Six principles comprise the philosophy of mission command: (a) build cohesive teams through mutual trust; (b) create share understanding; (c) provide clear commander’s intent; (d) exercise disciplined initiative; (e) use mission orders; and (f) accept prudent risk. When combined together, these six principles assist the commander in balancing the aforementioned art of command and science of control. To understand how General Robert E. Lee’s performance at Gettysburg lacked the marks of a great mission commander necessitates a deeper understanding of the individual principles of mission command.
General Patton did an outstanding job demonstrating the four of the six steps of Mission Command during the Battle of the Bulge. The forces that General Patton led were subjected to a stern leadership and instilled tighter discipline than any other American field forces in World War II. General Patton lived by a few principles daily and one of those include a quote he made of his own “say what you mean, and mean what you say.” An example of his quote he enforced in his soldiers that he made sure that regulations concerning uniforms were rigidly enforced, and on many occasions he imposed fines or other punishments when he found his men on front lines violating the rules he
Operational leaders down to the platoon and squad level have recently faced increasingly complex missions in uncertain operational environments. Accordingly, Army doctrine has shifted to officially recognize mission command, which enables leaders at the lowest level feasible to “exercise disciplined initiative” in the accomplishment of a larger mission. The operational process consists of six tenants: understand, visualize, describe, direct, lead, and assess. During the battle of Fallujah, LtGen Natonski understood the intent two levels up, visualizing courses of action for both allies and the enemy, and leading his organization into combat while directing his officers and soldiers to meet his intent. He visualized that Marines alone could not accomplish the mission. He understood that without the support of Iraqi police and a task force from the Army with
Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 6-0 defines mission command as “the exercise of authority and direction by the commander using mission orders to enable disciplined initiative within the commander’s intent to empower agile and adaptive leaders in the conduct of unified land operations” (U.S Army, Training and Doctrine Command, Combined Arms Center, Center for the Army Profession and Ethic, 2015, p. 1). The six principles of mission command direct leaders to build cohesive teams through mutual trust, create shared understanding, provide a clear commander’s intent, exercise disciplined initiative, use mission orders, and accept prudent risk. These principles enable subordinates that
Successful leadership on a battlefield can be measured in different ways. It is possible for a good, successful leader to lose a battle. Conversely, it is possible for an ineffective leader to win a battle, given the right circumstances. What distinguishes a successful leader from an unsuccessful one is his/her ability to oversee an operation using effective mission command. In ADP 6-0, mission command as a philosophy is defined as “as the exercise of authority and direction by the commander using mission orders to enable disciplined initiative within the commander’s intent to empower agile and adaptive leaders in the conduct of unified land operations” (ADP, 1).
LTC Honeycutt continuously assessed the situation at every turn of the war. He knew that the enemy wanted to fight and he was more than happy to oblige. Members of the 3-187th located some documents from the enemy and determined it was the 29th NVA, which signified that they were up against a sizeable enemy force. After a heavy firefight on the fourth day, Honeycutt was able to assess that the enemy strength was more than just a company. He concluded the enemy strength size was a battalion. His assessment required him to develop new frontal attack plans. The companies were able to advance up the hill but they suffered multiple casualties which resulted in them pulling back to their previous night defensive positions. The 3-187th lost ground, troops, and the motivation to
COL Prescott’s understanding of operational variables (PMESII-PT) and mission variables (METT-TC) contributes to his mission command effectiveness. In Battles of the Revolutionary War (Wood), COL Prescott demonstrates his grasp of these variables by determining the British forces’ strength, the morale condition of his own men and the effective location from which his orders say defend. The 6000 British soldiers’ training and equipment outstrip the colonists in every aspect. To deny the British from seizing Dorchester Heights, COL Prescott’s understanding of the current situation gave way to his effective planning that was effective in his visualization of the defense mission.
