THEORY - Maneuver Concepts
02.15.00 Dr. Joe Strange and center of gravity.

The March 2000 Air Campaign Planning Handbook(14) describes a center of gravity methodology developed by Dr. Joe Strange called the CG-CC-CR-CV model:

CG - Center of Gravity
CC - Critical Capabilities
CR - Critical Requirements
CV - Critical Vulnerabilities.

Dr. Strange describes(15) how each one of these links can be manipulated in order to neutralize competing centers of gravity. He defines a center of gravity (CG) as

“primary sources of moral or physical strength, power and resistance.”

In business, specific examples of a center of gravity include; offering, infrastructure, relationships and execution. A CG is essential to the conduct of the enterprise, represents a dominant characteristic, is a necessary system from which power and movement is derived, represents a target that an adversary might strike, can offer it’s own resistance and can strike it’s own blows.

The ability of a CG to perform certain functions at the strategic, operational or tactical level is what makes it a center of gravity.

Strange labels these functions “critical capabilities” CC. He defines them as:

“primary abilities which merits a Center of Gravity to be identified as such in the context of a given scenario, situation, or mission.”

Examples of critical capabilities in business include the ability to; finance operations, produce consistent products, achieve desired quality, develop sustainable customer relationships, provide appropriate levels of service and support, project the desired brand or reputation, and, command and control employees, vendors and partners.

Disabling a Critical Capability will alter the nature of the COG in such a powerful manner that the COG is crippled and ceases to be a primary source of strength.

Critical Requirements CR are:

“essential conditions, resources and means for a Critical Capability to be fully operative.”

Examples of critical requirements needed to support critical capabilities include; a sustainable need for the product or service, a loyal customer community, a good industry reputation, decisive leaders, access to skilled labor, a motivated work force, the ability to price above cost, good labor relations, and a positive press image.

A thorough systems analysis of each of a COG’s Critical Capabilities will reveal many requirements that the CC needs in order to function. These requirements must be evaluated to determine if they are critical to the CC. Only those requirements that, if removed, result in disabling the CC can be labeled as Critical Requirements.

Dissecting these Critical Requirements will reveal some CRs or elements of them that are Critical Vulnerabilities CV - deficient or vulnerable to neutralization, interdiction or attack.

Examples of critical vulnerabilities open to attack include; a poor quality reputation, high labor costs resulting in uncompetitive price, bloated management making slow decisions, bad service disenfranchising loyal customers, arrogant relationships with vendors and suppliers, and a cash flow crisis.

Because these vulnerabilities are critical, successful prosecution of one of them will cause a chain reaction back up through the CR-CC-CG chain that results in the neutering of the CG. Thus, CVs indicate the types of target sets that should be pursued in order to affect an enemy center of gravity.

14. Air Campaign Planning Handbook. 2000.
15. Strange, Joe, Dr., Centers of Gravity & Critical Vulnerabilities: Building on the Clausewitzian Foundation So That We Can All Speak the Same Language. Quantico, Va., Marine Corps War College (Perspectives on Warfighting, No. 4, 2nd ed.), 1996.
16. The Guru Red Manifesto. Mike Smock. 1987-2004