Mission Command at the Company Level

Army, January 2013 | Go to article overview

Mission Command at the Company Level


To: Company Commanders

From: Company Commanders

In his Mission Command white paper published in April 2012, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff GEN Martin E. Dempsey envisions future combat and states, "Decentralization will occur beyond current comfort levels and habits of practice." He is telling us that we will operate decentralized in future combat and that if we don't prepare now to operate that way, we are not going to be ready. He places the responsibility squarely on our shoulders and states, "Resident in the central figure of the commander, the ethos of Mission Command is a critical enabler of success."

We asked company commanders in the CC forum if they agree with GEN Dempsey and, if so, what they are doing about it in their respective units. Members of the CC forum have engaged in an energetic conversation on this topic. Listen in as these leaders discuss what Mission Command means and how they train its principles at the company level.

Mission Command in Our Past

"I do not propose to lay down for you a plan of campaign, but simply to lay down the work it is desirable to have done, and leave you free to execute it in your own way. Submit to me, however, as early as you can, your plan of operations."

-General of the Army Ulysses S. Grant, April 4, 1864, in a letter to MG William Tecumseh Sherman before the 1864 campaign

Kevin Schrock

73rd Engineer Company, 1/25 SBCT

I agree with GEN Dempsey that to succeed against a decentralized threat we have to operate decentralized. It boils down to giving lower-echelon units authority and responsibility that has until now been held by higher levels of command. It's a cultural change, but one that has already started. As a Stryker engineer company commander, I was forced out of necessity to give my PLs "commander's intent" along with left and right limits and let them accomplish the mission. The brigade battlespace was too large to do otherwise. So how do you do that in training? Battalion commanders and company commanders are going to have to become comfortable with giving their lower echelons a mission set (mission, intent, battlespace and resources) and then letting them go forth and do great things. The mission can be something as simple as running a range to something as complex as a construction project. As commanders, we develop subordinate leaders to manage the time allowed to complete a mission, personnel and equipment availability to accomplish a mission, and the battlespace they operate in. We should trust our subordinates to execute, but should also have a reserve ready in case something goes wrong.

Anonymous

What GEN Dempsey suggests as a future challenge I view as a beautiful dream that can never be realized. There will never be "decentralization" because brigade commanders and up simply do not execute intent-based leadership. Moreover, they won't allow their subordinates to do so, either. So long as PowerPoint and the Internet exist, I will be required to submit a CONOP 48 hours out for every operation from cordon and search, to salsa night at the MWR tent, to road guard for PT hours. We are spending a lot of R&D dollars to ensure there is no such thing as an "immature" environment, ensuring connectivity from the moment we get off the plane or boat. I'm sorry, but didn't we just have a gigantic discussion thread on the crush of admin requirements? [See the August 2012 CompanyCommand article, "The Crush of Requirements from Higher Headquarters."] Now we are going to pretend that when we go to war our leadership is less likely to come down and manage our daily operations?

Jared Nichols

CCo., 1-12 CAV

Anyone remember that video clip a few years back highlighting a brigade commander in a TOC maneuvering a squad via UAV in an assault on a house? When I saw that video as a PL back in 2004-2005, 1 knew that the idea of the junior leader making independent decisions was at risk. Now we are almost avatars for senior leaders to get in the fight. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mission Command at the Company Level
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.