Marine Corps Way

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Overview

"The book makes a convincing case that battlefield techniques really do work in the business world."—Fortune

"A colorful, entertaining, and highly effective way of conveying some powerful lessons along with lots of very interesting military history." —Miami Herald

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Overview

"The book makes a convincing case that battlefield techniques really do work in the business world."—Fortune

"A colorful, entertaining, and highly effective way of conveying some powerful lessons along with lots of very interesting military history." —Miami Herald

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Combine the leadership skills of two former Marine Corps officers, Jason Santamaria and Vincent Martino, with the operations management skills of their later careers and the business know-how of Eric Clemons, a professor from the Wharton School of Business, and you get many powerful business lessons. The Marine Corps Way is based on maneuver warfare, a combat leadership philosophy that relies on leadership to inspire initiative and integrity. Copyright © 2004 Soundview Executive Book Summaries
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071458832
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 6/3/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 459,226
  • Product dimensions: 0.51 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jason A. Santamaria is an independent business consultant and a former Marine Corps artillery officer, Morgan Stanley investment banker, McKinsey consultant, and J. William Fulbright scholar.

Vincent Martino is a senior business analyst for Capital One Financial. He is a former Marine Corps communications officer and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

Eric K. Clemons is a professor of operations and information management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Maneuver Warfare "Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver; the greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver."

--Winston Churchill1

Reality is chaotic; events in business never proceed exactly as planned. Environmental factors such as unforeseeable contingencies, fleeting opportunities, rapid and disruptive change, and market-altering technological innovations all contribute to a natural tendency toward disorder that frustrates business leaders and military leaders alike. Opponents' actions, designed to alter or even destroy order, limit the successful implementation of well-laid plans. A heightened threat of global terrorism and the recent slew of corporate scandals have only aggravated this tendency toward disorder. "9/11" has altered our personal and professional sense of safety, security, and certainty--perhaps for many years to come. And the blatant lapses in integrity by executives at companies such as Enron, HealthSouth, Tyco, and WorldCom have eroded investors' faith in corporate America and underscored the need for trust and integrity in the character of our business leaders.

Business leaders thus need a novel approach that takes these realities into account and even enables organizations to thrive in their midst. Such an approach exists, but outside the business world--on the battlefield. Maneuver warfare aims to outflank the enemy through a sequence of rapid, focused, and unpredictable moves that target his weaknesses and render him unable to analyze or respond effectively. Equally compelling should be the emphasis that maneuver warfare places on trust, integrity, initiative, and unselfishness, four intangibles that we could use a little more of in today's business environment. Finally, the approach that we are advocating is a prescription that recognizes the ethical implications of actions taken. In business, as in war, the line between "fighting smart" and "fighting dirty" should never be crossed.

Maneuver Warfare Defined

Maneuver warfare represents--in the words of Warfighting:

A state of mind bent on shattering the enemy morally and physically by paralyzing and confounding him, by avoiding his strength, by quickly and aggressively exploiting his vulnerabilities, and by striking him in a way that will hurt him most.2

Its ultimate objective is not to destroy the adversary's forces but simply to render them unable to fight as an effective, coordinated whole. For example, instead of attacking well-established enemy defensive positions, maneuver warfare prescribes bypassing those positions, capturing the enemy's command-and-control center in the rear, and cutting off supply lines. Moreover, it embraces the uncontrollable factors that inevitably shape competitive encounters as keys to vanquishing the foe. This approach stands in stark contrast to more simplistic and brutish forms of combat, so-called wars of attrition, where combatants lined up in fixed positions and endeavored to overwhelm one another with superior firepower, as wars were generally fought through the First World War.

The Nature of Warfare

To understand maneuver warfare, you must first understand warfare--the larger context into which maneuver fits. A resource-based conflict mediated by human and environmental factors, warfare is a continuous process of move and countermove where opposing forces are constantly trying to impose their respective wills on one another.

This ultimate test of will takes place on multiple levels. On the physical level it is a test of firepower, weapons technology, troop strength, and logistics. At the psychological level it involves intangibles such as morale, leadership, and courage. At the analytical level it challenges the ability of commanders to assess complex battlefield situations, make effective decisions, communicate their decisions through highly distributed information systems to widely dispersed forces, and formulate tactically superior plans to implement those decisions. If these dimensions seem familiar to most business leaders, so will the four human and environmental factors that, according to Warfighting, shape military conflict: friction, uncertainty, fluidity, and disorder: 1. Friction is the phenomenon that "makes the simple difficult and the difficult seemingly impossible."3 The most obvious source of friction is the enemy, but it can also result from natural forces such as terrain or weather, internal forces such as a lack of planning or coordination, the independent nature of human will, or even mere chance.

