Essay On Landpower

This paper will describe what differentiates landpower from the other forms of military power. It will then comment on what landpower is best suited to do, as well as what it is less suited to accomplish. Finally, it will conclude with how the U.S. Army and Marines organized to employ landpower to seize Okinawa during World War II (WWII), and what influence that experience has on how they organize and fight today.
Ground Forces offer the commander the capability to seize and hold territory. This is unique among the various forms of military power, and differentiates landpower from maritime, air, space, and cyberpower. Ground forces can physically occupy and defend territory. Commander’s employ landpower to subdue an enemy and seize their territory through violent confrontation. The credible threat to use landpower influences potential enemies and allies, making landpower central to Clausewitz’s assertion that “(w)ar is merely the continuation of policy by other means.” Colin Gray states it this way, “the land matters most... (h)uman beings do not live at sea, or in cyberspace.” G.K. Cunningham continues that thought with the fact that “(p)eople live on the land… commerce takes place on land (and merely across seas), and ideas are accumulated on land.” Thus the theory of
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Landpower is the most versatile and flexible of the various elements of military power. These concepts, coupled with landpower’s recognized interdependency on the other elements of military power, explain the extraordinary jointness of the American way of conducting land warfare. This interdependence and jointness are the keys to understanding what landpower is both well suited for, and ill-suited to accomplish. It also informs not only how the U.S. Army and Marines organized to fight in the Pacific during WWII, but also why they continue to task organize and fight as a unified, joint landpower team

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