One of the major categories of activity of interest within the general
heading of troop control and control of combat is the problem of influencing
the opponent's will and mind as he is making decisions. When selecting the
methods to achieve this influence and when executing them one must consider
that one is in a complex process in which the opponent is conducting analogous
activities as well. M. N. Tukhachevskiy noted "... Actions are genuinely
governed only by that side which achieves their development in conformity with
a plan, and this means that genuine control of a combat engagement should
constitute control of the entire process of combat, that is
not only of one's own actions but to a certain degree the actions of the
opponent as well, forced upon him by our actions... The art of control in
combat demands an understanding of this complex, conflictive process.
What is control of an opponent's actions? It seems that the term
"reflexive control" most precisely reflects the aspect of the control
process under consideration. This term emphasizes the reciprocity of the
process, which encompasses our effort not only to impose our will on the
opponent with the aid of a large number of measures, but also to prevent him
from exercising similar control with respect to ourselves.
To exercise control over an opponent's action the following primary activities
----- - penetration of the enemy's intentions and plans
----- - skilled conduct of combat
----- - precise execution of one's own decisions and plans
----- - seizure of the initiative.
In warfare control of an opponent's actions is achieved by deluding him as to
one's own intentions, capability, state, and actions of troops and concealment
of their actual position; and by means of dummy, decoy, feinting actions; by
seizing the initiative and exerting military pressure; and by employing bold
and varied combat techniques and actions. One of the most important conditions
for such control is knowing the enemy's plan and intentions. The commander must
mentally put himself in the opponent's position in order better to grasp the
The essence of control is to cause the enemy to make and execute his decisions
which are favorable to us. This may be furthered by the following actions:
----- - by applying the pressure of force
----- - by the opponent's forming an estimate of the initial situation desired
objectives or decision making procedures favorable to us
----- - by influencing his choice of decision making moment.
Power pressure -
This includes easily recognized techniques. The use of force is aimed at
influencing his psychological state and forming in his mind the primary
objective of avoiding combat.
Techniques for shaping the enemy's initial situation estimate -
These include methods connected both with tactical camouflage and with means
for "instantaneous" and abrupt change in the initial situation
(surprise). These in turn affect the choice of decision making moment.
Techniques for shaping the opponent's objectives -
These are difficult for the enemy to discover, but are also more difficult for
the commander to think of and develop as well. They require great knowledge and
understanding of military history and art as well as of the specifics of the
opponent. Objective shaping techniques are realized through the psychology of
the decision making commander. These methods work through neutralization of the
opponent's deductive decision making processes.
Techniques for influencing the choice of the decision making moment -
These are particularly important for air defense or other functions which
operate under conditions of rapidly changing situations. Using a time shortage
of the opponent is the most important technique for influencing the choice of
his decision making moment.
There are connections between control and various kinds of combat support such
as reconnaissance, concealment, psychological warfare, and radio-electronic
In order to ensure control of an opponent's actions reconnaissance is required
on a broader scope, encompassing not only the organizational aspect but also
the morale- psychological state of the enemy command and troops and
determination of the effectiveness of psychological techniques being employed.
Radio-electronic warfare is closely linked with techniques for influencing the
enemy's decisions, but it affects only the initial situation shaping, primarily
at the tactical level.
Control of an opponent's actions is of a creative character. It should not rely
on chance. Likewise one should not be carried away with too many hypotheses and
speculations when conducting counter control decisions. Deception in the main
requires only running one step ahead of what the opponent knows about what we
are doing. However, it is essential to avoid underestimating the enemy, for a
sure way of being deceived is to consider oneself more clever than others.
Reflex control has a probability nature since the opponent may or may not be
taken in by our devices. Selection of given method of reflex counter control is
determined by the enemy's skill and experience, and his estimate of the
effectiveness of the device utilized. Reflexive control, particularly at the
strategic and operational levels, requires the processing of large volumes of
information and consequently use of automated devices.