Australian Defense Paper on Offensive Ground Operations


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21 April 2009
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Distributed Manoeuvre: 21st Century Offensive Tactics
By Brig. Justin Kelly (ret.) and Dr. Mike Brennan

Successfully conducting an offensive action remains as much the 'gold standard' for military commanders today as it was in the days of Napoleon, Frederick or Caesar. However, how commanders actually do it has changed as dramatically as society and technology has. How to conduct offensive action successfully in today's unique technological and tactical circumstances is the focus of this working paper.

The authors offer readers the benefit of their combined twenty years of study into this topic, arguing that it is actually some of the continuities in offensive and defensive tactics that help illuminate the path forward for today's warfighters. Kelly and Brennan conclude that the seemingly impenetrable defence that insurgents and other ‘invisible' combatants possess can be overcome. The solution lies in the innovative combination of organisations, technologies and techniques that will restore the promise of decision to the offensive.

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