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Yin and Yang: The Relationship of Joint Vision 2010's, Concepts of Dominant Maneuver and Precision Engagement
  • William Wunderle

Throughout the history of warfare, there have been periods when technological developments have dramatically affected the balance between firepower and maneuver on the battlefield. When the new technology enhanced the effectiveness of firepower, the forces with this advantage tended to reexamine their military's doctrine and procedures to optimize the new technology. To this end, these military forces developed tactics that would focus on firepower over maneuver to gain battlefield victories. This debate is ongoing as the U.S. military moves into the 21st Century. As in the past, current technological developments tempt us with the prospect that precision engagement or dominant maneuver can eliminate the need for the other. This monograph will examine Joint Vision 2010's emerging concepts and answer the question: What relationship exists between the operational concepts dominant maneuver and precision engagement; and what relevance will each have in future U.S. military practice? Additionally, the study examines the roots of modern U.S. firepower and maneuver theory; determines how precision engagement and dominant maneuver differ from the past; and, lastly, determines if dominant maneuver or precision engagement can exist exclusive of the other. The study concludes that dominant maneuver and precision engagement are not separate concepts, but mutually supporting elements of the same operational concept. Dominant maneuver is the overarching operational concept and precision engagement provides the technical means to enable the desired end state. What matters is not the means used to defeat enemy, but the desired effects. While the U.S. military should certainly continue to leverage all technology that contributes to decisive victory, the strength of a military's combat power lies in a balance of capabilities, not a preponderance of one. As Clausewitz noted, an army composed simply of artillery...would be absurd in war.

Publication Date
May 21, 1998
Citation Information
William Wunderle. "Yin and Yang: The Relationship of Joint Vision 2010's, Concepts of Dominant Maneuver and Precision Engagement" (1998)
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