a war fighting philosophy is the fostering of military intellects able to thrive in chaotic wartime environments. Consequently, the implementation of manouevre theory as a war fighting philosophy requires a robust education system, aimed at developing the military intellect. manouevre theory demands an intellectual officer. An intellectual officer is one who brings an intellectual dimension to his job, but where that intellectual quality is held in check by the needs of the profession.

55. Keeping in view the above, and having accepted a requirement for institutional change, the following three step plan is a proposed strategy for implementation of manouevre theory in the Indian Army :-

(a) Step 1. Institutional change - brought about through leadership.

(b) Step 2. Implementation of a robust system of military education and training, both in service schools of instruction and units.

(c) Step 3. Implementation of a sound validation system which assesses both individual and collective (staff) competence in the manoueverist approach to warfighting.

Step 1 : Institutional Change Through Leadership.

56. The requirement for institutional adaptation, or change, is a common theme among the writings of those who have proposed strategies for implementing manouevre theory. Hooker and Lind are both advocates of institutional change in order to implement manouevre theory. An important aspect of this institutional change is the requirement for organizational champions to lead this process. The role of senior leaders in becoming role models is extremely important. The Indian Army must possess its own organizational champion(s) to implement manouevre theory. The leadership of this process of implementing manouevre theory must be highly visible, yet open to debate on the subject.

57. In the United States Army, a well-known advocate of change was General Don A Starry, sometimes considered the father of 'Air Land Battle.' In his published essay To Change an Army (1983), General Starry noted the requirements for effecting change and ascertained these through an examination of the principle agents of change in major armies in the 20th century. Three of General Starry's ideas provide further insight into the process of change required in the Indian Army to implement manouevre theory. These three key elements are: someone near the top of the organization supporting the change (the organizational champion), the requirement for building consensus, and the need for a spokesman for change. [21] General Starry articulated the need for "some one near the top of the institution" to embrace new operational concepts and be a champion for the cause of change.

There is also a requirement for a spokesman who can advocate this whilst building consensus.

58. While leadership is required at the highest levels, leaders at all levels down to company, battery and squadron command have a responsibility to inculcate in their subordinates the enablers for the manoueverist approach. Army officers, from their first day at the service academies, must be inculcated with the desire to learn more about their profession. This desire must be nurtured and encouraged to produce graduates firmly focused on war fighting and leadership, who also independently seek learning opportunities. The entire process of re-socializing young men and women into young army officers must instill the pursuit of both intellectual as well as physical excellence.

59. An important part of implementing new ideas is the existence of a common cultural perspective among the officers of the Indian Army. It is postulated that the pre-World War II German Army readily accepted new ideas. Because of thorough common theoretical preparation of the German General Staff, there was a great deal of theoretical debate on the quality of those ideas. The Indian Army, at present, lacks robust, open debate about new doctrine at any level. Therefore, a second element of any institutional change is the need to examine the culture of the organization to ensure it is one that encourages and nurtures the desire to learn and innovate.

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60. Changing the culture of any organization is difficult, but this is especially so within the military because change is often interpreted as criticism of institutional norms, values and service traditions. But cultural change is possible, and it is vital to implement manouevre theory in the Indian Army.

61. The Culture of the Indian Army. An organization's culture is an expression of its enduring values and purpose, and represents the shared foundation for organizational understanding and action. This culture develops over time as a result of the shared experiences of its members, past and present, exists within the organization. Military organizations possess their own unique cultures. The major influences that have shaped culture within the Indian Army are:-

(a) India's colonial history and it's British military heritage, reflected in all wars post independence, with the exception of the Eastern front in 1971.

(b) War fighting concepts based on World War II and the wars post independence.

(c) The army's perceived strategic guidance, though not formally promulgated.

(d) Emerging social trends which indicate the influence of society on it's war fighting organization, including an increasing commitment to internal security duties.

62. The last factor mentioned above, social trends, has been very significant in the evolution of the army's culture. These influences have included national traditions, attitudes, habits, values, symbols, and particular ways of adapting to the environment and solving problems. Unfortunately, these influences of wider society have not always been positive. Negative aspects of Indian society such as anti-intellectualism have also been in evidence in the Indian Army. Evidence of this anti-intellectualism can be found in the limited amount of open debate in military literature.

