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Volume 3 / Issue 2 / Winter 2016 Military Operations TJOMO.com

Page 13

Being comfortable with the imperfect and amorphous

We need abstractions to make sense of the world. The Operational

is but one abstraction. It will proba-bly always be controversial.

This is because identifying what happens (if anything) between

soldiers on the ground and our home capitals is always likely to be

amorphous and ever-changing. Rigidly apply-ing such an abstraction

as the answer is a harmful approach; rigidly rejecting it is probably

equally as harmful. That means that this abstraction is as valid or as

dangerous as any other. We may wish to spend less time worrying

about abstractions and more about how we develop, teach and use

them. Unfortu-nately rigid approaches to viewing abstractions seem

to be favoured.

Lt Col Steve Cornell is a Royal Logistic Corps officer serving at Army Headquarters in the United Kingdom

References

[i] Hart,Steve,“An Omnipotent A

bstraction:What

Lessons Does the Falklands War Have For The Operational Level of War?”,Military Opera-tions,Volume 3,Issue No.1,

Spring 2015, Pages 9-12.

[ii] Toronto, Nathan W.“Does Operational Art Exist? Space,Time and a Theory of Operational Ar.”Military Operations,Volume 2, Issue No 1,Winter 2014, Pages 4-7.

[iii] Kiszely, John,“Where To For ‘The Operational’? An Answer.”, Military Operations,Volume 1, Issue No. 4, Spring 2013, pages 4-7.

[iv] My personal view but more usefully a prescription offered by Christopher Elliott several times in High Command: British Military Leadership in the Iraq and

Afghanistan Wars. London: Hurst & Co, 2015.

The Operational: As Valid And As Dangerous As Any Other Abstraction

Steve Cornell