Naval War College Review


Over the last two decades, the U.S. military has struggled to understand the center of gravity concept as developed by Carl von Clausewitz and to find practical ways to apply it. In the process, however, each of the services—shaped as they are by different roles, histories, and traditions—has brought individual perspectives to Clausewitz’s expression and redefined it in its respective image. Thus, the U.S. Marine Corps, a relatively small force designed more for win- ning battles than fighting campaigns or wars, prefers to strike at enemy weak- nesses. Accordingly, it initially equated enemy centers of gravity (CoGs) with key vulnerabilities.