Thursday, September 15, 2011

One last comment on this Auftragstaktik business*

This is my last comment on this topic until people who disagree with me can adequately show that:
  1. Centralization is inherently bad - especially with the administration of large units;
  2. Long orders (almost all of which is support and admin) are inherently bad;
  3. That the U.S. Army’s mixture of execution- and mission-type command styles makes it less effective and is harming its combat capabilities from its current supremacy**;
  4. Precision isn’t needed on the battlefield.
From FM 5-0 (Army Planning and Orders Production), paragraph G-3 (Characteristics of Good OPLANS and OPORDS):
Balance. Balance centralized and decentralized control. The commander determines the appropriate balance for a given operation based on mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available, and civil considerations (METT-TC). During the chaos of battle, it is essential to decentralize decision authority to the lowest practical level. Over centralization slows action and inhibits initiative. However, decentralized control can cause loss of precision. The commander constantly balances competing risks while recognizing that loss of precision is usually preferable to inaction.
Does every commander and staff use this as a guide? Of course not. But the vast majority have in my experience (which quite frankly is very extensive when it comes to combat operations). So for now, I’m calling “Target. Cease Fire.”

*This is cross-posted from Hull Defilade, my new-ish tumblr blog that I'm using for shorter, less formed thoughts that exceed 140 characters.
**Credit where due: Gulliver posed this question to me earlier today via email. His idea, not mine.

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