Image courtesy of Flikr user US Army. Image courtesy of Flikr user US Army.

By Major Matt Cavanaugh

It’s been a bit of a crazy past few days here; my wife and I just had our second daughter on Friday evening. So this will be a bit of a short post – but brief concepts can also be valuable ones (isn’t brevity the soul of wit?). You may have read a previous post of mine about utilizing one’s nano cognitive surplus – essentially, this is harnessing small amounts of extra brain space for positive good.  As that post describes, whenever I have a spare minute, I jot down six word answers to big questions (the specific length comes from a story about Ernest Hemingway crafting an intriguing story in a mere six words).  I’ve taken on “why war?” in the past – and some others responded with their thoughts on that particular subject as well.

So this time I’ve taken on “what does landpower do?” Often you hear folks say that an army exists to “kill people and break things.”  This is incorrect – armies exist to provide landpower, to hold and control ground, which the opening pages of the US Army’s Doctrine Publication 1 makes explicitly clear. Admittedly, sometimes it does take killing people and breaking things to achieve territorial control – but not always. In short, there have to be better, more accurate descriptions of landpower that are just as succinct.

Here are my six word responses to “what does landpower do?” –

  • Creates/destroys geographic monopolies on violence.
  • Gain, sustain, control land, resources, people.
  • Occupy any street for desired control.

Note the inspiration for each – the first from Weber’s monopoly on violence, the second is a remix of the US Army’s ADP1, and the third is a mashup of Occupy Wall Street/Elon Musk’s SpaceX company motto: “Occupy Mars” & Rear Admiral JC Wylie’s Theory of Power Control.

Do you have any of your own to share?  These can be incredibly useful…please send them my way at warcouncileditor (at) gmail (dot) com…I will compile and post a few of the best.