- 1: a lens or system of lenses that forms an image of an object
- 2a : something toward which effort is directed : an aim, goal, or end of action
Goals or objectives are a desired result an animal or a system envisions, plans and commits to achieve—a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development. Many people endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.
It is roughly similar to purpose or aim, the anticipated result which guides reaction, or an end, which is an object, either a physical object or an abstract object, that has intrinsic value.
Military objectives are clearly defined desired resulst in a given campaign, major operation, battle, or engagement set by the senior command for their formations and units to achieve. Military objectives can be set within a three-tier scale of combat structure of tactical, operational and strategic management of the conflict, and the conduct of its combat operations process. The objective is usually defined in the orders within the operational plan's written specification.
A tactical objective is often an intermediate step to achieving an operational objective, and as such requires decision making and problem solving skills applied during the execution of the tactical plan as part of the operational plan. The operational objective is often a significant intermediary objective before forces reach the strategic objective, often a goal set by the defense policy during the conduct of the campaign or the war, existing within the trade, political and international relations policy.
While in recent military history the term had been applied to all military operations, originally it meant specific objects as map terrain features of reference on the battlefield for identification of positions to commanders and their troops. During the 19th century, as armed forces and their armies grew in size, the military objective acquired a meaning of a general desired dislocation of troops on conclusion of the ordered action, movement or operation.
The degree to which an objective is attained at the completion of combat is the subject of the intelligence analysis phase in the combat operations process.