Defeat, the primary objective, seeks to incapacitate the enemy's military
organization. Defeat may not necessarily involve destroying the individual
It seeks to attack the enemy's plan.
It seeks to deny the
enemy commander the ability to apply combat power at the decisive place and
This may be done in part by force destruction.
However, at the
operational level, it is done primarily as maneuver to:
Attack enemy lines of communication.
Attack the flank or rear of a force.
Occupy the enemy in nondecisive areas.
Attack an isolated segment of a larger force.
It may also involve the application of firepower to disrupt or dislocate the
enemy force. It does not necessarily involve destruction of the individual
elements of the force.
The commander's aim in executing the operational level of war is to gain an
advantage over the enemy.
He must think and anticipate opportunities to
gain leverage. Opportunities may occur due to bold planning and maneuvering
at the operational level. They may also occur because of aggressive action
at the tactical level or they may result from enemy mistakes.
The objective of the tactical level of war is the detailed destruction of
enemy forces. This means the direct thwarting of enemy intentions. It is
usually achieved by the application of firepower. Maneuver is commonly used
to position forces to concentrate fires on the enemy. It may also be used
to escape enemy fires.
Tactical maneuver is nearly always a combination of movement and supporting
At the tactical level, maneuver and firepower are tightly
integrated. They are often distinct at the operational level. A tactical
commander's perspective concerns an engagement or battle. It is designed to
achieve a specific tactical objective.
The tactical level of combat
operation focuses on techniques of separate and combined arms systems such
Fire and movement.
Counter attack by fire.
Close air support.
Battlefield air interdiction.
Use of reverse scope defense.