The Best Defense

Mission command is nice but what will make commanders actually practice it?

As I've mentioned, I was out at Fort Leavenworth last week. Among other things, I collected enough doctrine and books to give my suitcase a hernia.

In the new material there is lots of emphasis on mission command. I think it is a fine idea. What I don't understand is what incentives there are for commanders to actually practice it. I think many will give mission command lip service and then issue scads of fragmentary orders, undercutting the whole idea. We saw this in the report on the 2nd ACR's October maneuvers in Germany.  

The response I get is that it is so hard because we have a "zero defects" Army. I don't think we do. We have a micromanaging Army. If there really were no tolerance for defects, wouldn't we see more reliefs for incompetence?

Also, contrary to some stray comments, the prospect of relief does not increase micromanagement. In my book, I argue that it actually decreases it. (But to understand that, Maj. Rod, you'd have to read the book, not just the comments on Amazon about it.)


The Best Defense

What austerity looks like?: The British army is told to take the month off

"The British Army has been ordered to take an extended 25-day Christmas holiday or ‘work from home' in an attempt to cut its gas and electricity bills," reports a British newspaper.  This reminds me of George Marshall as a Depression-era garrison commander encouraging his married troops to take time to plant vegetables.

Not so, Joe, responds the Ministry of Defence's blog. "To suggest the Christmas leave plan is a cost-cutting measure is not true. In recognition of the exceptionally busy year the Army has had, both on operations and at home -- including vital support to the London 2012 Olympics, fuel tanker drivers' strike and the Diamond Jubilee -- the usual Christmas leave period has been extended. Personnel who are essential to supporting operations will remain on task regardless of this leave period and there will be no impact on the mission in Afghanistan."

From that blog, I also learned that the Welsh regiment has a "goat major." That is different, apparently, from aging majors who are old goats.

Also, if you believe the Daily Mail (and you may well not) someone stole a pony from the British armed forces.