The Best Defense

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 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.


The Best Defense

Tales of the Afghan military: Honestly, which officer here hasn't raped a tea boy?


Maj. Charles Wagenblast, a military intelligence reservist, brought home this story from Afghanistan about an Afghan colonel:

One of the colonels that we both knew had been accused of raping a chai boy, badly. They all have chai boys, it's not some perverted thing, it's just what they do. Women are for juma. The only time you interact with your wife is on Friday, the rest of the time it's chai boys. He had been raping this chai boy, which is normal, but he had hurt him really bad. That caused the medical people to get involved and other forces. So he's there in front of the judge, who is an imam. It's religion mixed with law, the whole code of law would fit in a pamphlet and then there's the Koran there on top of it. Anyway, his defense was, "Honestly, who hasn't raped a chai boy? Ha ha ha." And the judge goes, "You're right. Case dismissed."

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Pete Thibodeau/Released/DVIDS