Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Mission command is harder to do than the Army thinks — and requires a lot of inputs

By “Misha N. Komand” Best Defense guest correspondent How can we really enjoy the benefits of mission command without the inputs? You don’t just ‘do’ mission command (just as you don’t just ‘do’ Army design methodology). The Germans didn’t just ‘do’ Auftragstaktik. No, it was built on a culture that held junior officers on up ...

purpleslog/Flickr
purpleslog/Flickr
purpleslog/Flickr

By "Misha N. Komand"

Best Defense guest correspondent

By “Misha N. Komand”

Best Defense guest correspondent

How can we really enjoy the benefits of mission command without the inputs? You don’t just ‘do’ mission command (just as you don’t just ‘do’ Army design methodology). The Germans didn’t just ‘do’ Auftragstaktik.

No, it was built on a culture that held junior officers on up to rigorous accounting of academic and military ability. The Army thinks it can incorporate the benefits of an idea by simply incorporating (or poaching) the good terms or ideas of others, and not have to pay the price in selecting and educating the right officers. There will be no true mission command without a cultural change starting with accountability in education (centering on military history) and better selection and shaping of the officer corps.

“Misha N. Komand” is an active duty Army officer serving on the periphery of the American dream.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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