Continuous Concentric Pressure

September 7, 2003

If we are to have a successful strategy for victory in the Global War on Terrorism and for meeting the other unique security challenges that still lie ahead of our nation in the 21st century, we must have new thinking and a willingness to consider creative strategic concepts. Critical to any strategic planning is the careful alignment by the United States and its allies of global and national strategies to match capabilities. The connection between strategy and capabilities has always been important. As we face an ongoing global challenge by fanatical enemies, it is now imperative.

The authors of this paper have taken just such a fresh approach. They propose a strategic concept of “continuous concentric pressure,” blending the lessons of history with the complexities of today’s world. They offer a concept of strategic theater operations in which the theater joint commander applies pressure against an adversary through multiple lines of operation conducted simultaneously and/or sequentially by joint multiservice forces. Each line of operation contributes to either an action or a threat of action against enemy centers of gravity. The authors focus on the role of landpower as a critical element that provides a direct and decisive means to defeat the enemy, reassure allies and establish post-hostility security.

With this paper the authors have added a thought-provoking proposal to the professional dialogue on strategy which addresses key issues facing the Army of today and tomorrow. It is well worth the time to consider.