63. This resistance to change is also one element examined by Richard Simpkin in 'Race to the Swift.' Simpkin's theory of 'The 50-year Cycle' examines how difficult it is to change the culture of a military organisation. He discusses how even small armies can possess an organizational inertia greater than size alone would suggest. In his examination of the history of warfare, Simpkin suggests that a 30-50 year time lag exists between when a new technique (or idea) becomes feasible or apparent, and then its full scale adoption. [22] The current pace of technological development and innovation, with its ensuing ramifications for military forces, has compressed Simpkin's 50-year Cycle. However, rapid technological development does not automatically remove organizational inertia from military forces.

Step 2 : Implementation of a Robust System of Military Education and Training

64. It is postulated that the philosophy of manouevre theory cannot be taught. The philosophy of manouevre theory can only be developed indirectly through an officer's exposure to a wide range of educational and training experiences.

65. Richard Hooker has noted that it is necessary to ensure officers undertake training and education, and gain experience in tactics, command styles, and decision-making. He sees this as an integral part of the implementation of manouevre theory. [23] As a consequence, both education and training combined must employed to provide the foundations for the development of a manoueverist mind-set within the Indian Army's officer corps. The review of strategies for the implementation of manouevre theory reveals three common areas that must be covered :-

(a) Provide experience in decision making, including intuitive and recognition primed decision making.

(b) Practice officers in the application of the 'directive style of command.'

(c) Establish a firm foundation in military art and science.

66. Developing Decision Makers. There is a conspicuous link between manouevre theory and decision-making. The application of manouevre theory demands adroit decisions, made quickly, in order to 'out-Boyd Cycle' the enemy. In reviewing strategies for the implementation of manouevre theory, many writers have highlighted the importance of practicing and reinforcing the individual's decision-making capacity. Therefore the ability to do this must be an integral component of developing a manoueverist philosophy in Army officers. The rapid pace of current and future warfare requires commanders to be able to swiftly produce solutions to tactical and operational dilemmas. Current and future trends indicate that there will be closer scrutiny of decisions by superiors and the media. The luxury of a formal appreciation style decision-making process will rarely be available to commanders. As a consequence, army officers must become so well practiced in decision making that making decisions during crises becomes a matter of routine. In doing so, the decision maker must out-think the enemy and disrupt his decision cycle.

67. There are two primary methods of decision-making: intuitive and analytical. The intuitive decision making process relies on training, education and experience. The aim of intuitive decision making is to produce the first solution which satisfactorily solves a dilemma. Like intuitive decision making, analytical decision making also relies on training, education and experience. However, it is a process where several different options are generated, compared against set criteria, and a preferred option chosen. It is a more methodical, yet time-consuming, approach to decision making. Traditional military decision making processes, such as the appreciation process, are analytical in nature. The intuitive and analytical models of decision making comprise a decision making continuum: intuitive at one end and analytical at the other.

68. It is apparent that one or both of these decision-making models may be applied, depending on the situation. However, in attempting to generate an ever-increasing operational tempo within a manouevre warfare construct, time and uncertainty will drive most military decisions. The Indian Army relies heavily on a formal decision making process. This however rarely if ever takes time management into account. Consequently, the intuitive decision making process must assume a greater role in the application of the manoeuverist approach in the Indian Army. However, this does not negate the requirement for an analytical and deliberate approach to decision making such as the appreciation process. But it does mean there is a need to ensure that a primary focus for training is intuitive i.e. a hasty method of decision-making.

69. Training for Decision Making. The development of decision makers is a complex, yet necessary element of developing officers who apply the manoeuverist approach. This involves a two-fold process of education and training.

