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MILITARY SCIENCES

RECURRENCE TO CLAUSEWITZ
LTG Prof. Sorin IOAN, PhD Department of Defence, General Headquarters

ABSTRACT
The war concept is currently perceived as being influenced by the conflict itself, namely by the military strategy, doctrine, conceptions, training and combat training equipping. The war starts as an act of violence, grows up circular in order to escape, while the politics and the proper instruments become inter changeable and also inter-influenced. Nobody can thus contest that fact that the war took place in a physical environment and not in a virtual one, where the adversary may take preventive measures or even counter measures, which had not been anticipated, and the consequences could not have been predicted.

Keywords: Clausewitz, military doctrine, centre of gravity There have been a lot of military analysts and specialists to have written on their experience in the security field, especially more or less philosophic opinions, more or less based on their own experience, on the security understanding and on the conflicts and war. The amount of the military instrument to have been used to manage the conflicts or the strategic spaces, still reliable in the present, will never be known. Probably, the major changes and conflicts from the military typology no longer provide the time to look behind, as we do, but focus on the future issues. Still, if we are to do this, by means of the recurrence, we must face the fact that one of the most outstanding figures in the military art is Clausewitz and his theories, that have definitely stood the test of time. His major work, On war, had been studied by means of several analyses and, thus, we may highlight two important conclusions: that the ideas are strong, simple and pertinent [1], and that they are not at all simple, but complex, significant and meaningfully connected to the other ones; his style is often ambiguous, proving that he was not always firm in his believes and that his language has philosophic influences, difficult to digest by the modern reader [2]. Nevertheless, On War does not represent the means to sta te the military and political strength and the paper does not stand for the main condition to win a war. In the same time, the paper represents the means to enrich the knowledge on military art, in order to better understand the relationship with politics and war and the main strategic principles. What does On War stand for? It definitely stands for knowledge and experience in a unitary conception, namely the author aims and intentions within his comments, My spirit has always led me towards development and systematization, in terms of ideas, theories [3].

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MILITARY SCIENCES

This papers aims at identifying the main ideas within Clausewitz paradigm, in a quite limited manner, to comment on the viability of his sayings. We do not hide the fact that the idea of this study came up while developing a modern concept, equally controversial, namely Effects Based Operations which is mentioned in his paper, On War. The goals concept is developed as a masterpiece within the entire paper: War implies the using of naked violence against the others, in order to force them accept our goals; In our effort to de fine the war, we must start from highlighting the fact that it is a continuation of the political system, with other means, initially presented as a personal extended fight, followed by a complex shape of the concept. Thus, the war represents a violence act to force the opponent to accept his final goals, by means of certain eleme nts, such as: violence, goal, effort. The theorys updating represents a permanent character principle, by means of bringing it as close to reality as possible in the context of the military actions greatly influenced by the combat equipments and technique. The right and complete principle should refer to the most objective theoretical prescriptions conditions, which may become subjective in different circumstances. The contrasts, as Clausewitz himself defines them, represent the prefect contrasts, but in some cases the extreme contrasts, in order to provide more clarity, precision and persuasive force. In this context, we mention that immediately after the BOOK 6, The Defence, we moved on to the BOOK 8, to the opposite combat, The Offensive, as when two concepts are in a logical contradiction, one completes the other and also clarifies the other. Nevertheless, this thesis and antithesis is no longer true for the wars present vision, when there is no clear distinction between offensive and defensive, each of them

containing actions from the opposite side. The knowledge on war is thus useful for the decision makers, whenever approaching the war concepts, in order to accomplish the purposes aimed at. For instance, the terrorist war in the present is not a political one, but a religious one, with religious backgrounds. The tre aties paradigm is therefore presented as a remark, namely they get engage in the conflicts, in order to fulfil the tasks of the common enga gements, while the participants make the minimum efforts to accomplish them, thus waiting for the right time to honourably withdraw from the conflict [4]. The combat principles, defined by Clausewitz, have always been analyzed ever since the first war conflict, by several military academies, all over the world, and have been implemented ever since. The four stated principles highlighted by him are as following: using the forces as efficiently as possible; focusing the maximum power on the decisive hits; properly acting, in order to valorise the available time, and successfully exploiting every registered success. In this context, in BOOK 6, known as: On Basic Strategy, Clausewitz describes a number of stra tegic principles, which are still valid in the present, such as: Chapter 8, Numeric Superiority; Chapters 11 and 12, Timed Forces Focusing; Chapter 7, Perseverance; Chapter 9, Surprise and Chapter 14, Force Economy. There have been critics on approaching the combat principles stating that some of the action details, subjected to the stated principle, are themselves regarded as principles [5]. Whenever approaching the tactical level, describing the defence and the offensive, Clausewitz concepts are pertinent and still valid. Whenever analyzing the defence, he defines three essential advantages compared to the offensive. Thus, it is much easier to maintain an alignment, sector or locality than conquer them, which is the main goal of

