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Lesson Index: [ Introduction | Lesson Objective | Overview | EBO Defined | Effects Classification | Effects-Based vs Objective-Based | Why EBO? | National Strategic EBO | Combatant Commander EBO | EBO Example—Allied Force | Summary ]

Title: Introduction

Action: A picture of a bust of Sun Tzu is shown on the left side of the screen. The following quote from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is shown next to the picture:

Those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle. They capture his cities without assaulting them and overthrow his state without protracted operations.

Voice: The concept of effects-based operations is not new. Sun Tzu advocated such an approach as the highest form of warfare almost 2,500 years ago. The skilled general achieves his objectives using effects that make battle unnecessary.

Action: The background becomes a picture of the Air Corps Tactical School, showing behind Sun Tzu and the quote.

Voice: The Air Corps Tactical School applied an effects-based approach to strategic bombing as early as the 1930s. Their thinking spawned concepts and doctrine that had a major impact on airpower throughout World War II.

Action: Sun Tzu and the text are removed and a cause-and-effect chart is built. Parts are shown as mentioned in the narration. The actions are, from top to bottom: “Create” 1st US Army Group; Patton Commands Phantom Army; and Bomb Marshalling Yards. The effects of the previous actions are, from top to bottom: Germans Reinforce Calais; Germans Reinforce Balkans; and Rail Movement Disrupted. The objective that all actions and effects achieved was that the Normandy Battlefield was Isolated. The third action and effect also caused the German Economy to Collapse, another objective. The first two actions and effects were from OPERATION FORTITUDE AND OPERATION ZEPELLIN, respectively.

Voice: The disruption of the German rail system was an effect that would support this objective. Bombing of the marshalling yards was an action that would produce this effect. It’s important to note that other effects were also pursued to achieve the objective. The deception operations Fortitude and Zeppelin both had the effect of diverting German forces from Normandy. It’s also important to note that the disruption of the German rail system had rippling effects that led to the collapse of the German war economy.

Action: The following text appears on the screen below the chart:

The challenge is choose actions that produce the effects that lead to desired objectives

Voice: The challenge of identifying effects that lead to desired objectives and then identifying actions that produce those effects, without also producing undesired effects, is daunting. For this reason, the effects-based approach has only been applied sporadically throughout history and with inconsistent success. In this lesson, we’ll help you understand effects-based operations and discuss how they might be better used in the future.

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