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A Plan that Accounts for Everything?

There is an inherent tension between the idea that error in the original concentration of armies cannot be corrected during a campaign and the idea that no plan can look with certainty beyond the first meeting with the enemy. The first idea asserts that an error in operational design cannot be overcome and will doom the commander to defeat. The second idea rejects the first and asserts that operational design will be flawed. As an absolute, the first idea has never been correct, but it has led to an emphasis on careful course of action analysis and comparison. The second idea is more realistic and useful to military planners. It is the basis for emphasis on flexibility in planning, decentralized mission-type orders, branches and sequels.

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