Thursday, March 13, 2014

Succeeding in the Information Economy by Understanding Sunzi The Art of War (The Foundation of Planning One's Campaign's Plan) Chapter 3

Now that you have understood the basics of strategic assessment and the basics of waging a contest/conflict.  The next step is the planning of the campaign.

The Emphasis of Capturing and Prevailing With  Minimum Violence
In war, to capture the whole nation intact is the best strategy; to ruin or shatter the nation is a weaker option. To capture the whole division intact is the best strategy; to destroy it is a weaker option. To capture the whole battalion intact is the best strategy; to destroy it is a weaker option. To capture the whole company intact is the best strategy; to destroy it is a weaker option. To capture the whole section intact is the best strategy; to destroy it is a weaker option.
The Choice of Objectives
"Best competitive approach is to attack strategies; the next to attack alliances; the next to attack the personnel; and the worst to assault the terrain." - Art of War (The Compass Project)

Thus the highest realization of warfare is to attack the enemy's plans; next is to attack their alliances; next to attack their army; and the lowest is to attack their fortified cities.  - Art of War 3 (Sawyer translation) 

The Idealistic Essence of the Approach

"Therefore I say: 'Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.'  - Art of War 3  (Griffith translation )

The Field Objective and the Field Approach i
"Your aim must be to take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art of offensive strategy.  - Art of War 3  (Griffith translation)

The Situational Approach For Numeric Mismatch
"Consequently, the art of using troops is this: When ten to the enemy's one, surround him.   ... When five times his strength, attack him;   ... If double his strength, divide him;   If equally matched engage him.  ...  If weaker numerically, be capable of withdrawing;  ... And if in all respects unequal, be capable of eluding him, for a small force is but booty for one more powerful. ..."  - Art of War 3  (Griffith translation)

Assessing the Strategic Disposition of the Competition
Now there are five circumstances in which victory may be predicted:
  • He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.
  • He who understands how to use both large and small forces will be victorious.
  • He whose ranks are united in purpose will be victorious.
  • He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.
  • He whose generals are able and not interfered with by the sovereign will be victorious.
-- Art of War 3  (Griffith translation) 

This chapter centers on the configuration of the planning process of an offensive campaign.  

It outlines the following points
  • the choices of objectives; 
  • the emphasis of capturing and prevailing with minimum violence;
  • the understanding of the idealistic approach; 
  • the understanding of the situational approach; and 
  • the understanding of the strategic disposition of the competitor. 
Knowing the singular approach, the principles and the simplifications is an easy task for the novices and the amateurs. Assessing the configuration of their current situation and concluding with the "unobvious" exception to the "idealistic" approach is how one adjusts to the situation. 

Comments From The Compass Desk
By reading the first three chapters from a top down view, one slowly learns how to assess the situation, position him/her selves ahead and influence the competition to submission by focusing on the objective while being mindful of the grand terrain and beyond.

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