To Design or Not to Design (Part 4): Taking Lines out of Non-Linear; How Design Must Escape ‘Tacticization’ Bias of Military Culture

Author: Ben Zweibelson

Editor’s Note: This essay is part four of a six part series on design.

Introduction: The fifteen pages of design doctrine in FM5-0 Chapter 3 Design introduces non-linear open system concepts while paradoxically recommending traditional linear methodology for transforming these dynamic open systems into the desired state. While the first eleven pages on design discuss open systems and their inherent tendencies to learn, adapt, and resist mechanistic action, section 3-58, The Operational Approach, resorts back to linear causality by recommending lines of effort as a method to depict transforming the system. Once again, Army design doctrine suffers an identity crisis in which holistic approaches to complex systems struggles with an institutional preference for tacticizing all levels of war.

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