Center of Gravity or Center of Confusion - Understanding the Mystique: Wright Flyer Paper No. 10

Center of Gravity or Center of Confusion - Understanding the Mystique: Wright Flyer Paper No. 10

by Seow Hiang Lee


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Despite its crucial role in campaign planning, the center of gravity (COG) concept remains poorly understood and inconsistently applied. This research paper seeks to understand the common sources of confusion that can occur when the COG concept is employed. It investigates the extent to which these inconsistencies can be resolved and the implications for the employment of the concept when these inconsistencies persist. To address these core questions, the paper first highlights the confusions that are caused by an incomplete reading of Clausewitz's theoretical framework that underpins his magnum opus On War. The analysis then proceeds to distill the additional sources of confusion that can lead to disagreements during the employment of the concept. This paper discusses the contentious issues of inconsistency in definitions, misunderstandings regarding the nature of the COG concept, divergent services' perceptions, and finally, inconsistencies that are caused by the inherent unpredictability of war. The ideas are then applied historically to help understand the anomalies that arose during the Persian Gulf War. Unlike previous studies which purport that much of the confusion can be easily removed by having clearer and more unambiguous definitions, the findings suggest otherwise; the sources of confusion are multifarious, and some may not even be amenable to complete resolution. The implication of having these enduring inconsistencies is neither to jettison the concept nor to return to a reductionist concept of the COG but to confront nonlinearities by applying the principles of systems thinking, superior leadership, and decisive action that is supported by a flexible feedback system.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781479202553
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 08/15/2012
Pages: 46
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.10(d)

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