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In warfare, a theater or theatre (see spelling differences) is an area in which important military events occur or are progressing.A theater can include the entirety of the airspace, land and sea area that is or that may potentially become involved in war operations.
In his book On War , Carl von Clausewitz defines the term Kriegstheater (translating the older, 17th-century Latin term theatrum belli) as one that:
Denotes properly such a portion of the space over which war prevails as has its boundaries protected, and thus possesses a kind of independence. This protection may consist of fortresses, or important natural obstacles presented by the country, or even in its being separated by a considerable distance from the rest of the space embraced in the war. Such a portion is not a mere piece of the whole, but a small whole complete in itself; and consequently it is more or less in such a condition that changes which take place at other points in the seat of war have only an indirect and no direct influence upon it. To give an adequate idea of this, we may suppose that on this portion an advance is made, whilst in another quarter a retreat is taking place, or that upon the one an army is acting defensively, whilst an offensive is being carried on upon the other. Such a clearly defined idea as this is not capable of universal application; it is here used merely to indicate the line of distinction.
Theater of operations (TO) is a sub-area within a theater of war. The boundary of a TO is defined by the commander who is orchestrating or providing support for specific combat operations within the TO.
Theater of operations is divided into strategic directions or military regions depending on whether it is a war or peacetime. The United States Armed Forces split into Unified Combatant Commands (regions) that are assigned to a particular theater of military operations. A strategic direction is a group of armies also known as a task (field) forces or battlegroups.
A strategic command or direction in general essence would combine a number of tactical military formations or operational command. In the modern military, a strategic command is better known as a combat command that may be a combination of groups.
The Soviet and Russian Armed Forces classify a large geographic subdivision—such as continental geographic territories with their bordering maritime areas, islands, adjacent coasts театр военных действий, teatr voennykh deistvii (literally: "theater of military operations"), abbreviated ТВД, TVD.and airspace—as a theater. The Russian-language term for a military "theater" is
The division of large continental and maritime areas assists in determining the limits within which to develop plans for the operations of strategic military groups of forces, allowing military operations of specific significant "strategic directions" known as "fronts", which were originally named in accordance with their theater of operations; for example the Southwestern Front (Russian Empire) (1914–1918), the 1st Ukrainian Front (1943–1945, which fought in Ukraine, Poland, Germany, and Czechoslovakia), and the Northern Front (Soviet Union) (June to August 1941). In peacetime, lacking the urgencies of a strategic direction, fronts were transformed into military regions (districts) responsible for an assigned section of operations.
The term theater of operations was defined in the American field manuals as the land and sea areas to be invaded or defended, including areas necessary for administrative activities incident to the military operations (chart 12). In accordance with the experience of World War I, it was usually conceived of as a large land mass over which continuous operations would take place and was divided into two chief areas—the combat zone, or the area of active fighting, and the communications zone, or area required for administration of the theater. As the armies advanced, both these zones and the areas into which they were divided would shift forward to new geographic areas of control.
A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usually consists of multiple battles. In general, a battle is a military engagement that is well defined in duration, area, and force commitment. An engagement with only limited commitment between the forces and without decisive results is sometimes called a skirmish.
Military science is the study of military processes, institutions, and behavior, along with the study of warfare, and the theory and application of organized coercive force. It is mainly focused on theory, method, and practice of producing military capability in a manner consistent with national defense policy. Military science serves to identify the strategic, political, economic, psychological, social, operational, technological, and tactical elements necessary to sustain relative advantage of military force; and to increase the likelihood and favorable outcomes of victory in peace or during a war. Military scientists include theorists, researchers, experimental scientists, applied scientists, designers, engineers, test technicians, and other military personnel.
Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals. Derived from the Greek word strategos, the term strategy, when it appeared in use during the 18th century, was seen in its narrow sense as the "art of the general", or "'the art of arrangement" of troops. Military strategy deals with the planning and conduct of campaigns, the movement and disposition of forces, and the deception of the enemy.
A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct military uniform. It may consist of one or more military branches such as an army, navy, air force, space force, marines, or coast guard. The main task of the military is usually defined as defence of the state and its interests against external armed threats.
