Applying the Principles of War to American Politics

The principles of war constitute the framework from which all military operations should be modeled. These principles represent the combined lessons learned from wars, campaigns, battles, and military theorists across recorded history. Adherence to the principles of war won’t guarantee military victories, but failure to follow them will almost certainly result in defeat. Conservatives (i.e. Freedom loving Americans) and the Republican Party need to learn from these same military principles, peacefully apply them to defeat progressives and their Democrat Party, and use them as a critical strategic component to return Constitutional freedoms to the American people.

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy (Picture from Defense Industry Daily)

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy (Picture from Defense Industry Daily)

JP 1: War is socially sanctioned violence to achieve a political purpose. War historically involves nine principles, collectively and classically known as the principles of war.” (I-3).

JP 3.0: Joint operations doctrine is built on a sound base of warfighting philosophy, theory, and practical experience. Its foundation rests upon the bedrock principles of war and the associated fundamentals of joint warfare.”(I-1)

Principals of War:

  1. Objective
  2. Offensive
  3. Mass
  4. Economy of Force
  5. Maneuver
  6. Unity of Command
  7. Security
  8. Surprise
  9. Simplicity

Joint Principals (added post 911):

  1. Restraint
  2. Perseverance
  3. Legitimacy

Objective JP 3.0 “The purpose of specifying the objective is to direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive, and achievable goal.”

The principal of objective is perhaps the most frequently violated by the Republican Party. One of the biggest critiques of the Republican Party is that they don’t stand for anything anymore. What is the Objective of the Republican Party? It should not be to imitate the Democrat Party. Its objective should not include supporting the same goals of the Democrat party when they go in opposition to the Constitution, liberty, freedom and the history of this nation. The objective of the Republican Party should be to protect the American people, and their liberties. It should be to seal the borders, to stop Obama care at all costs. Its objective should be the uncompromising protection of the Constitution. It should be championing the fight for sound fiscal policy, balancing the budget and strengthening the economy. The objective of the Republican Party should be farsighted to protect the uniqueness of the United States and to never allow its corruption and metamorphosis into the types of socialist or authoritarian governments that exist in most every other country on earth. Objective is critical and it must be clear because no one will rally behind a cause that they can’t see or do not understand.

M50A1 Ontos - US Marine Corps Museum, Virginia

M50A1 Ontos – US Marine Corps Museum, Virginia

Offensive: JP 3.0 “The purpose of an offensive action is to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative.”

Another heavy critique of the Republican Party and its candidates is that they are always reacting to democrat policies, their crisis of the day, i.e. mountains and stay bogged down on the defensive. The American people don’t even care about most of these. The Republicans need to seize the initiative and maintain the offensive. When polled, immigration is a priority for only a small percentage of Americans, so why is Congress pushing so hard to pass it? The answer is that the Democrats are on the offensive, moving to secure their agenda and the Republicans in Congress are left to react. Instead of playing that game, Republicans should be taking the offensive, creating win-win arguments, and forcing the issues that clearly lead to their objectives. Sen. Cruz established such a win-win argument in his plan to defund Obama care by attaching its funding to the debt crisis and government shutdown fight. His position is to fund all of government except Obama care, which is highly unpopular with the American people. This strategy forces the Democrats and Pres. Obama to either defund Obama care or they shut down the government in order to fund it. This is a win-win for Republicans and the American people, and a lose-lose for Democrats.

Mass: JP 3.0 “The purpose of mass is to concentrate the effects of combat power at the most advantageous place and time to produce decisive results…Massing effects of combat power, rather than concentrating forces, can enable even numerically inferior forces to produce decisive results and minimize human losses and waste of resources.”

Tea Party Rally in Washington DC, 10 Sep 2013

Tea Party Rally in Washington DC, 10 Sep 2013

Mass is probably the easiest principle of war to describe in the context of political activities. It’s clear that in an election whichever candidate or party masses the most voters at the polls is going to win an election. It’s also clear that in representative bodies such as the US House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate whichever party can mass the most representatives or senators to vote in favor of their agenda will win. What’s less obvious is the impact of mass on swaying the opinions and ultimately the votes of elected officials. It was the massing of grassroots Americans flooding phone banks, sending emails, writing letters, and interacting on social media that stopped the anti-gun effort earlier this year.

Mass as a concept does not necessarily mean that you outnumber your opponent. What mass means is that you are able to assemble your forces at the right time, and at the right place to overwhelm your opposition. It’s clear that the left employs this principle very effectively. Poll after poll shows that the liberal and progressive percentage of US population is a minority, at best 30%. Those same polls also show that Americans who consider themselves conservative range closer to 40%. The effectiveness of the progressives and the left is that they mass a smaller number of people in large campaigns to present the impression that they are much larger in number than they are. Conservative organizations, such as the TEA Party, need to use the principle of mass in the same way. Obama care was nearly stopped dead in its tracks due to an overwhelming tide, a mass, of American grassroots anger flooding Capitol Hill. The result was that not a single Republican voted in favor of the law. It’s highly unlikely this result ever would’ve occurred if not for the grassroots uproar.

Sadly, an inability to mass a majority of votes in either the Senate or the House resulted in its passage. Mass applies to financing, as well as people and votes. Financing allows the massing of media in the right markets at the right times and with the right messages. It also allows the massing of voters in get out the vote campaigns. The explanations in the applications of mass are innumerable, but you get the point.

Economy of Force: JP 3.0 “The purpose of economy of force is to expend minimum essential combat power on secondary efforts in order to allocate the maximum possible combat power on primary efforts. Economy of force is the judicious employment and distribution of forces.”

