Small Wars Journal

Center of Gravity Analysis "Down Under": The Australian Defence Force's New Approach

Center of Gravity Analysis "Down Under": The Australian Defence Force's New Approach by Aaron P. Jackson, Joint Force Quarterly

Given Australia’s position as a key U.S. ally and a much smaller military power, as well as the array of cultural similarities between the two countries, it should come as no surprise that U.S. developments have regularly influenced Australian Defence Force (ADF) thinking about armed conflict.1 Center of gravity (COG) analysis, a lynchpin of campaign and operation planning, is no exception.

The ADF has recently reviewed its equivalent to the U.S. Joint Operation Planning Process, called the Joint Military Appreciation Process (JMAP), and as a part of this review it has updated its approach to COG analysis. Ongoing Australian evaluations of the previous ADF approach to COG analysis in light of contemporary operational requirements prompted this update. The publication in the United States of several new theoretical developments subsequently constituted a key input during the development of the updated approach, although the approach itself has adapted the theory to suit Australia’s national conditions and the ADF’s requirements. As a result, the ADF’s new approach to COG analysis constitutes an innovation in its own right. This article summarizes this new approach to COG analysis as well as elaborating its origins and the influences on its development.

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Comments

J Harlan

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 5:45pm

Despite all the brain power devoted to COGs the Aussies were apparently unable in Afghanistan or Iraq to identify it or if they did were, unable to destroy it. Perhaps the COG in any sort of practical term doesn’t exist beyond the tactical engagement. There may be a hill or building that’s key to a battle but it’s a bit much to believe that the Aussies- who operate at battalion level at most- can find and destroy the COG at more than the lower tactical levels. What’s more likely is that the Aussies are simply finding a place to stash excess officers by having them play “strategy”. They get to mimic their big brother’s in the US while beavering away at the faux intellectualism modern armies revel in.