A - Aim - Selection and maintenance of the Aim
This is one the two most important principles. Selecting a bad aim, or not maintaining it, can lead to creep. An excellent example of this was raised by General Wesley Clark - after Al-Qaeda attacked the USA on the Sept 11, 2001, the US immediately blamed Iraq - and went after AQ by attacking nation states that supported AQ. The fact of the matter is that AQ is supported by radical Muslims, rather than a particular nation state. Another excellent example could be Hitler's obsession with Stalingrad - If Stalingrad had been bypassed, then the rest of Russia may have been captured - and Stalingrad would have then capitulated.
M - Morale - Maintenance of Morale
Aside from the Aim, this is the most important principle. Without morale an Army is useless. According to the film "Enemy at the Gates" Danilov cites that the people need a hero, to show them that they can still win. Without morale troops will fight poorly, and at the first chance will either surrender or desert - During the Great War soldiers morale was shattered by weeks on inaction, of being shelled by the enemy, resulting in desertion on a large scale. Many troops on both sides were put to death for their "cowardice"
O - Offensive action
Offensive action goes hand in hand with morale, but it also has further connotations. Without offensive action it is physically impossible to win a war. During the Falklands conflict, the Argentine army made no signification offensive action, whereas the British made several. Despite the armies have similar size, and where NATO doctrine dictates that there should be at least a 3:1 number advantage for an attacker, the war was won relatively swiftly, because of the lack of offensive action by the Argentine army.
F - Flexibility
Flexibility is important in warfare, because warfare is an uncertain beast. Where there is uncertainty, there is change, and where there is change, one needs to be flexible to make best advantage on the new situation. An example could be that of the British at Arhnem. British Airborne held Arnhem for 9 days, rather the the 2-3 they were supposed to. Airborne forces are far better in the attack than defense, and there was no flexibility in the plan. If British Airborne had been dropped just before they were required then Operation Market Garden my have been much more successful.
A - Administration
An infantry unit requires food, water, ammo, lubricants etc. An armored unit requires food and water, but requires different types of ammo, special lubricants, fuels, spare parts. An engineer unit requires little ammo, but a lot of explosives, and specialist building equipment etc. Without anyone organizing supplies from being moved from A,B,C,D,E,F,G and H, to I,J,K,L,M,N,O and P, Infantrymen will go without ammo, and will not be able to fight, whilst Tank crews may get the wrong type of fuel, and be unable to move, or take part in the fight. A disaster in anyones book.
C - Cooperation
Cooperation between units is essential in modern warfare. Without air strikes infantry and armor can get bogged down by well defended enemy positions, but, with a quick air strike, those positions can be disrupted enough to allow the infantry and armor to bypass or capture those defended positions. These relationships are generally referred to as "combat multipliers" and mean that a small force, with correctly used combat multipliers can attack and defeat a much larger force - vis a vis the second Gulf War - the battle space was so co-ordinated that artillery and air strikes could be brought down within minutes of their request, and allowed a much smaller force to defeat a much larger force.
C - Concentration of Force
Concentration of force is like the sharp edge of a scalpel. Without the concentration of effort, the skin cannot be pieced.
E - Economy of Effort
Economy of effort compliments concentration of force. To defeat a platoon of conscripts, one does not need to deploy the third shock army, which may be better deployed elsewhere. Do not use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
S - Surprise
Surprise is a key force multiplier. Surprise, arguably won D-Day for the allies. A plan that takes the enemy by surprise , can paralyze the command structure, and destroy the enemy's morale.
S - Security
Security is the counterpoint to surprise. Security is the protection of your forces, and your plans. It is about denying the enemy knowledge, so that they cannot formulate a plan.
Using the principles
Take, for instance, a company commander, commanding a company battlegroup in a district of Iraq. The Company Commander's aim is to promote peace and security in the district - which may well rule out mass heavy handed actions, that will promote security, but not peace. He will have to react proportionally to the threat, and when there is no threat build relationships with the local communities.
He must also maintain the morale of his soldiers. If they are taking many casualties because he his not aggressive enough (taking into account the other main principle), then morale is going to suffer - not only in his troops, but in the local population, who will see this as increased lawlessness, and it will be difficult to alter this perception. Additionally, the commander must listen to his mens complaints, and decide whether they have real concerns, or if they are moaning for the sake of it, as is their god given right.
Since we are using a peace keeping operation for our example, offensive action can be hard to demonstrate. Our company commander will patrol his area of responsibility, and has to react positively to what his patrols find - If they get shot at, he must reinforce them, and search the areas that they were attacked from, to pick up a scent. The locals (and the enemy) will only be impressed with arrests or kills.
If on the other hand, he only spends time, looking for terrorists, and not the other criminals which perpetuate the lawlessness of the land, he will also suffer the local population's discontent. To pick up on this, he will use foot and vehicle patrols, checkpoints, helicopter patrols and raids in his search for anyone breaking the law
He will also work closely with the Iraqi Police Service, which will strengthen its ability to work as a police force, and will encourage the population to turn the theIraqi authorities. The commander will also request that his camp is repaired and its defenses are reinforced, and this will be done, mainly by the Royal Engineers. Some weapons and vehicles will become unserviceable, and need to goto the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, etc
When there is cause for a raid, then the commander must go in heavy handed. By having no problems in conducting a successful raid the commander demonstrates that he is not a light touch - and that the bad guys should go somewhere else to conduct their trade. Yet if he has all his men on patrols, on raids and guarding his camp, then nobody is getting any down time. Performance will fall, mistakes will be made, and it will be difficult to recover.
Surprise can be hard to achieve at this level. The commander will try to achieve surprise by directing patrols to use non standard routes, and by patrolling with differing numbers. He will also mix vehicle and foot patrols, but his main tool of surprise will be his ability to react faster than his enemies anticipate, by having well trained, and constantly trained troops, and a quick reaction force, that only gets used when it's needed.
On top of all this is the camps' administration. The camp will need drinks and food to support the men. They will need water for ablutions. Ammo, to replace that which is fired. POL to replace what is used. This does not even go into the luxuries expected on operations other than war. Internet access being the latest example, but this also includes a camp shop, forces airmail, laundry etc
With all this responsibility, it is clear that this cannot be done by one man. The commander will appoint duties to his subordinates, and will manage them. The Company Sergent Major and Company Quarter Master Sergent will be responsible for the majority of the administration. The Company Second in Command will be responsible as a operations and intelligence officer. The section commanders will be the commanders on the ground, leading patrols. And the company commander will have to keep his hand in every pie.