The ten principles of war are applicable throughout the spectrum of conflict, regardless of the campaign theme. Commanders at all levels, guided by the desired objectives, must consider each principle and strike a balance between the competing demands of the various principles. The ten principles of war are:
The Ten Principles of War.
Selection and Maintenance of the Aim.
Maintenance of Morale.
Concentration of Force.
Economy of Effort
Selection and Maintenance of the Aim.
Every operation must have a single,
attainable and clearly defined aim that remains the focus of the operation and towards which all efforts are directed. The linkage between the levels of war is crucial for each battle; engagements or operations must be planned and executed to accomplish the military objectives established by the commander. Activities at the lower tactical levels must be planned and conducted in harmony with the intent and operational objectives identified at the higher echelons of command. The aim of any force, therefore, is always determined with a view to furthering the aim of the higher commander. It is thus vital that commanders clearly express their intent in a concise and clear manner. Maintenance of Morale.
After leadership, morale is the most important
element on the moral plane of conflict. It is essential to ensuring cohesion and the will to win. Morale is nurtured through discipline, self-respect, and confidence of the soldier in his commanders and his equipment, and a sense of purpose.
Only through offensive action can a military force assure the defeat of the adversary. Commanders adopt the defensive only as a temporary expedient and must seek every opportunity to seize and maintain the initiative through offensive action. Initiative means setting or changing the terms of battle by action. It implies an offensive spirit in the conduct of all operations. To seize and then retain the initiative requires a constant effort to force the adversary to conform to our operational purpose and tempo while retaining our freedom of action. To achieve this, commanders must be prepared to act independently within the framework of the higher commander's intent. Seizing the initiative, therefore, requires audacity, and almost inevitably, the need to take risks. This applies to both the physical and cognitive planes. In the case of the latter, information operations must be conducted in an offensive manner in order to influence target audiences and affect their behaviour in a desired manner. Surprise.
Surprise makes a major contribution to the breaking of the
adversary's cohesion, and hence, defeat. Against a conventional adversary, modern sensors may limit the chances and overall effects of surprise. However, surprise may well serve to degrade an enemy’s ability to react. In facing an unconventional adversary, the use of sympathizers and agents within local populaces will provide adversary forces with early warning. Doing the unexpected and thereby creating and exploiting opportunities will achieve surprise. The effects of surprise are enhanced through the use of speed, secrecy and deception, though ultimately it may rest on the adversary's susceptibility, expectations and preparedness. The adversary need not be taken completely by surprise, but only become aware too late to react effectively. Surprise can be gained through changes in tempo, tactics and methods of operation, force composition, direction or location of the main effort, timing and deception. Deception consists of those measures designed to mislead the adversary by manipulation, distortion, or falsification of evidence to The Employment of Land Forces influence or induce him to perceive the situation in a manner prejudicial to his...