2. Uncertainty is the atmosphere in which "all actions in war take place--the so-called fog of war."4 Uncertainty about the opponent's intentions and capabilities and about environmental factors cloud decision makers' judgment and prohibit the optimal deployment of resources.

3. Fluidity describes the battlefield situation in which each event "merges with those that precede and follow it--shaped by the former and shaping the conditions of the latter--creating a continuous, fluctuating flow of activity replete with fleeting opportunities and unforeseen events."5 Combatants must constantly adapt to these changing conditions and actively seek to shape emerging events.

4. Combined, these three factors constitute the final key attribute of military conflict, the state toward which warfare naturally gravitates: disorder. "In an environment of friction, uncertainty, and fluidity," according to the Marines' manual, "plans will go awry, instructions and information will be unclear and misinterpreted, communications will fail, and mistakes and unforeseen events will be commonplace."6 Quite simply, disorder implies a competitive situation that deteriorates as time progresses.

Functioning--or even surviving--in a disordered environment is a major challenge. But the military commander, as well as the business leader, must be sure that his troops do more than survive; they must prevail. Because the four human and environmental factors that shape competitive encounters can rarely be controlled, the successful commander will opt for the only viable alternative: using them to his advantage. This notion serves as the core of maneuver warfare: instead of succumbing to disorder, the military commander turns friction, uncertainty, and fluidity against the enemy to generate disorder in his ranks, ideally creating a situation in which the opposition simply cannot cope.

The Evolution of Maneuver Warfare

With a better understanding of the larger context into which maneuver warfare fits, we now turn to history. You will, no doubt, recognize many of the names that follow; what may be less readily apparent is why they have stood the test of time. But understanding why and seeing how maneuver warfare has evolved over time are, in our estimation, crucial to the process of distilling it into a set of problem-solving techniques and leadership lessons that can be applied in business. Armed conflict between opposing groups is as old as humanity itself, and as long as war has existed, military leaders have endeavored to develop innovative tactics and methods to defeat their adversaries. Maneuver warfare's emergence is a direct result of this process. Only after many centuries did it develop into a fully articulated doctrine, but in the past sixty-five years its evolution has accelerated so dramatically that it now occupies a preeminent place in military thought.

Elements of maneuver warfare first appeared in the tactics employed by the ancient Greeks, who pioneered the use of unbalanced formations to attack opponents' weaknesses, and in the writings of Chinese General Sun Tzu. In the Art of War, written around 500 B.C., Sun Tzu prescribed a series of distracting tactics--the cheng--and rapid, calculated moves, the ch'i, that pitted strength against weakness to achieve a decisive outcome. Indeed Sun Tzu epitomized maneuver warfare when he suggested that the best victories were achieved when the enemy realized he was defeated and simply did not offer battle.

Sixteen centuries later, Genghis Khan led his Mongol hordes halfway around the globe and nearly conquered the known world. No army could match the blistering speed of his highly skilled, entirely horse-mounted forces, and no commander could match his use of communications--a sophisticated system of swift messengers and signal flags--to react to and shape events as they unfolded. Genghis Khan repeatedly used these advantages to seize the initiative from opponents and dictate the terms of battle. Equally effective was his masterful use of arrows, javelins, and even Chinese firecrackers and his employment of diversionary tactics to disrupt opponents' cohesion.

The next major wave of innovation in maneuver warfare hit eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe. In the eighteenth century, the Prussians pioneered the use of mission orders, which maximized flexibility and speed by stating broadly what needed to be accomplished and leaving completion of the task at hand to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of subordinate leaders. At the dawn of the nineteenth century, the legendary French general Napol{e acu}on Bonaparte repeatedly achieved decisive victories by splitting his forces in the face of a larger enemy and unexpectedly bringing overwhelming might to bear on his opponent's weakest point at the most opportune moment.

In World War I, the Germans pioneered a new type of attack--infiltration--to break the stalemate created by the conventional tactics of trench warfare: once highly skilled scout units had identified weak points in enemy lines and had penetrated far behind enemy strong points, large reinforcements immediately followed. Complementing this unique decentralized approach was the use of mission orders, a Prussian legacy, to preserve maximum flexibility during the attack. The initial successes of these innovative tactics, coupled with the sting of eventual defeat at the hands of the Allies, prompted the Germans to develop an entirely new, sophisticated approach to combat after the war.