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MILITARY SCIENCES

the offensive itself. The time factor favours defence, while any hesitation or manoeuvre training is in the defence advantage, which is consolidated in the field and trains the fire system; in this context, we should also mention the position advantage; the defender always chooses a favourable field to achieve the combat task. Therefore, we define six terms: a) surprise, by means of well defended shelters; b) field familiarizing, c) possibility to advance within favourable alignments from different points, d) fortress creating, e) local connected population support, f) exploring the forces psychological factor. On the other hand, Clausewitz invokes a single advantage, namely the possibility to surprise and overwhelm the defending adversary, by means of simultaneous attacks. The technique and tactics development within contemporary military actions cancels some of the features or principles bringing out others. For instance, the possibility to discover the defence elements and the long distance ones lead to a considerable diminishing of the reaction capacity, long before the offensive launching. All these aspects lead to the creating of some better advantages within any military operation involving a supermilitary power or Alliance. There are other three difficulties of the military operations, which had not been featured by previous periods, including those representing Clausewitzs knowledge base and experience: extended period of time involving the international community answer for operation launching; the strategic victory does not imply a final victory, due to the specific risks, such as committing suicide, bomb vehicles, and improvised explosives. Whatever the critics on Clausewitz military theory or their objective degree, this would definitely represent a major point within military art and strate gy, on a long term, though only as an inspiration and influence source. The strongest argument, in this respect, is that the centre of gravity,

the decisive points and the critical points principles are thoroughly analyzed for any action type, in planning the operation, and they are part of any present doctrine emerging from Clausewitz theory. Centre of gravity represents an important concept for Clausewitz, if we take into account that this concept is often mentioned in his work On War. The concept needs analyzing as it represents the proof for his precepts. The centre of gravitys setting is the first important decision, the main constant element within all actions assessed as options anticipating a possible war developing. In a restricted sense, centre of gravity is regarded as the lucky strike leading to victory. What is less fa miliar is that the term itself comes from Physics representing the convergent point of the gravity actions on a particular object. Paul Erman, a distinguished German professor at Berlin University, War College and member of the Science Royal Academy, had the idea to imple ment the concept in the military operations. Clausewitz attended his lectures and [6] analyzed the centre of gravity as the main adversarys force focusing. If in the present doctrine (especially USAs), the centre of gravity in a war is totally unique, Clausewitz mentions tha t centre of gravity depends on the key points within the adversary forces, his forces focusing maneuvers for the future actions, strictly depending on the space and field configuration. Conclusions Clausewitz regards all the wars as military action conflicts having the same important nature. The means to develop the wars are quite different from the combat technique ones and range from the commanders inventiveness to the troops manoeuvre planning and using. For instance, in a similar war, Frederick conceives classical, predictable actions, while Napoleon uses a sort of revolution in

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MILITARY SCIENCES

the military thinking, due to the wars approaching concepts. A methodology must not rely on an ideal war vision and afterwards analyze the wars features developed in opposition, as it creates two different distances: an abstract one and a realistic one. These two must interoperate and be placed as close as possible to the overlapped images. Writing a manuscript in a decade and a half involves the risk of c hanging your

paradigm in the process, as the result of the acquired experience, thus creating the great probability of contradicting yourself in terms of the stated ideas. Clausewitz work is and will definitely be one of the most valuable in the field of military art, implemented in other manuals and theories, while the critics, more or less justified only confirm the challenging character and the interest for its valuable outcome.

REFERENCES [1] Bernard Brodie, The Continuing Relevance of On War, 45. [2] Werner Hahlweg, ber den Zustand der Theorie der Kriegskunst, II/1, 28. [3] My nature always leads me towards developing and s ystemizing, On War, 63. [4] Vom Kriege, I/2, 222, On War, 94. [5] Kiesewetter, Outline of Logic, I, 491. [6] Paret, Clausewitz, 310-1.

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