General For an advanced level essay there is unlikely to be one right answer that you have to find.
The difficulties accumulate and end by producing a kind of friction that is inconceivable unless one has experienced war. Liddell Hart "Positions are seldom lost because they have been destroyed, but almost invariably because the leader has decided in his own mind that the position cannot be held.
A common view among Marines of the nature of war is a necessary base for the development of a cohesive doctrine. The essence of war is a violent clash between two hostile, independent and irreconcilable wills, each trying to impose itself on the other.
Thus, the object of war is to impose our will on our enemy. The means to that end is the organized application or threat of violence by military force.
When significant disagreements cannot be settled through peaceful means, such as diplomacy, nations resort to war. Nations not at war with one another can be said to be at peace. However, absolute war and peace rarely exist in practice. Rather, they are extremes between which exist the relations among most nations.
The need to resort to military force of some kind may arise at any point within these extremes, even during periods of relative peace. Thus, for our purposes war may range from intense clashes between large military forces--backed by an official declaration of war--to covert hostilities which barely reach the threshold of violence.
But in practice, because of the countless factors that impinge on it, the conduct of war becomes extremely difficult. These factors collectively have been called friction, which Clausewitz described as "the force that makes the apparently easy so difficult.
It makes the simple difficult and the difficult seemingly impossible. The very essence of war as a clash between opposed wills creates friction. It is critical to keep in mind that the enemy is not an inanimate object but an independent and animate force. The enemy seeks to resist our will and impose his own will on us.
It is the dynamic interplay between his will and ours that makes war difficult and complex. In this environment, friction abounds. Friction may be mental, as in indecision over a course of action.
Or it may be physical, as in effective enemy fire or a terrain obstacle that must be overcome. Friction may be external, imposed by enemy action, the terrain, weather, or mere chance.
Or friction may be self-induced, caused by such factors as lack of a clearly defined goal, lack of coordination, unclear or complicated plans, complex task organizations or command relationships, or complicated communication systems.
Whatever form it takes, because war is a human enterprise, friction will always have a psychological as well as a physical impact.
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While we should attempt to minimize self-induced friction, the greater requirement is to fight effectively within the medium of friction. The means to overcome friction is the will; we prevail over friction through persistent strength of mind and spirit. We can readily identify countless examples of friction, but until we have experienced it ourselves, we cannot hope to appreciate it fully.
Only through experience can we come to appreciate the force of will necessary to overcome friction and to develop a realistic appreciation for what is possible in war and what is not. While training should attempt to approximate the conditions of war, we must realize it can never fully duplicate the level of friction of real combat.
We might argue that uncertainty is just one of many sources of friction, but because it is such a pervasive trait of war we will treat it singly. All actions in war take place in an atmosphere of uncertainty- -the fog of war.
Uncertainty prevades battle in the form of unknowns about the enemy, about the environment, and even about the friendly situation. While we try to reduce these unknowns by gathering information, we must realize we cannot eliminate them.
The very nature of war makes absolute certainty impossible; all actions in war will be based on incomplete, inaccurate, or even contradictory information. At best, we can hope to determine probabilities.
This implies a certain standard of military judgment: But, having said this, we also realize that it is precisely those actions which fall outside the realm of probability that often have the greatest impact on the outcome of war.2 Chapter 1: Introduction Enterprises seek competitive advantage in many forms.
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