Relationships: Tactical Adaptation & Operational Performance

Research Paper Title

Tactical Adaptation in Combined Arms Warfare.


What is the true nature of tactical adaptation in combined arms warfare, and what is its relationship with operational performance?

This analysis tests the hypothesis that wartime tactical adaptation delivers advantages that decisively cause operational victory or prevent operational defeat, and does not simply limit the costs of failures or setbacks in the operational and tactical realms.

Assessing specific evidence from four case studies using a mixed methods approach of US ground forces between 1944 and 1950 that form a vital segment of the literature on wartime tactical adaptation, the conclusions of this examination challenge the hypothesis tested.

The results of this study indicate that tactical adaptation during wartime limits the costs of failures or setbacks but does not decisively cause campaign victory or defeat.

The implications of this analysis corroborate claims that current literature on tactical adaptation insufficiently addresses the subject and many of the existing studies are flawed.

The findings of the four case studies in this analysis deliver increased precision for assessing tactical adaptation as an element of warfare that is related to doctrinal development and organisational change, yet possesses distinct elements and unique influence on operational effectiveness and campaign outcome.


Tactical Adaptation in Combined Arms Warfare (Van Ess, 2011)


Van Ess, B.P. (2011) Tactical Adaptation in Combined Arms Warfare. Thesis. Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 August, 2015].



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