Jackson is responding to an earlier article covering the subject, Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy, by Justin Kelly and Mike Brennan in the September, 2009 issue of the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute.
The two articles are essentially making the same argument, that "(t)he subsequent expansion of the newly delineated operational level within the doctrine of English-speaking militaries led to it encompassing campaign planning. This led in turn to it ‘reducing the political leadership to the role of ‘strategic sponsors’, [which] quite specifically widened the gap between politics and warfare’ (Kelly & Brennan, 2009)."
Jackson (2014) says that:
"The core of Kelly’s and Brennan’s argument is that this expanded role for the operational level of war and operational art has not only dislocated military operations from strategy, but also from the original context in which Soviet theorists were writing about operational art. ‘The result’, they argue, ‘has been a well-demonstrated ability to win battles that have not always contributed to strategic success’. To remedy this, they suggest returning to the conceptual roots of operational art as limited to the sequencing of tactical actions. Campaign planning should be returned to the remit of strategic leadership and involve input from political as well as military strategic leaders."Jackson's contribution to this debate is to claim that Kelly & Brennan (2009) has it backwards. The military leadership didn't expand operational planning to swallow traditional "strategy"; it was the political elites of the Western nations that wanted to separate politics and warmaking.
"...the prevailing Western cultural norm of civil-military relations, in which the separation of politics from military conduct is seen as both normal and desirable. According to this norm, civilian political leaders should stay away from the military aspects of campaign planning, and military leaders should steer clear of political issues, including those that relate directly to the establishment of national strategy. It is this norm, not the development of an operational ‘level of war’, that has driven a wedge between strategy and tactics. Something more than tactics is certainly required of military officers, but in the current system discussing the most fundamental elements of national strategy remains all but off limits." (Jackson, 2014)
Jackson (2014) then goes on to expand on this...a little. He says:
"This reason is the prevailing cultural norm of civil-military relations in Western democracies. The nature of this norm was famously laid out by Samuel Huntington in The Soldier and the State; however the more recent writing of Eliot Cohen offers a better summary. Describing ‘a simplified secondhand version’ of Huntington’s model as ‘the ‘normal’ theory of civil-military relations’, Cohen determined that this model calls for a sharp distinction between statesmen and military professionals. In line with this distinction, the former ought to be responsible for political matters, including the setting of the desired strategic end state, while the latter ought to be responsible for the execution of all military activities necessary to achieve this end state. Although Cohen offers an excellent critique of the normal theory, ultimately proving both that it does not function in practice and that it is undesirable that it should, he also concludes that it remains the system of civil-military relations that many Western political and military leaders strive towards achieving."I would tend to agree with the statement that there seems to be a significant, and to a large degree dysfunctional, disconnect between the political processes in Western nations and the military adventures that proceed from them.
But that, in turn, leads me only to a blank wall, and a question.
Which is, simply, why would any political leader(s) want that?
Since presumably military force is still intended to "solve" political issues confronting political leadership (and I will add here that this presumption is not neccessarily a physical fact but, rather, the intellectual conceit of the leader(s) that some issues are both amenable to and require the use of force) then the natural corrolary would be that these leaders wish that force to be effective and economical; Sun Tzu's warning about prolonged war is no less valid now than when he (or someone, anyway) wrote it.
I can understand a polity dominated by the military to produce politicians wary of a "man on horseback"...but it has been generations since such a possibility presented itself to the Western polities.
So...regardless of how the Western way of war became, in effect, a glorified exercise in tactics...why wouldn't a perceptive leader or leaders recognize the futility of this and strive to re-integrate the military and political aspects of geopolitics and national strategy?
I know seydlitz has some theories on this, but anyone else willing to venture an idea or three?