ISSUE 190 : Mar/Apr - 2013 - Australian Defence Force Journal

adfjournal.adc.edu.au

ISSUE 190 : Mar/Apr - 2013 - Australian Defence Force Journal

addressing the challenges of the contemporary strategic environment. As Till reminds us,fighting these modern small wars—often ‘campaigns of choice’—can be considered an artin itself. 25Traversing the new anarchyThis ‘new anarchy’ has given good reason for militaries to shift their focus to expeditionarywarfare, irrespective of whether they revitalised historical ideas or developed a more modernapproach. 26 However, it was in the context of developing operational-level warfare in the1980s that the US military addressed expeditionary warfare with unprecedented cogency.Expeditionary operations were one of many operational concepts to emerge in the post-ColdWar era, including airpower, peace support and counter-terrorism operations, each with theirown doctrinal language, logic and method of application. 27In being developed as a prescriptive concept, modern expeditionary operations evolved intoa discrete component of a broader expeditionary strategy, addressing the specific trendsidentified in Till’s writings on post-Cold War expeditionary operations. 28 Although manyhistorical ideas concerning expeditionary warfare were undoubtedly inherited in the process—perhaps even to the point military thinkers have simply rebadged the most useful historicalconcepts with new terminology—there is reason to suggest that modern expeditionary ideasdo reflect a contemporary and inherently more useful approach.From the basis of an unmatched tradition in amphibious manoeuvre, the US Marine Corpswas the first to raise expeditionary operations from a banal strategic term to a workableoperational-level concept, purposed for post-Cold War challenges. 29 As such, its doctrine of‘Operational Manoeuvre from the Sea’ (OMFTS) has become emblematic of the concepts andideas of modern expeditionary warfare. 30 OMFTS saw the sea as an avenue for manoeuvringagainst an operational-level objective which existed within the range of military operationsfrom ‘major theatre war’ to ‘military operations other than war’. 31While conceptually similar to amphibious concepts that came before it, OMFTS was an ideafor this new era, a concept that embraced high-readiness, mission-specific and variable forces,capable of long-distance sustainment in operations far removed from own territory. 32 Thisapproach reflected the requirements of the witnessed strategic conditions, akin to thoseexperienced over 100 years before during times of maritime conflict against the Spanish or inthe Caribbean, rather than the style of expeditionary warfare conducted by the US military formost of the 20 th century. 33Most modern interpretations of expeditionary warfare have since reflected the US MarineCorps’ approach, embracing concepts that espouse small yet highly lethal forces, deploymentsacross long distances and into combat, before effectively and quickly achieving a limitedobjective. 34 Such concepts have invariably become dogmatic philosophies that espouse therequirement to maintain a mindset of readiness. 35 The rapid adoption of ‘expeditionary’ idealsacross all Services of the US military over the last two decades, of mounting and sustainingoff-shore deployments, attest to the dramatic way in which expeditionary warfare has beenredefined to suit forces arguably incapable of practising expeditionary warfare as it washistorically conceived.98

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