Mission Command Reflection Paper
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Today our Soldiers conduct complex military operations worldwide with an enemy that is unpredictable. The United States armed forces conduct operations among civilians; therefore, predicting how events will unfold it is extremely difficult. It is essential for military leaders to learn from their experiences, think critically and analytically and effectively exercise mission command to defeat our enemies. In addition, they need to apply the six principles of mission command philosophy throughout the operations. For that reason, commanders should exercise their authority by empowering their leaders and staff to have discipline initiative to operate within the commander’s intent (Department of the Army, 2012b, p. 1-1). The purpose of this paper is to discuss how I will use the philosophy and concepts of mission command in my future duty assignment following my graduation from the SMC.
In my future duty assignment, I will create an atmosphere of creative and analytical thinking and empowering leaders. I will foster an environment where the commander exercises mission command and apply its philosophy. I will help the commander to immediately train and consolidate the staff and fill any vacant positions. I will ensure that the staff provides the commander with timely and accurate running estimate for him to understand, visualize, describe, and direct the operations (Department of the Army, 2012b, p. 1-2). This will help the commander to drive the operation process and lead and assess operations.
I will ensure that the commander gives clear and concise intent with achievable objectives and that everyone understands the purpose of the operation. In addition, that he gives effective planning guidance to his staff for them to perform their four staff tasks and the five additional tasks. The commander will also provide clear guidance and intent to his subordinate commanders by using the orders process. The commander’s intent should be easy to remember and understood by two levels down. I will empower competent leaders, give them control, and since they have the information, they would be able to make better decision and no delay. I will go with the commander on battlefield circulations as often as possible to the area of operation. This will allow us the chance to gain and improve our understanding of the Operational Environment (OE) and use our personnel observations to make better decisions.
I will foster and environment where the leaders and Soldiers in my unit are empowered. By giving them authority and allowing them to exercise discipline initiative to take action in the absence of orders they would solve unanticipated problems. I will ensure that the commander understands the command and support relationship with supporting units to organize the unit effectively accepting the unit’s role (Department of the Army, 2012b, p. 1-6). As the commander leads and assess the OE, he should delegate authority to his subordinate leaders and hold them accountable. Authority is the level of control to regulate freedom of action, or direct action (Department of the Army, 2012b. p. 2-22). Through mission orders, commanders communicate the desired end state, but does not tell how to achieve it. This will allow them to set the conditions and allocate the resources needed to accomplish their mission.
I will work on building the team by fostering an environment of mutual trust and providing a two-way communication and interaction with all the Soldiers. I will lookout for my Soldiers and take care of their needs, welfare, morale, and ensure their administrative actions are process in a timely manner. Additionally, I will share my experiences to include hardships and lessons learned. I will work on establishing connections and share of understanding, which is the basis for unity of effort. I will invest time to get to know my Soldiers, listen to their issues and concerns, and take appropriate actions to solve their problems. By building, a cohesive team will give them the confidence needed for them to make difficult decisions when time is most critical. They would be able to exercise discipline initiative in the absence of orders because they feel entrusted. They will successfully accomplish the mission despite any obstacles and adversity they might face while upholding the Army values and principles. When a new leader arrives, the commander might have more command and control at first than exercising mission command until the leader earn his trust. Once the commander have trust, he will exercise more mission command.
During the execution phase of an operation, leaders want to put their plan into action and sometimes rush to execute it by taking incalculable risk. I will ensure that the staff and I provide the commander with updated information for him to take prudent risk as he evaluates the situation. Prudent risk is the calculated risk the commander takes to accomplish the mission and balance it to see if the outcome is worth the cost (Department of the Army, 2012b, p. 4-2). To seize the initiative through action commanders must create the conditions to exploit the initiative and accept prudent risk to find opportunities (Department of the Army, 2012b, p. 4-1). As the OE is dynamic and changes very quickly, the art of command requires commanders to accept risk and act almost instantaneously. I would recommend to the commander that he uses all his assets available for example, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance teams when deciding to take risk.
Although today’s OE is complex and unpredictable, it is important to use our experience, judgement, and effectively exercise mission command to defeat our enemies. The philosophy and concepts of mission command that I learned from the SMC will greatly help me in my future duty assignment. I will build a cohesive team that has the confidence and competence needed to face adversity and win (Department of the Army, 2012a, p. 4). I will ensure that the commander issues clear guidance and intent that is understood two levels down, and issues clear planning guidance for the staff. I will foster an environment where Soldiers are empowered and they exercise discipline initiative to take action in the absence of orders. As the OE is multifaceted, commanders have to decide the risk and act immediately.