Commander's Appreciation and Campaign Design: A New Approach to Complex Problems

Wednesday September 3, 2008

What is it?

Commander's Appreciation and Campaign Design (CACD) is a new cognitive methodology for the design and execution of military campaigns. Published as TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5-500, CACD was developed for today's complex, adaptive operational environment, which requires a more robust, commander-centric approach to resolve problems.

What has the Army done?

Since its publication in January 2008, CACD has been presented or explored in a variety of military and non-military venues. During the 2008 Unified Quest campaign of learning, students at the School of Advanced Military Studies used the ideas contained in CACD as a means to approach campaign design in a new way. These student-developed designs were carried into the Army's Future Game and provided a richness of understanding that prompted senior leaders to recommend the institutionalization of CACD's ideas into Army doctrine. In other venues, CACD has received wide support as well. From the Army War College Faculty Symposium on campaign planning, to a faculty development session at the Joint Forces Staff College, to The National Centers for Systems of Systems Engineering (NCSOSE) at Old Dominion University, CACD continues to generate discussion about complexity and how organizations approach problem resolution in complex, adaptive situations. The most compelling affirmation for CACD's methodology comes from U.S. Army Central, which directed mandatory reading of the CACD pamphlet for its subordinate commanders and staff.

Why is this important to the Army?

The complexity of today's operational environment requires a different approach to problem resolution. Commanders must develop an appreciation for the complexities of the environment in order to produce a well-framed problem theory and an associated campaign design. CACD is a creative, heuristic, and iterative design methodology that supports Joint and Army processes for the production of plans and orders in complex adaptive situations.

What's planned for the future?

While CACD's approach to problem framing and resolution is intended for operational-level leaders and Army organizations, it has application at any level of war where complex adaptive problems are present. The Army Capabilities Integration Center will continue to present and discuss CACD to the national security community of interest over the next year and incorporate changes that help clarify the approach and methodology.


TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5-500

TRADOC Web site


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