With EBO, You’d Be Home Now

If the concept of effects-based operations had been applied between 2001 and 2003, the US might have already achieved its ends in the Middle East, according to Lt. Gen. David Deptula, chief of ISR matters on the Air Staff. At a press roundtable at the Pentagon Monday, Deptula, who is retiring, said those who think of EBO as “a 50-step process” about tactics, techniques, and procedures just don’t get it. “It is applied Sun Tzu,” Deptula said. EBO, he continued, is “not some hypothetical, . . . not a theory, but was in fact the basic tenet upon which Desert Storm succeeded.” Although Deptula said Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who has been tapped to head US Central Command, is a war college classmate and friend, Deptula expressed his frustration with Mattis’ “dismissal of the term [effects-based operations] in his command” when Mattis was at US Joint Forces Command. “There are actions that Joint Forces Command took in the early 2000s that both he and I agree are not what [EBO] is all about,” Deptula said. He added: “I would suggest that if that approach—that methodology—had been applied in the early . . . let’s just say six to nine years, in Iraq and Afghanistan, perhaps we’d already have accomplished our objectives.” (For background on this issue, see Bastardization of Airpower from the Daily Report archive.)