24 January 2010

Love and War

I've been doing some research on the now-defunct theory of Effects-Based Operations (EBO) recently. I wanted to provide a critique and analysis of EBO, but truth be told, I had no idea what it was. To my credit, however, the Israeli military was also largely confused by EBO (so was the US military, judging by Slide #6 )

With that said, I fired up the web browser and checked out some definitions of EBO. I think I'm more confused than ever. From US Air Force Doctrine Document 1:

Effects-based actions or operations are those designed to produce distinct, desired effects while avoiding unintended or undesired effects.

You mean like hooking up and not getting herpes? Too bad we nixed EBO in military doctrine, because I'd be a master at this. (This would have been a great evaluation comment, let me tell you). It should surprise no one that aviators--with their love of fun without unnecessary clingy-ness--would come up with the foundations for EBO.

Not satisfied with that definition, I found another definition of EBO in a PowerPoint Presentation from the Air Force Research Laboratory (it also cites Air Force Doctrine Document 1...perhaps another edition or in another location in the book?)

"Effects based operations is a methodology for planning, executing and assessing operations to attain the effects required to achieve desired national security objectives.“

So it's basically every form of competition and conflict that human beings have ever engaged in?

I'd say EBO, despite containing some practical mission planning advice, primarily served as an amusing buzz-word for senior officers. My worry is that "hybrid war", with its myriad of definitions, might be in the same category. Check out this definition:

Hybrid threat: An adversary that simultaneously and adaptively employs some combination of (1) political, military, economic, social, and information means, and (2) conventional, irregular, catastrophic, terrorism, and disruptive/criminal warfare methods. It may include a combination of state and non-state actors.

So basically, hybrid war is everything.

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