Summer Essay Campaign #17: “Paradigm Shift – Unmanned Systems, General Beaufre, and the Seventh Phase of Land Operations”
To Answer Question 2: “How do unmanned systems impact modern battlefields?”
By Officer-Cadet Artur Varanda, Portuguese Army
1. Beaufre’s Dilemma
In his important work An Introduction to Strategy (1965), French General André Beaufre describes the purpose of strategy as achieving decision. According to Beaufre, “the decision is a psychological event that one wants to produce in the mind of their adversary”, in order to “convince him that starting or continuing the struggle is useless”. Beaufre’s work achieved fame because he admitted that the strategic decision could be achieved not just by military means, but also by economic, political, or diplomatic strategies. As for the military decision, it is the one that “in its purest state results from a victorious battle”.
The capability of achieving military decision has varied throughout history, following what Beaufre calls the operational possibilities of the period, byproduct of the methods and means of warfare of each epoch. He then states that one “rarely attributes a just value to that variability”. In his work the six different phases of land operations are then explored, in order to illustrate the importance of that variability.Read More