The first broadly disseminated articulations of this new approach--widely regarded as maneuver warfare's modern conceptual foundation--appeared in 1937 with the publication of Infantry Attacks by German military officer Erwin Rommel, later known as "the Desert Fox," and with the publication of Achtung-Panzer! by Heinz Guderian, another well-known German military officer. These two master tacticians advocated a radically new approach to combat: fast-moving, decentralized forces that deeply penetrated an enemy's rear area at breakneck speed, disrupted his balance, and prevented him from using his reserve forces.

This last point is critically important: in World War I the time needed for an attacker to exploit an initial advantage was so long, and consolidation of gains so slow, that the enemy nearly always had time to bring up reserves from behind the lines and plug any gap created by the attacker. Thus, even if the attacker achieved breakthrough, an initial tactical advantage, he seldom converted it into breakout, a momentum-shifting strategic advantage. Achieving breakout by exploiting gains before the enemy had time to respond was the aim of this new approach to warfare.

The second half of the twentieth century witnessed a major contribution to modern maneuver warfare theory and several landmark victories that validated the viability of maneuver warfare as a modern combat philosophy. U.S. Air Force colonel John Boyd's contention that conflict could be understood in terms of "OODA loops"--time-competitive cycles of observing, orienting, deciding, and acting--brought considerable focus on relative decision-making speed as a key determinant of success in combat. And resounding victories by modern practitioners of maneuver warfare--notably the Germans during the invasion of France in 1940, MacArthur at Inchon in 1950, the Israelis in the 1967 War, and the Coalition Forces in Operation Desert Storm in 1991--all proved that maneuver warfare theory was devastatingly effective when applied in practice.

The latest in this long line of practitioners of what we now know as maneuver warfare is the United States Marine Corps, which has long prided itself on being at the leading edge of tactical innovation. Ever since its first landing on the beach at Nassau, Bahamas, during the Revolutionary War in 1776, the Marine Corps has continuously refined the doctrine of amphibious ship-to-shore attacks. In the 1930s and 1940s the Marines were among the first Allied aviators to provide close air support to troops on the ground by dropping bombs or strafing with machine guns at low altitudes. In the 1950s the Marines pioneered the use of the helicopter to support and transport ground forces, thereby revolutionizing mobility and operations on the battlefield.

But not until the late 1980s, under the guidance of General Gray, did senior Marine leaders come to the realization that their organization needed to rethink how it approached armed conflict. A perennially underfunded and undermanned organization, the Marine Corps would once again have to do more with less. Defense drawdowns in the wake of the cold war threatened to further erode its budget and manpower levels. But as "America's 9-1-1 Force in Readiness," Marines would continue to be called on to face more heavily equipped foes in unfamiliar and distant locales. With the publication of Warfighting in 1989, the Marines--once a devil-be-damned, charge-up-the-middle outfit--formally adopted maneuver warfare as doctrinal philosophy.

Maneuver Warfare Today

The maneuver warfare philosophy, tailor-made for a smaller, lighter force with limited resources, is particularly well suited to today's combat environment. Traditional battle lines have blurred. Weapons have become incredibly accurate and, therefore, extremely lethal. Communications advances have increased the flow of information on the battlefield, often to the point of overload, and have created a new dimension in armed conflict--electronic warfare. Speed and distance in engagements have increased. Multinational coalition warfare has become common practice. Entirely new types of "low-intensity" conflicts have emerged--in countries such as Somalia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan--where the identities of amorphous enemies are increasingly difficult to distinguish, rules of engagement restrict available alternatives, media scrutiny is intense, and the liability of collateral damage has heightened. Accompanying all of this change are the enduring constants of human fear, exhaustion, and confusion, as well as exogenous factors such as unforeseeable contingencies and unpredictable weather. Indeed the pressure to make sound and timely decisions in armed conflict has never been greater.

As you can surely attest, the pressure to make sound and timely decisions in business is also greater than it has ever been. To guide and improve your decision making amid friction, uncertainty, fluidity, and disorder and to show you how you can use maneuver warfare to lead your organization in the modern business environment, we dedicate the remainder to this book to examining, in great detail, maneuver warfare's seven guiding principles and enabling leadership prescriptions.

