Center of gravity (military)

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The center of gravity (CoG) is a concept developed by Carl Von Clausewitz, a Prussian military theorist, in his work On War.[1]

United States

The definition of a CoG is "the source of power that provides moral or physical strength, freedom of action, or will to act."[2] Thus, the center of gravity is usually seen as the "source of strength".

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.[3]


  1. 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.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Joint Publication 1-02. 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 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.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links