Military doctrine is the expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements.
In modern use, the order of battle of an armed force participating in a military operation or campaign shows the hierarchical organization, command structure, strength, disposition of personnel, and equipment of units and formations of the armed force. Various abbreviations are in use, including OOB, O/B, or OB, while ORBAT remains the most common in the United Kingdom. An order of battle is distinct from a table of organisation, which is the intended composition of a given unit or formation according to the military doctrine of its armed force. Historically, an order of battle was the order in which troops were positioned relative to the position of the army commander or the chronological order in which ships were deployed in naval situations.
Attrition warfare is a military strategy consisting of belligerent attempts to win a war by wearing down the enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and materiel. The word attrition comes from the Latin root atterere to rub against, similar to the "grinding down" of the opponent's forces in attrition warfare.
Military districts are formations of a state's armed forces which are responsible for a certain area of territory. They are often more responsible for administrative than operational matters, and in countries with conscript forces, often handle parts of the conscription cycle.
Irregular military is any non-standard military component that is distinct from a country's national armed forces. Being defined by exclusion, there is significant variance in what comes under the term. It can refer to the type of military organization, or to the type of tactics used. An irregular military organization is one which is not part of the regular army organization. Without standard military unit organization, various more general names are often used; such organizations may be called a troop, group, unit, column, band, or force. Irregulars are soldiers or warriors that are members of these organizations, or are members of special military units that employ irregular military tactics. This also applies to irregular infantry and irregular cavalry units.
A front is a type of military formation that originated in the Russian Empire, and has been used by the Polish Army, the Red Army, the Soviet Army, and Turkey. It is roughly equivalent to an army group in the military of most other countries. It varies in size but in general contains three to five armies. It should not be confused with the more general usage of military front, describing a geographic area in wartime.
A military campaign is large-scale long-duration significant military strategy plans incorporating a series of interrelated military operations or battles forming a distinct part of a larger conflict often called a war. The term derives from the plain of Campania, a place of annual wartime operations by the armies of the Roman Republic.
Principles of war are rules and guidelines that represent truths in the practice of war and military operations.
Command and control (C2) is a "set of organizational and technical attributes and processes ... [that] employs human, physical, and information resources to solve problems and accomplish missions" to achieve the goals of an organization or enterprise, according to a 2015 definition by military scientists Marius Vassiliou, David S. Alberts, and Jonathan R. Agre. The term often refers to a military system.
Russian military deception, sometimes known as maskirovka, is a military doctrine developed from the start of the twentieth century. The doctrine covers a broad range of measures for military deception, from camouflage to denial and deception.
The Soviet Ground Forces, successor to the Red Army, the title changing in 1945, employed a wide range of different Military formations.
It is a maxim of intelligence that intelligence agencies do not make policy, but advise policymakers. Nevertheless, with an increasingly fast pace of operations, intelligence analysts may suggest choices of actions, with some projection of consequences from each. Intelligence consumers and providers still struggle with the balance of what drives information flow. Dissemination is the part of the intelligence cycle that delivers products to consumers, and Intelligence Dissemination Management refers to the process that encompasses organizing the dissemination of the finished intelligence.
The Estonian Defence Forces is the unified armed forces of the Republic of Estonia. The Estonian military is a defence force consisting of Land Forces, Navy, Air Force, and a paramilitary Defence League. The national defence policy aims to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land area, territorial waters and airspace and its constitutional order. Its main goals remain the development and maintenance of a credible capability to defend the nation's vital interests and development of the defence forces in a way that ensures their interoperability with the armed forces of NATO and European Union member states to participate in the full range of missions for these military alliances.
Hybrid warfare is a military strategy which employs political warfare and blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare with other influencing methods, such as fake news, diplomacy, lawfare and foreign electoral intervention. By combining kinetic operations with subversive efforts, the aggressor intends to avoid attribution or retribution. Hybrid warfare can be used to describe the flexible and complex dynamics of the battlespace requiring a highly adaptable and resilient response.
"Armchair general" is a derogatory term for a person who regards themselves as an expert on military matters, despite having little to no actual experience in the military. Alternatively, it can mean a military commander who does not participate in actual combat.