Transforming Command: The Pursuit of Mission Command in the U.S., British, and Israeli Armies

Transforming Command: The Pursuit of Mission Command in the U.S., British, and Israeli Armies

Transforming Command: The Pursuit of Mission Command in the U.S., British, and Israeli Armies

Transforming Command: The Pursuit of Mission Command in the U.S., British, and Israeli Armies

Synopsis

On today's complex, fragmented, fast-moving battlefield, where combatants adapt constantly to exploit one-another's weaknesses, there is a demonstrable requirement for military commanders to devolve a high level of autonomy of decision-making and action to leaders on the ground. An effective model for doing this has existed for some time in the form of mission command and has been utilized by the U. S., Israeli, and British Armies- but with mixed success.

This book examines in depth the experiences of the armed forces of each of these countries in implementing mission command, and reveals the key factors that have determined the success or failure of the implementation- factors such as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), the spread of low-intensity conflicts and operations other than war, and differences in how military cultures interpret, articulate, and exercise the command function. It has significant implications for both the development of military doctrine and the training and education of tomorrow's military leaders.

Excerpt

The U.S. Army's Capstone Concept for future operations emphasizes the need for military forces to adapt quickly in environments of uncertainty and complexity. Central to that capability is the long-standing doctrine of mission command, defined as the conduct of military operations through decentralized execution based on mission orders. It is important that future military leaders and civilians who study or oversee military affairs understand both the theoretical basis for mission command and its application to contemporary and future armed conflict. Transforming Command is an ideal starting point for developing that understanding. Particularly valuable is Eitan Shamir’s examination of how the doctrine and application of mission command evolved over time in different strategic and cultural contexts. Combat experiences since the beginning of this century have highlighted the need to decentralize operations. And the importance of mission command will increase in the future as armed forces confront both hostile military forces and nonstate armed groups as well as criminal and terrorist organizations. Different types of enemy organizations are likely to operate in concert, employing a broad range of capabilities and adapting tactics and operations to avoid strengths and attack weaknesses. Uncertainty stemming from military forces’ interaction with adaptive enemies and the complexity of local conditions will require leaders capable of taking initiative and organizations capable of operating with a high degree of autonomy. As Shamir points out, conducting decentralized operations consistent with the doctrine of mission command demands not only common understanding but also an organizational culture that permits effective implementation.

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