Holistic Command of War, Wellington, Spinola and Petraeus

This book has been derived from a doctoral thesis and contains some original thought in defining the concept of the holistic command of war. The text reads well and includes all of the supportive appendices and footnotes that the reader would expect. This form of book by a military professional is rare and highly informative, to satisfy both professionals and military enthusiasts. Most Highly Recommended

NAME:  Holistic Command of War, Wellington, Spinola and Petraeus
FILE: R3314
AUTHOR: Nuno Lemos Pires
PUBLISHER: Limetree Press
BINDING: Soft back
PRICE: £24.95 Paperback                                                 
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:  command and control, multi-national forces, political interface, civilian 
support, multi-dimensional warfare, asymmetric warfare, insurgents, special forces, 
liberation movements, logistics

ISBN: 979-865502137-2 

PAGES: 427 pages
IMAGE: B3314.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/dp8ntud6
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: This book has been derived from a doctoral thesis and contains 
some original thought in defining the concept of the holistic command of war. 
The text reads well and includes all of the supportive appendices and footnotes 
that the reader would expect. This form of book by a military professional is rare 
and highly informative, to satisfy both professionals and military enthusiasts.  
Most Highly Recommended

The author chose three commanders, separated in time, but facing the same 
challenges of producing an holistic war plan and executing it.

One of the challenges in using past events to advance a concept is that everything has 
been done in the past with variable results. It would have been possible to take other 
commanders back into ancient history, but three have been chosen here to cover the 
period of industrial revolution when warfare has become infinitely more complex.

The basic challenge for commanders through history has been to keep inside the 
enemy's decision loop while doing everything to keep him outside your decision 
loop. The reader might think that Wellington is the odd man out as a commander, 
in the days of sail, horsepower and black powder, but he was one of the first 
commanders to fight in the new industrial age, if still two-dimensional warfare 
before the advent of submarines, aircraft and ballistic missiles.

Before the industrial age, armies took their supplies with them, or relied on living 
off the land. Campaigns largely ignored the civilian population and commanders 
did not have rapid direct communication with their political masters. Many 
campaigns involved opposing armies, each made up largely, or completely, of single 
nationalities. Some will argue that Wellington was still operating in that environment 
and certainly naval forces of the era were, because once they sailed under orders they 
were soon out of communication with their admiralty, possibly for several years, and 
before a captain engaged an 'enemy' ship, the war might be over and the old enemy 
could be the new friend. However, Wellington, during the peninsula campaigns, was 
leading a multi-national force, including Portuguese and Spanish partisans and facing 
overwhelming odds with a number of well-led, well-equipped French Armies. To win, 
he had to keep his opponents from combining against him, keep his allies motivated and 
productive, and deal with his own political masters who were a relatively short distance 
away and in part supported by semaphore communications. 

Wellington was to many at the time a surprising choice to defend Portugal. He had served 
with distinction in India and responded well in Denmark when Britain sought, with great 
success, to take the Danish Fleet to a place of safety where Napoleon could not make use 
of the Danish warships. Against that, he was Irish and regarded as an India soldier with 
many more enemies than friends at Horseguards. He was also a professional soldier at a 
time when commissions were purchased and a coffee house fop could command a regiment. 
He understood how to use Light Divisions and combine new technologies. He had good 
political senses and he was pragmatic. He was also good at selecting capable commanders 
below him to allow them some autonomy within the plan he had developed. He managed to 
weld together all the nationalities, and political elements, with civilians who provided critical 
support and ensured that his soldiers were adequately supplied, so that they did not lose 
civilian support by raiding towns and villages for supplies. This makes him an interesting and 
appropriate commander for the purposes of this study.

Spinola and Petraeus may have served in a different part of the industrial age but they needed to 
operate holistically. Their world may have been technically more complex but they still had to 
operate beyond the uniformed personnel under them and with the added media spotlight.

A commander now has a wider and more detailed intelligence picture. The commanding general 
can now speak with a junior officer in the field and a junior officer can respond in audio and, 
frequently in live video. Databases fed by Sigint, Humint and Elint can provide intelligence of 
any part of the globe instantly. Politicians can also use these communications and information 
systems. War is total and the civilian is as much an element as the soldier. This means that a 
commander can source an amazingly rich seam of intelligence where sometimes the challenge can 
be in filtering out all but the essential kernels of knowledge. No longer are two armies to be 
moving on either side of woods or hills, blissfully unaware to each other's presence within 
weapons range. The great threat is in keeping the enemy outside your decision loop, while 
keeping very much inside his. Cyber warfare is now a critical element of battle and it can be a 
largely unseen threat.

This demanding and fascinating new military world makes holistic command essential and this 
study makes absorbing reading.