Strategy: Fighting a Battle by the Book

A military plan designed to fight World War III will get its first real test on the ground and in the skies over the Persian Gulf

The U.S. plan for fighting a ground war remains, quite properly, a national secret. But by examining the basic tenets of U.S. military strategy, it is possible to draw a fairly detailed picture of what an allied ground campaign might look like. The key, say defense analysts, is an obscure Army publication called Field Manual 100-5. It lays out the principles of "AirLand Battle," a military doctrine taught to every American Army plebe and war-college student since the early 1980s.

An AirLand ground battle would bear little resemblance to the World War I- style frontal assault that Saddam Hussein's generals seem...

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