This study uses Pacific Pathways 2014 as a method to describe operational art as it exists in the real world. Though focused on events that transpired in the Pacific theater, the lessons provided in this work are relevant to any planner seeking to understand how operational art actually works. The environment military planners operate in is inherently complex. Planners use operational art to gather a rich understanding of the environment and the strategic guidance provided by national and military leaders. Operational art links this broad and conceptual strategic guidance to tangible tactical action. Masterful employment of operational art provides cognitive space for subordinate organizations to think, act, and adapt.