Operational Design: Imagination needed in Ukraine

Guy Duczynski, Sascha-Dominik Bachmann, Matthew Smith

Research output: Contribution to Newspaper/Magazine/BulletinArticle


It is unlikely that there is one single action that can end the present conflict in Ukraine without it being accompanied by significant unintended consequences. It is, however, highly likely that a particular combination of actions, if executed with precise timing, an acknowledgment of the centrality of the three principal actors—Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the NATO alliance—and an awareness of amplifying effects, could deliver an end to the conflict on terms favourable to Ukraine. This paper analyses the central factors at the operational and strategic levels to highlight purposeful courses of action that could be developed: actions that are linked directly to sought-after changes in the system. This process is complex in the Ukraine situation due to the extraordinary levels of violence, destruction, and offensive actions that are violating the principle of proportionality in military operations. While the United Nations and the Security Council might be included as fourth and fifth actors, these institutions have thus far taken something of a spectator role in the conflict, and are apparently distracted by their own internal and somewhat underperforming mechanisms for arresting conflicts through assertive action, security resolutions, and other legitimate instruments.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Specialist publicationECCO Insights
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2022


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