(a) Education. The process of education, aimed at developing decision makers, requires a tremendous amount of effort on the part of officers. Some of this education will be conducted during professional military courses, however, the vast majority of it must take place in the units. Connected to this process of education is a requirement of suitable study material. This could be in the form of military history books, professional journals or self help books. By studying military history, an officer, without consciously thinking about it will have cultivated awareness of the pitfalls which strew the path of a commander and he will be able to appreciate the possibilities and dangers of any course of action. The development of this situational awareness is the key to developing decision makers. While a large amount of the officers' education in decision making must be conducted within units, courses at army training establishments are a significant part of this process. Intuitive processes, should be taught alongside the more formal appreciation. Army units must be responsible for the thorough preparation of officers for their attendance on these career courses.

(b) Training. The aim of the second facet, i.e. training is to automate some parts of the decision making process. Officers must conduct meaningful training, constantly, in order to become adept at decision making. Team decision-making skills must also be practiced for headquarters staff. This involves officers being required to make decisions in a variety of situations repeatedly and often as part of this process, subject to the harshest of criticism. Officers must be forced to defend their decisions and the thought process by which they are derived. Such critiques must be open, positive and professional - and not personal or degrading. Unit officers must set time aside to play decision games, war games and conduct tactical exercises without troops. These activities, however, must rest on a firm foundation of enduring principles; otherwise the wrong lessons will be learned. Computer simulations are simple and effective means of practicing decision-making. Another method that can be utilized is tactical discussions. The aim of tactical discussions is to develop a common understanding of doctrine and military language. A vehicle that tactical discussions could employ is the rigorous analysis, or even role-playing, of a historical battle. Another dimension of training for decision-making is the provision of adequate experience to officers in 'real time' decision-making. Officers must be provided with a range of opportunities that offer real challenges to their decision-making capabilities. These can include field exercises and command post exercises where decisions made affect real people. While this is riskier than the theoretical 'classroom' decision-making practice, it is essential in building the confidence and 'knowledge domain' in the officer. Whether conducted in the classroom or in the field, decision-making exercises should always be critiqued. This should involve some form of 'walk through-talk through' process that thoroughly examines decisions made and provides feedback to enhance future decision- making.

70. The greater the exposure of officers to a wide variety of decision making practice in peace time, the greater their ability to make informed decisions under pressure in 21st century conflict whatever its form. In cultivating this decision-making proficiency, officers will be able to 'out decide' their adversaries.

71. Application of the Directive Style of Command. The basis of directive control is the nurturing of an unbroken chain of trust from the highest levels of command down to junior commanders. Simpkin wrote at length on the subject of 'Mission Command,' or 'Directive Control' as he termed it. He asserted that "the be-all and end-all of directive control is mutual trust and respect, leaving the subordinate free to act as he thinks fit in furtherance of his superior's intention, and assuring him of support even if he makes an error of judgement." [24] 

72. The five prerequisites for directive control are listed below :-

(a) Common tactical doctrine.

(b) Reliability.

(c) Trust.

(d) Understanding.

(e) Risk.

73. However, regardless of how 'directive control' is to be defined in the Indian context, one thing is certain: 'Directive Control' itself cannot be 'introduced'. In 'Auftragstaktik: Mission Orders and the German Experience,' Uhle-Wettler asserts that the introduction of mission orders or mission command is primarily about educating supervisors: the highest army officers. In the words of Uhle-Wettler, senior army officer must "create the fertile soil from which the tactics they desire can grow. If they do so, they can forget deliberate actions to introduce auftragstaktik." [25] In the Indian context, this means that the most senior officers must create this 'fertile soil,' of trust and independence from the top down. Once this has been created, subordinate formation and unit commanders will be able fully adopt this philosophy of command. The advice of Uhle-Wettler is probably the most cogent for those who wish to implement Mission Command in the Indian Army: "If you try to introduce 'Auftragstaktik,' you will be like the farmer who sows wheat in the arid desert. You are bound to fail. There is only one sure way to succeed: if you want 'Auftragstaktik,' forget about it. Instead, create an army in which independence has become a life style, and in which a high level of professionalism prevails as well as a cocky, well-founded self-confidence. If you create such an army, independent action…will follow naturally." [26] 