Economy of force is an interesting principle of war to apply to politics. A very strong case can be made that the efforts of liberals and progressives in the left has been to overload the rest of society on so many fronts, and in so many areas, that they dilute the ability of conservatives and Republicans to respond. The effect is to make economy of force extremely difficult. The challenge to conservatives and Republicans is to prioritize, to choose the fights that matter the most, and to focus their efforts on winning those fights. By going on the offensive, choosing the battles to wage and the time and place that they get fought, the principle of economy of force can be employed and in so doing put the left on the defensive.

Maneuver: JP 3.0 “The purpose of maneuver is to place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power. Maneuver is the movement of forces in relation to the enemy to secure or retain positional advantage, usually in order to deliver or threaten delivery of the direct and indirect fires of the maneuvering force. Effective maneuver keeps the enemy off balance and thus also protects the friendly force.”

Maneuver enables both Mass and Economy of Force. Unions, Jessie Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition and Rev. Al Sharpton are masters of maneuver. Whenever they get involved in opposition to policy, or support for policy, the news cycle is consumed by their marches, picket lines, and blow horn speeches. They consist of relatively small numbers, but through effective maneuver, they can mass and appear much larger than they are. By taking over the news cycle, their positions are echoed across the country.

Unity of Command: JP 3.0 “The purpose of unity of command is to ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander for every objective. Unity of command means that all forces operate under a single commander with the requisite authority to direct all forces employed in pursuit of a common purpose. During multinational operations and interagency coordination, unity of command may not be possible, but the requirement for unity of effort becomes paramount. Unity of effort is the coordination and cooperation toward common objectives, even if the participants are not necessarily part of the same command or organization is the product of successful unified action.”

Unity of command is a difficult concept outside of the military. By its very nature, our society depends upon freedom of thought, unique thought, and the ability to openly express one’s opinion. In the military, unity of command is a much easier principle to apply and is a critical concept of military action. Failure to maintain unity of command compromises the ability to maintain a common objective and its cascading effects compromise many of the other principles of war. One of the tenants of unity of command is a concept called centralized command and decentralized execution. The theory here is that orders are relayed downward, but execution of those orders is left to the professionalism of lower-level echelons in military organizations. They are best able to analyze the fluidity of battle, the fog of war, and execute in a manner that achieves the overarching objective.

Unity of command requires leadership. Republicans have failed as a party recently because they don’t have people in leadership positions that can, or will LEAD. When they do have someone stand up and take the leadership mantle, like Senator Cruz, the establishment attacks them, and creates disunity of command. Republicans must stop eating their own and clearly define conservative, Republican Party objectives (defeating Obama care is supposed to be one). Stand up for those clear objectives, maintain core values and beliefs, and perpetually teach them to all Americans who’ll listen. This may not lead to pure military style unity of command, but it will create a surrogate, unity of purpose. Execution of that common purpose equates to decentralized execution and would go a long way to solidifying a Republican Party brand the American people would support!

Security: JP 3.0 “The purpose of security is to prevent the enemy from acquiring unexpected advantage. Security enhances freedom of action by reducing friendly vulnerability to hostile acts, influence, or surprise.”

Security involves keeping secrets, which politicians historically can’t do. From plans to elections to potential use of Surprise, its important to keep the opposition off balance and guessing. See discussion on Surprise.

Surprise: JP 3.0 “The purpose of surprise is to strike at a time or place or in a manner for which the enemy is unprepared. Surprise can help the commander shift the balance of combat power and thus achieve success well out of proportion to the effort expended.”

October surprises prior to elections, coming up with bogus crisis out of whole cloth i.e. making mountains out of molehills; progressives and the left are notorious for applying this principal.

Simplicity: JP 3.0 “The purpose of simplicity is to increase the probability that plans and operations will be executed as intended by preparing clear, uncomplicated plans and concise orders.”

Pardon the pun, but no Principle is simpler that this one to apply. Issues are hard to explain, and complex issues even more so. Don’t over-complicate them. Ex. Obama care is a disaster, crushing the American people, oppose it at every turn.

The worst violation of Simplicity in recent political history was the 2012 Romney Campaign’s get out the vote effort. Code named Project Orca, it was a complex, morass of organizing, training, information technology and massive failure.

Three additional Principles were added post 9-11 in JP 3.0 to define the Principles of Joint Operations. One, Perseverance, is responsible for progressive successes and must be a foundation of a conservative response.

Restraint: “The purpose of restraint is to limit collateral damage and prevent the unnecessary use of force.”

This is the one principal that doesn’t fit well. If anything, Republicans are far too restrained. They allow themselves to be painted as extremists, and suffer from “moderates” like McCain and Graham who torch their own every chance they get. Republicans like Sen Cruz and Sen Lee understand the need to fight, and to show the American People that their representatives are listening to them.

Perseverance: JP 3.0 “The purpose of perseverance is to ensure the commitment necessary to attain the national strategic end state. The patient, resolute, and persistent pursuit of national goals and objectives often is essential to success.”

As discussed above, the progressive left has persevered across many decades to achieve their ideological dreams, and transform America. Conservatives and the Republican Party must take on the same long term, and I argue, perpetual, mindset.

Legitimacy:The purpose of legitimacy is to maintain legal and moral authority in the conduct of operations. Legitimacy, which can be a decisive factor in operations, is based on the actual and perceived legality, morality, and rightness of the actions from the various perspectives of interested audiences.”

Pretty simple here also. If you act in accordance with the US Constitution, you are by definition, legitimate. Anybody, or any policy that doesn’t, is also by definition illegitimate. Support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic. Legitimacy is assured when goals and policies are set in accordance with that oath.