In Pursuit of Military Excellence: The Evolution of Operational Theory

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In Pursuit of Military Excellence: The Evolution of Operational Theory

By Shimon Naveh
Frank Cass, 1997
398 pp. $59.50
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Not an easy read, but an important one. Written by a distinguished Israeli general, and drawing on a staggering array of primary and secondary source materials in four languages (and from multiple national archives), it describes the development of German, Soviet, and American thinking about operational art -- the level of war between strategy and tactics. Naveh argues that operational art became manifest in American operations in the Persian Gulf. Of particular interest is the author's notion of "operational shock," the disintegration of military organizations as systems. Those who can forge through the scholarly impedimenta and occasionally abstruse prose will come away with a deep appreciation of the campaign level of war: certainly the most important work of military theory in recent years.