Operational art is defined today in joint doctrine as: The employment ofmilitary forces to attain strategic and/or operational objectives through the design, organization, integration, and conduct ofcampaigns, major operations, and battles. Operational art translates the joint force commander's strategy into operational design, and, ultimately tactical action, by integrating the key activities at all levels ofwar. l The Army definition found in the 1993 version ofFM 100-5 is: The employment ofmilitary forces to attain strategic goals through the design, organization, integration, and execution ofbattles and engagements into campaigns and major operations. In war, operational art determines when, where, and for what purpose major forces will fight over time. 2
The joint and army doctrinal definitions are not really that different, their similarities offer some clues to understanding the origin ofoperational art. Both definitions clearly state that operational art is the link between strategic aim and tactical action. The idea that war should be directly linked to the aims ofthe nation state isnothing new. Sun Tzu wrote "Warfare is the greatest affair ofthe state, the basis oflife and death, the way to survival or extinction. It must be thoroughly pondered and analyzed." 3
What is clearly different now then when Sun Tzu wrote about war is the method in which war is executed. Warfare has become much more complex as it evolved over time.