But first, to set the stage, we offer in the coming chapter the Arab-Israeli War of 1967. In this textbook example of maneuver warfare, an undermanned, resource-constrained force achieved an overwhelmingly decisive victory against a numerically superior opponent in a minimal amount of time and with a minimal loss of human life. This is not a story about the U.S. Marines, but you can bet that the Marines have studied it extensively and have emulated many of the practices that made the Israelis successful in this war. We hope you will find it--and the detailed review of the Israelis' actions in Chapter 2--equally enlightening.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Maneuver Warfare

"Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver; the greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver." --Winston Churchill1

Reality is chaotic; events in business never proceed exactly as planned. Environmental factors such as unforeseeable contingencies, fleeting opportunities, rapid and disruptive change, and market-altering technological innovations all contribute to a natural tendency toward disorder that frustrates business leaders and military leaders alike. Opponents' actions, designed to alter or even destroy order, limit the successful implementation of well-laid plans.

A heightened threat of global terrorism and the recent slew of corporate scandals have only aggravated this tendency toward disorder. "9/11" has altered our personal and professional sense of safety, security, and certainty--perhaps for many years to come. And the blatant lapses in integrity by executives at companies such as Enron, HealthSouth, Tyco, and WorldCom have eroded investors' faith in corporate America and underscored the need for trust and integrity in the character of our business leaders.

Business leaders thus need a novel approach that takes these realities into account and even enables organizations to thrive in their midst. Such an approach exists, but outside the business world--on the battlefield. Maneuver warfare aims to outflank the enemy through a sequence of rapid, focused, and unpredictable moves that target his weaknesses and render him unable to analyze or respond effectively. Equally compelling should be the emphasis that maneuver warfare places on trust, integrity, initiative, and unselfishness, four intangibles that we could use a little more of in today's business environment. Finally, the approach that we are advocating is a prescription that recognizes the ethical implications of actions taken. In business, as in war, the line between "fighting smart" and "fighting dirty" should never be crossed.

Maneuver Warfare Defined

Maneuver warfare represents--in the words of Warfighting:
A state of mind bent on shattering the enemy morally and physically by paralyzing and confounding him, by avoiding his strength, by quickly and aggressively exploiting his vulnerabilities, and by striking him in a way that will hurt him most.2

Its ultimate objective is not to destroy the adversary's forces but simply to render them unable to fight as an effective, coordinated whole. For example, instead of attacking well-established enemy defensive positions, maneuver warfare prescribes bypassing those positions, capturing the enemy's command-and-control center in the rear, and cutting off supply lines. Moreover, it embraces the uncontrollable factors that inevitably shape competitive encounters as keys to vanquishing the foe. This approach stands in stark contrast to more simplistic and brutish forms of combat, so-called wars of attrition, where combatants lined up in fixed positions and endeavored to overwhelm one another with superior firepower, as wars were generally fought through the First World War.

The Nature of Warfare

To understand maneuver warfare, you must first understand warfare--the larger context into which maneuver fits. A resource-based conflict mediated by human and environmental factors, warfare is a continuous process of move and countermove where opposing forces are constantly trying to impose their respective wills on one another.

This ultimate test of will takes place on multiple levels. On the physical level it is a test of firepower, weapons technology, troop strength, and logistics. At the psychological level it involves intangibles such as morale, leadership, and courage. At the analytical level it challenges the ability of commanders to assess complex battlefield situations, make effective decisions, communicate their decisions through highly distributed information systems to widely dispersed forces, and formulate tactically superior plans to implement those decisions. If these dimensions seem familiar to most business leaders, so will the four human and environmental factors that, according to Warfighting, shape military conflict: friction, uncertainty, fluidity, and disorder:

1. Friction is the phenomenon that "makes the simple difficult and the difficult seemingly impossible."3 The most obvious source of friction is the enemy, but it can also result from natural forces such as terrain or weather, internal forces such as a lack of planning or coordination, the independent nature of human will, or even mere chance.

2. Uncertainty is the atmosphere in which "all actions in war take place--the so-called fog of war."4 Uncertainty about the opponent's intentions and capabilities and about environmental factors cloud decision makers' judgment and prohibit the optimal deployment of resources.

3. Fluidity describes the battlefield situation in which each event "merges with those that precede and follow it--shaped by the former and shaping the conditions of the latter--creating a continuous, fluctuating flow of activity replete with fleeting opportunities and unforeseen events."5 Combatants must constantly adapt to these changing conditions and actively seek to shape emerging events.

