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Publication Date

10-1-2016

Abstract

Center of gravity (COG) continues to be a popular topic in military journals, blogs, and lectures. Many recent discussions have tended to be ambivalent at best, toward the value of the concept of COG. Several of these dialogues present detailed contrarian views to the validity of Carl von Clausewitz’s much analyzed theory of COG (or Schwerpunkt, as presented in On War). They discuss how this theory is too complex to be used by U.S. military planners. However, the painstaking discussion of Clausewitz is done at the expense of missing the fact that the refined modern-day view of COG is a critical concept for planners to understand and apply. When done correctly, COG planning methodology is the primary practical way to link an objective to a course of action (COA). This is not to assert that proper employment of COG methodology is always easy. Application in certain scenarios may be complex, but the important aspect of COG methodology is that when properly employed, it is the foundation of and gives direction to COA development.

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