74. Establishing a Firm Foundation in Military Art and Science. All officers must understand the theory of war. Study of the theoretical structure of war is a time-tested method of preparing the mind for war. The examination of theory helps to raise questions and test new assumptions on the conduct of war. A key element in the study of the theory and nature of war is professional reading. Effective

study of military theory and history provides officers with the knowledge and experience of others at minimal cost. While officers do not need to be engulfed by the study of military theory, there is a need to teach the fundamentals which underpin doctrine. Officers, before the Staff College, must be exposed to theorists such as Sun-Tzu, Clausewitz, Jomini, du Picq, Liddell-Hart, Boyd, and Simpkin. Military history is the story of the profession of arms. This is essential to understand how it conditions our professional outlook. Chosen wisely, and approached with a critical eye, the study of military history will develop a mind rich in the experience of war. The study of military history also aids in the development of the power of analysis.

75. Tactics and Operational Art. Complementary to this understanding of the theory of war is an intimate understanding of tactics. The ability to understand and apply tactical and operational concepts is a key building block in the implementation of the manoeuverist approach. While the importance of such proficiency may seem apparent, from a cursory examination of the 'Tactics A' and 'Tactics B' results of previous staff college entrance examinations, it is not obvious that this is the case of the officers of the Indian Army. It is only after gaining a measure of tactical proficiency, that an individual can be taught to study and apply operational concepts.

76. Measures to Improve Tactical Proficiency. Following are recommended measures to improve the standard of tactical proficiency amongst officers of the Indian Army:-

(a) The requirement for a clearly articulated, widely disseminated, and physically attainable statement of professional requirement for the level of tactical understanding expected of the members of the officer corps. While this is more or less already in practice, it is not rigidly ensured.

(b) Emphasis placed in the conduct of tactical training for officers in units which is personally conducted by the commanding officer of that unit. Further, an independent system of validation to examine the efficacy of such training is also required.

(c) An individual professional development program, tailored to rank and designed to keep officers up to date and examine on a regular basis their knowledge of their jobs, the results of such examinations having a direct bearing on the promotion prospects of officers.

77. Implementation of these recommendations is vital to the health of tactics training among Indian Army officers. Tactical excellence must be the hallmark of an Indian Army officer. Officers with a minimal understanding of tactics, regardless of how strong their desire to adopt a manoeuverist philosophy, will not be able to implement manoeuvre warfare.

78. Knowing the Enemy. The knowledge of one's enemy or potential enemy is a prerequisite for the development of a firm foundation in the art and science of the profession of arms. All officers must understand the capabilities of their foes as well as they understand their own. The development of this knowledge will require frequent briefings on regional capabilities, as well as many war games and exercises. Given the orientation on the enemy required for successful application of the manoeuverist approach, knowledge of an adversary, or potential adversaries, is indispensable.

Step 3 - Implementation of a Validation System

79. Objective Evaluation. In any training or education system, there must be a means to validate the success or otherwise of that process. Consequently, the implementation of the manoeuverist approach in the Indian Army must be subject to a method of assessment. In assessing military doctrine, however, objective methods of determining effectiveness are elusive. The ultimate test of military doctrine is war. As a consequence, the parameters for the validation process for the implementation of manoeuvre theory must be scrupulously chosen.

80. In drafting the parameters for a validation system, there should be a single underlying principle: the determination of the effectiveness of manoeuvre theory implementation must focus on the building blocks of manouevre Warfare. It is proposed that three building blocks examined earlier in this paper should be the focus of any measure of effectiveness in implementing manoeuvre theory. These are: decision making skills, competence in exercising directive control, and knowledge of military art and science. For each of these building blocks, desired outcomes or performance levels for individuals and groups must be established. A system of validation then assesses whether these required outcomes have been achieved. By focusing on foundation concepts as tactical proficiency, decision making ability and trust relationships between senior and junior officers, a better judgement can be made on how manoeuvre theory is being institutionalized.

81. Desired Outcomes.

(a) Decision Making Skills. Individuals and groups (such as headquarters staff) must be assessed, and effectively critiqued, in their ability to make decisions employing both intuitive and analytical decision making skills. Formal assessment is required against benchmarks such as timeliness and appropriateness of decisions and the standard of judgement used in reaching a decision. This formal assessment must be conducted by personnel themselves experienced in intuitive and analytical decision making processes.

