This article gives a summary of the book, Warfighting, which is the strategy book for the U.S Marine Corps. The book has four chapters that include; the nature of war, the theory of war, preparing for war and the last chapter deals with the conduct of the war. From a business point of view, replacing the words ‘combat’ with the competition, ‘enemy’ with a rival, ‘officer’ with a manager, and ‘soldier’ with frontline employee transforms the book to a remarkable penchant handbook on management. The book shows that marine operate warfare through decentralized decision-making that bases on strategic intent. The book has many parallels between business and warfare.
One of them is maneuver. By attrition, warfare seeks victory through cumulatively destroying an enemy’s material assets using superior technology firepower. Conversely, warfare through maneuver involves circumventing problems by attacking them from positions of advantage instead of meeting them straight on. In maneuver warfare, the aim is rendering the enemy incapable of resistance by shattering his physical and moral cohesion rather than executing an incremental distraction through attrition which is more time consuming and costly
Philosophy of command: The Marine Corps doctrine provides a combat philosophy but doesn’t consist of procedures applicable in particular situations as much as it gives the general guidance requiring judgment in application. On the contrary, war requires the ability to grasp unique battlefield situations, creativity in coming up with practical solutions and being action-oriented. Marine Corps’ warfare style requires leaders who are intelligent and are bold and initiative down to lower levels.
The focus of effort: Combat ability measures total destructive force one is able to, at any given time, bring to an enemy. Concentration and speed yield momentum that adds punch to actions. Armies are more advantaged to succeed by concentrating strength against weakness on the enemy’s part rather than concentrating strength against strength. Bid for victory is represented by a focus of effort and as such leaders have to concentrate the decisive power of combat just as they have to accept risks.
Commander’s intent: For a generation of the operations tempo required, and for better coping with uncertainty, the fluidity of combat and disorder, the command has to be decentralized. Commanders at a subordinate level have to make decisions on their own based on how they understand their senior’s intent as opposed to passing information to seniors and waiting for decisions from them. The lack of orders is not accepted as a justification for inaction by the Marine Corps.
Combined arms: This is the integration of various efforts in a manner such that to counteract one, an enemy has to become more vulnerable in others. Some examples illustrate this. First, for a breakthrough assault support is used by marines in quickly concentrating superior ground forces. Secondly, the marines employ air support and artillery in supporting infantry penetration. Finally, they employ deep air support in interdicting enemy reinforcements.
There are several consequences of combined arms. The first is that in defending against infantry attack, the enemy has to makes himself vulnerable in supporting arms. When the enemy is seeking cover from supporting arms, it is easy for marine infantry to maneuver against him. In order to block the marines from penetration, the enemy has to swiftly reinforce from his abode. To avoid deep air support effect, the enemy has to keep off the roads meaning only slow movement is possible for him. When the enemy moves slowly, reinforcement in time for him to prevent marine breakthrough is not achievable. Thus the enemy is faced with a dilemma due to the combined arms.
Krulak C. C. Warfighting, United States Government, 1997, print.