LEARNING EVENT 2
LEVELS OF WAR
The Army's doctrine distinguishes three levels of war:
These levels of war are the broad divisions of activity involved with the
planning and conduct of war.
The strategic level involves national
security. Strategy involves the use of military forces to execute global or
theater strategic concepts.
This is done in order to attain national
The operational level concerns the planning and conduct of
campaigns by echelons above corps.
Operations occasionally involve
divisions, too. The tactical level reflects the tactics and techniques used
to win battles and engagements. The tactical level generally involves corps
and smaller units. The following discussion will explain the objectives of
each level of war.
The explanation will include the distinctions and
sometimes overlapping between the levels.
A discussion of campaigns,
battles, and engagements will follow.
The strategic level of war sets goals and objectives for military forces.
The strategic level works within a broad perspective of forces and
capabilities. The strategic level is concerned with:
Forward force deployments.
A corps may be tasked to conduct a campaign as part of a theater operation
designed to achieve strategic results.
However, it will rarely be tasked
alone to plan and conduct a strategic military operation.
The objective of the operational level of war is the defeat of an enemy
This objective is usually achieved by maneuver.
It is the
connecting link between strategic and tactical military actions. It uses an
indirect (maneuver-oriented) defeat mechanism to synchronize subordinate
tactical battles. This is done to achieve the larger ends of strategy.