(b) Competence in Exercising Directive Control. As brought out earlier, 'directive control' is about educating supervisors.The primary means to assess the success of implementing directive control is the measurement of the degree of mutual trust and understanding, and acceptance of responsibility and risk, in a military organization. A degree of subjectivity therefore creeps in, which can be negated by having an independent organization for validation.

(c) Knowledge of Military Art and Science. Officers must be able to display an appropriate understanding of military theory and military history. The more senior an officer, the more detailed his understanding and application of these topics must be. Included in this is the setting of benchmarks for tactical proficiency for different ranks, and a system to assess whether those standards are being achieved.

82. The Validation Process. The Indian Army already possesses an effective, and proven, system which can be employed in the confirmation of the institutionalization of manoeuvre theory. the 'systems approach to training' has as its final stage the 'validation of training.' This process can be used to identify if the officer corps has adopted the intellectual process of applying manouevre theory. It can also be employed to assess the efficacy of the concept of manoeuver theory and determine if it meets the current and future requirements of the Indian Army. The validation process must be conducted by agencies external to units or formations being assessed. The central aim of this process must be to determine the level of success in achieving the desired outcomes. As discussed above, these desired outcomes are: mastering individual and group decision making skills, developing competence in exercising mission command, and displaying an applied knowledge of military art and science. To verify progress towards these desired effects, it is proposed that this validation be composed of five techniques:-

(a) Observation in the field.

(b) Interviews.

(c) Analysis of after action reports.

(d) Annual Confidential reports.

(e) Questionnaires.

83. Observation in the Field. The observation of officers in their normal environment, in a tactical setting, is the most credible method of validation. This must involve the observation of officers in command and staff positions by experienced assessors who observe for the application of the three facets discussed above. It must be done in an atmosphere where the assessor is as unobtrusive as possible to ensure the observed officer does not feel he is being assessed and therefore modifies his normal behavior through stress. Observation in the field is especially suited to assessing the decision making skills of individuals in command appointments, and groups employed in staff appointments. It also assists in building a picture of how commanders have developed the culture of directive control within their units and formations.

84. Interviews. Officers should be interviewed to ascertain the adoption of concepts such as directive control. By conducting interviews in a confidential setting, officers, junior-commissioned and non-commissioned officers can be questioned about the level of trust established within their chain of command and how much responsibility is devolved to subordinates. This would provide an indicator as to the success of implementing the key foundations of the manoeuverist approach. Interviews can also be employed to assess individuals' understanding of the relevance and application of military theory and history.

85. After Action Report Analysis. The analysis of after action reports for actual operations and other reports pertaining to collective training exercises can provide a starting point in the construction of questionnaire or interview questions. However, it should be noted that these are rarely written in an objective fashion and should be examined by experienced personnel with a critical eye.

86. Annual Confidential Reports. Annual Confidential Reports provide one means for officers to be assessed for their performance and use this as a guide to their future employment. These reports, traditionally written by officers who have observed their subordinates over a 12 month period, only provide an insight into how subordinates are viewed by their superiors. However, in assessing if the conditions of mutual trust exist within a unit to enhance its ability to employ directive control, a 360 degree examination of officers is required. To this end, annual reports for officers should include sections to be completed by a cross section of their subordinates, in addition to their superior's comments. This will provide a more comprehensive feedback on the level of trust and responsibility placed in officers, and that they place in their subordinates. This will contribute to the assessment of the degree of implementation of directive control within a given unit or formation.

87. Questionnaires. The use of questionnaires is an effective means of eliciting data from a larger percentage of the population being surveyed than previous methods. The questionnaires must ask the right questions and allow the answers to be analysed easily. The use of questionnaires is ideal for assessing the ability of officers to understand and apply the lessons of military theory and history. It can also be used to provide a written test of the decision making skills of individuals or groups. The questionnaire form of validation may take the form of exams for officers upon which depends their next promotion. These exams, conducted periodically for each officer, could assess the tactical and general military knowledge of officers, their analytical ability, and their written communication skills.