Gen. Barry McCaffrey was one of our most articulate generals. Here is a comment from his Army War College oral history:
... battalion command taught me ... to see down two levels but command down one. When I was a battalion commander I always knew where my platoons were. I knew everything about what platoons were doing -- but I was only about giving orders to company commanders -- period. At every level [of] the chain of command, if you command down one level and see down two levels, it is not very hard to be effective.
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Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.