Sunday, October 16, 2016

Center of Gravity

The COG six-box grid as put forward by Dr Joe Strange is the standard tool employed by NATO and many other national militaries.
Figure 1: Centre of Gravity Analysis Matrix
However, the methodology to fill in the boxes is left to intuition and is certainly absent from the Comprehensive Operations Planning Directive (COPD).[vi]  Neither does the COPD tell us how this analysis can be used throughout the planning process. I have found the six-step methodology proposed by Dr Dale Eikmeier[vii] to be logical and productive, especially in group working:
  • Step 1: identify the organization’s desired ends or objectives.
  • Step 2: identify the possible “ways” or actions that can achieve the desired ends.  Select the ways that the organization is most likely to use to achieve its objectives, expressed as verbs.  Ways = critical capabilities.
  • Step 3: list the organization’s means available to execute these critical capabilities. 
  • Step 4: select the entity from the list of means that inherently possess the critical capability to achieve the end. This selection is the COG.  It is the doer of the action that achieves the ends.
  • Step 5:  from the remaining items on the means list; select those that are critical for execution of the critical capability.  These are the critical requirements. These critical requirements are supporting means that enable the COG, the supported entity to perform the critical capability.
  • Step 6: identify those critical requirements or components of the critical requirements that are vulnerable to adversary actions. 
  • Step 7: draw conclusions from the analysis to include a feel for what would happen over time, should these vulnerabilities be exploited.
This will help us fill-in the grid and explain/ justify our findings.  The team of experts we draw together need to have already conducted a thorough analysis of the subject area, including systems and systemic analysis (perhaps more on this on another occasion).  The methodology was tested against NATO’s well-established COG (cohesion of the Alliance)[viii] and that of Russia,[ix] as defined by several prominent scholars (centralised/ polarised power).  Whilst both test cases fully supported the COGs as defined, the stepped analysis revealed important insights for plan development. ...

bth; the source article is worth a read in full. It describes applications of this at tactical and strategic levels.

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