[It] not only [has] become a constraint to the individual and collective thinking and acting of the United States military as an organization; but, because of slavish adherence to using it as a central construct in the theoretical approach to operational warfare, it also has become detrimental to the further development of innovative concepts.On the spectrum of German "big picture" words, Schwerpunkt straddles both the specific types (e.g. Zeitgeist) and the general types (e.g. Gestalt). It means many different things in many different contexts and is flexible enough that Clausewitz could it assign it his own meaning - a very specific one.
Check out especially Christopher R. Paparone and William J. Davis, Jr. in the collection cited.
Based in his [Clausewitz's] obvious aversion to making war theory a Jominian mathematical science, his selection of the Center of Gravity metaphor seems not of isolatable value to the gestalt of his treatise.Try saying that quickly 10 times. It points to Clausewitz choosing NOT to use "terminology to prescribe an 'objectively' definable phenomenon."
This is important in our ongoing review of Civil War Jominianism, making Jomini the "scientist" and Clausewitz the "philosopher." In this sense, one could say that Civil War officers started the war as scientists and ended as philosophers.
Paparone and Davis make a general critique of modern Army theorizing but the thrust of their piece deals with the migration (and corruption) of meaning from Schwerpunkt into the Army's "Center of Gravity." The late Jean Baudrillard would have been made very happy with this:
"...words can eventually become extended to the point the original meaning becomes removed from any connection to the now dead metaphor..."Do look at their essay, "Exploring Outside the Tropics of Clausewitz:Our Slavish Anchoring to an Archaic Metaphor."
Meanwhile, considering the meandering course of the ACW, can we not say that the labyrinth is the more apt military metaphor rather than Schwerpunkt?