4. Combined, these three factors constitute the final key attribute of military conflict, the state toward which warfare naturally gravitates: disorder. "In an environment of friction, uncertainty, and fluidity," according to the Marines' manual, "plans will go awry, instructions and information will be unclear and misinterpreted, communications will fail, and mistakes and unforeseen events will be commonplace."6 Quite simply, disorder implies a competitive situation that deteriorates as time progresses.

Functioning--or even surviving--in a disordered environment is a major challenge. But the military commander, as well as the business leader, must be sure that his troops do more than survive; they must prevail. Because the four human and environmental factors that shape competitive encounters can rarely be controlled, the successful commander will opt for the only viable alternative: using them to his advantage. This notion serves as the core of maneuver warfare: instead of succumbing to disorder, the military commander turns friction, uncertainty, and fluidity against the enemy to generate disorder in his ranks, ideally creating a situation in which the opposition simply cannot cope.

The Evolution of Maneuver Warfare

With a better understanding of the larger context into which maneuver warfare fits, we now turn to history. You will, no doubt, recognize many of the names that follow; what may be less readily apparent is why they have stood the test of time. But understanding why and seeing how maneuver warfare has evolved over time are, in our estimation, crucial to the process of distilling it into a set of problem-solving techniques and leadership lessons that can be applied in business.

Armed conflict between opposing groups is as old as humanity itself, and as long as war has existed, military leaders have endeavored to develop innovative tactics and methods to defeat their adversaries. Maneuver warfare's emergence is a direct result of this process. Only after many centuries did it develop into a fully articulated doctrine, but in the past sixty-five years its evolution has accelerated so dramatically that it now occupies a preeminent place in military thought.

Elements of maneuver warfare first appeared in the tactics employed by the ancient Greeks, who pioneered the use of unbalanced formations to attack opponents' weaknesses, and in the writings of Chinese General Sun Tzu. In the Art of War, written around 500 B.C., Sun Tzu prescribed a series of distracting tactics--the cheng--and rapid, calculated moves, the ch'i, that pitted strength against weakness to achieve a decisive outcome. Indeed Sun Tzu epitomized maneuver warfare when he suggested that the best victories were achieved when the enemy realized he was defeated and simply did not offer battle.

Sixteen centuries later, Genghis Khan led his Mongol hordes halfway around the globe and nearly conquered the known world. No army could match the blistering speed of his highly skilled, entirely horse-mounted forces, and no commander could match his use of communications--a sophisticated system of swift messengers and signal flags--to react to and shape events as they unfolded. Genghis Khan repeatedly used these advantages to seize the initiative from opponents and dictate the terms of battle. Equally effective was his masterful use of arrows, javelins, and even Chinese firecrackers and his employment of diversionary tactics to disrupt opponents' cohesion.

The next major wave of innovation in maneuver warfare hit eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe. In the eighteenth century, the Prussians pioneered the use of mission orders, which maximized flexibility and speed by stating broadly what needed to be accomplished and leaving completion of the task at hand to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of subordinate leaders. At the dawn of the nineteenth century, the legendary French general Napol{e acu}on Bonaparte repeatedly achieved decisive victories by splitting his forces in the face of a larger enemy and unexpectedly bringing overwhelming might to bear on his opponent's weakest point at the most opportune moment.

In World War I, the Germans pioneered a new type of attack--infiltration--to break the stalemate created by the conventional tactics of trench warfare: once highly skilled scout units had identified weak points in enemy lines and had penetrated far behind enemy strong points, large reinforcements immediately followed. Complementing this unique decentralized approach was the use of mission orders, a Prussian legacy, to preserve maximum flexibility during the attack. The initial successes of these innovative tactics, coupled with the sting of eventual defeat at the hands of the Allies, prompted the Germans to develop an entirely new, sophisticated approach to combat after the war.

The first broadly disseminated articulations of this new approach--widely regarded as maneuver warfare's modern conceptual foundation--appeared in 1937 with the publication of Infantry Attacks by German military officer Erwin Rommel, later known as "the Desert Fox," and with the publication of Achtung-Panzer! by Heinz Guderian, another well-known German military officer. These two master tacticians advocated a radically new approach to combat: fast-moving, decentralized forces that deeply penetrated an enemy's rear area at breakneck speed, disrupted his balance, and prevented him from using his reserve forces.