It was General Bragg’s lack of confidence, previous performances, and relationships with his subordinate commanders that ultimately caused the battle plan to not be executed correctly. Bragg was unable to successfully implement the first principle of mission command: build cohesive teams through mutual trust. He also had a history of not utilizing the sixth principle of mission command: take prudent risk. Bragg’s lack of competence regarding these two mission command principles ultimately set conditions for a poor mission command climate within General Bragg’s unit. Bragg’s sub-commanders, Generals Hindman, Buckner, Polk, Longstreet, and Hill were all skeptical of Bragg’s leadership and battle plans from his previous campaign at Chattanooga, where he retreated from the city. Bragg was well known for retreating at the first Battle of Chattanooga, and also for predictably employing frontal assault offensive tactics. His history of predictable plans, retreats, and inability to take prudent risk, caused his subordinate leaders to lose trust in his ability to plan and lead his army. One of Bragg’s sub-commanders, General Hill, stated
The mission command system is expressed as the placement of individuals within a unit conducting operations with a specific set of procedures and principles in place to optimize the use of its equipment. What does it mean to recognize or comprehend the art of Command and the science of Control? There are six key principles of mission command in developing a cohesive team that support all aspects of a mission. The following essay will discuss these principles and examine examples of how the famous Operation Anaconda both endured victories and inadequacies.
Forces were the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry, 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry, and the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry. These units were supported by the 9th Marines and the 3rd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, as well as elements of the Army of Vietnam. ‘Don’t mean nothing’, That was the reference from the powerful 1987 movie about the battle for Hamburger Hill, more correctly called Ap Bia Mountain also known as Hill 937. Many soldiers of that May 1969 fight would no doubt agree, since the hill was abandoned to the enemy soon after it was taken. But the truth is that it was one of the most key and historical battles of the war, for it spelled the end of Major American ground combat operations in Vietnam.
In one of the largest battle ever fought by the United States Army, with just over 600,000 Soldiers involved, it was very difficult to place any location or unit ahead of another in order of importance. The reality is that two crucial stands on the front line are what doomed the German attacks to complete
Mission Command: The unity of command principle favored Colonial forces and their allies. General Washington refined his command climate through years of troubled multinational operations. He painfully understood the importance of synergy towards an end state. General Washington’s clear communication of intent and subordinate leader empowerment contrasted his adversaries. General Clinton’s combative command climate with Lord Cornwallis exacerbated their demise. Clear intent allowed the Colonial coalition to seize a fleeting opportunity at Yorktown.
by the Nixon administration to take the hill and called the Battle of Hamburger Hill “senseless and irresponsible” (Battle of Hamburger Hill, 4). As a result of the criticism, General Creighton Abrams of the Assistance Command Vietnam, was ordered to avoid such intense ground battles. Not all of the U.S soldiers thought that the battle was a wasted effort though. General Zais was also quoted saying, “Those people are acting like this was a catastrophe for the U.S troops. This was a tremendous gallant victory.”
In 1943, the British and American Allies shared a common language and a common enemy, but they disagreed on the war’s grand strategy. These strategic differences culminated in the Sicily Campaign when Allied Command and Control exercised by General Eisenhower, Allied Commander, failed to employ the three essential attributes of Mission Command: commander’s intent, full understanding, and mutual trust among partners, as discussed in General Dempsey’s white paper. These failures in Mission Command also limited the Allies’ ability to effectively integrate the vital and complementary joint functions of Fires, as well as Movement and Maneuver. This essay will evaluate the Allies’ Command and Control function, their integration of the
The Milwaukee Journal, contrary to the reports from General Harkins, reported the battle over the strategic hamlet of Ap Bac a resounding failure. According to the reports from the ground, a significant paratrooper error was a great cause of distress among the United States advisors. A battalion of paratroopers made the costly error of dropping on the incorrect side of the village, costing valuable time and dozens of lives. Adding this to the lack of solid leadership reported from General Cao, a Vietnamese general who refused to advance his troops, the Milwaukee Journal were quick to echo the sentiments of the advisors. The headline wrote “Yank Advisors Blast Vietnamese for Defeat”.