United States Department of Defense
The definition of a CoG is "the source of power that provides moral or physical strength, freedom of action, or will to act." Thus, the center of gravity is usually seen as the "source of strength".
United States Army
The United States Army tends to look for a single center of gravity, normally in the principal capability that stands in the way of the accomplishment of its own mission. In short, the army considers a "friendly" CoG as that element—a characteristic, capability, or locality—that enables one's own or allied forces to accomplish their objectives. Conversely, an opponent's CoG is that element that prevents friendly forces from accomplishing their objectives.
For example, according to US Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual 3-24, the center of gravity in a counterinsurgency is the protection of the population that hosts it.
- General Carl Von Clausewitz (2009). On War: The Complete Edition. Wildside Press LLC. pp. 144, 151, 253, 331–4, 413–4, 430–1, 437, 444,. ISBN 978-1-4344-0496-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=fG1l9YBsusEC.
- DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Joint Publication 1-02. 2008.
- US Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual 3-24, p. 3-13 (page 69 of the PDF) FAS Intelligence Resource Program.
- Echevarria, Antulio J., II (2003). Clausewitz's Center of Gravity: It's Not What We Thought. Naval War College Press.
- From Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College: Clausewitz's Center of Gravity: Changing Our Warfighting Doctrine--Again!
- Reining in” the Center of Gravity Concept
- The Relevance of Carl Von Clausewitz in Operation Iraqi Freedom
- JP 1-02, US DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
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