This last point is critically important: in World War I the time needed for an attacker to exploit an initial advantage was so long, and consolidation of gains so slow, that the enemy nearly always had time to bring up reserves from behind the lines and plug any gap created by the attacker. Thus, even if the attacker achieved breakthrough, an initial tactical advantage, he seldom converted it into breakout, a momentum-shifting strategic advantage. Achieving breakout by exploiting gains before the enemy had time to respond was the aim of this new approach to warfare.

The second half of the twentieth century witnessed a major contribution to modern maneuver warfare theory and several landmark victories that validated the viability of maneuver warfare as a modern combat philosophy. U.S. Air Force colonel John Boyd's contention that conflict could be understood in terms of "OODA loops"--time-competitive cycles of observing, orienting, deciding, and acting--brought considerable focus on relative decision-making speed as a key determinant of success in combat. And resounding victories by modern practitioners of maneuver warfare--notably the Germans during the invasion of France in 1940, MacArthur at Inchon in 1950, the Israelis in the 1967 War, and the Coalition Forces in Operation Desert Storm in 1991--all proved that maneuver warfare theory was devastatingly effective when applied in practice. The latest in this long line of practitioners of what we now know as maneuver warfare is the United States Marine Corps, which has long prided itself on being at the leading edge of tactical innovation. Ever since its first landing on the beach at Nassau, Bahamas, during the Revolutionary War in 1776, the Marine Corps has continuously refined the doctrine of amphibious ship-to-shore attacks. In the 1930s and 1940s the Marines were among the first Allied aviators to provide close air support to troops on the ground by dropping bombs or strafing with machine guns at low altitudes. In the 1950s the Marines pioneered the use of the helicopter to support and transport ground forces, thereby revolutionizing mobility and operations on the battlefield. But not until the late 1980s, under the guidance of General Gray, did senior Marine leaders come to the realization that their organization needed to rethink how it approached armed conflict. A perennially underfunded and undermanned organization, the Marine Corps would once again have to do more with less. Defense drawdowns in the wake of the cold war threatened to further erode its budget and manpower levels. But as "America's 9-1-1 Force in Readiness," Marines would continue to be called on to face more heavily equipped foes in unfamiliar and distant locales. With the publication of Warfighting in 1989, the Marines--once a devil-be-damned, charge-up-the-middle outfit--formally adopted maneuver warfare as doctrinal philosophy.

Maneuver Warfare Today

The maneuver warfare philosophy, tailor-made for a smaller, lighter force with limited resources, is particularly well suited to today's combat environment. Traditional battle lines have blurred. Weapons have become incredibly accurate and, therefore, extremely lethal. Communications advances have increased the flow of information on the battlefield, often to the point of overload, and have created a new dimension in armed conflict--electronic warfare. Speed and distance in engagements have increased. Multinational coalition warfare has become common practice. Entirely new types of "low-intensity" conflicts have emerged--in countries such as Somalia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan--where the identities of amorphous enemies are increasingly difficult to distinguish, rules of engagement restrict available alternatives, media scrutiny is intense, and the liability of collateral damage has heightened. Accompanying all of this change are the enduring constants of human fear, exhaustion, and confusion, as well as exogenous factors such as unforeseeable contingencies and unpredictable weather. Indeed the pressure to make sound and timely decisions in armed conflict has never been greater.

As you can surely attest, the pressure to make sound and timely decisions in business is also greater than it has ever been. To guide and improve your decision making amid friction, uncertainty, fluidity, and disorder and to show you how you can use maneuver warfare to lead your organization in the modern business environment, we dedicate the remainder to this book to examining, in great detail, maneuver warfare's seven guiding principles and enabling leadership prescriptions.

But first, to set the stage, we offer in the coming chapter the Arab-Israeli War of 1967. In this textbook example of maneuver warfare, an undermanned, resource-constrained force achieved an overwhelmingly decisive victory against a numerically superior opponent in a minimal amount of time and with a minimal loss of human life. This is not a story about the U.S. Marines, but you can bet that the Marines have studied it extensively and have emulated many of the practices that made the Israelis successful in this war. We hope you will find it--and the detailed review of the Israelis' actions in Chapter 2--equally enlightening.

Read More Show Less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2007

    A useful read if you believe that empowered employees create strategic advantage

    This is not a book about the military - it is a book about decision-making in a rapidly changing environment, empowering those who are in the best position to make that decision, and gaining both tactical and strategic advantage from that empowerment.

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    Posted June 6, 2009

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