1. Characteristics of Battle Command
a. Battle Command is the ability to envision the desired end state (strategic, operational, tactical military objectives), translate the vision into an intent, formulate concept/courses of action, and provide the force of will to concentrate overwhelming combat power at the right time and place to win decisively with minimal casualties.
b. Decisions must be made at the correct time and place to ensure success by leaders who provide a command climate that breeds success, inspires moral and physical courage in the face of adversity, and contributes a steady and unshakable vision that focuses effort and resources toward current and projected requirements.
c. What distinguishes these timeless challenges in the modern era is the scope, intensity, and tempo that contemporary operations present to the commander. Future challenges encompass weapon systems of increased range and lethality that extend the depth of the battlefield.
d. Battle command will continue to be plagued by an abundance of near real time information impacted by the fog and friction of warfare and uncertainty. The increasing complexities of joint, combined, and interagency operations will place unparalleled demands on commanders.
e. Battle command under these conditions will remain predominantly an art form incorporating elements of scientific analysis, control, and direction wherein the experienced commander develops a seemingly intuitive feel guiding his decisions.
f. Battle command incorporate two vital componentsthe ability to decide and the ability to lead. Knowing what the commander must decide is a complex issue in and of itself. Decisions to pursue one course of action generate momentum which cannot easily be reversed, often precluding options for alternative courses of action. Often, decisions on the initial disposition of forces will predetermine the outcome of battle.
g. Decision making and problem solving are not done in isolation. The staff and subordinates assist the commander in fleshing out, modifying and improving the initial versions of plausible courses of action for evens which may not be totally clear at the time the decision is made.
h. Commanders cannot attempt to personal address each action within their cognizance. Knowing what actions and decisions required his attention and those which can be handled by the staff and subordinates is key to time management and a decentralized command environment.
i. Commanders cannot and should not attempt to know everything. Commanders and staffs must know what information is important for the commander to know. Additionally, the commander must glean vital information which others may be disciplined to pass to him. Commanders bear the ultimate responsibility for defining which critical information, friendly and enemy, which he must have.
j. Commanders must not be prisoners of a static command post. They must go where they can assess the risks and make adjustments by seeing, hearing, and understanding what is occurring. This in German, "fingerspitzengefuellen," feel of the battlefield permits commanders to understand the needs of the force and make adjustments which best support the organization.
k. Appropriate freedom of action must be afforded subordinates to permit initiative and agility in battle. Prioritization of actions, setting degrees of acceptable risk, and establish control measures permit an appropriate level of latitude to subordinate leaders.
l. Commanders strongly influence the outcome of battle by the timely and appropriate commitment of reserves, resources, and the use of available firepower.
m. Decisions must be both timely and resolute, changing only when the combat situations dictates change.
n. Commanders and staffs must be continually forward thinking. Anticipating and planning for the next course of action keep the commander and battle staff agile, synchronized, and focused on the final objective.
o. Control includes the assignment of coordination lines, subdivision of area of operations between friendly forces, and the report structure which flows vital information from commanders to commanders, usually through their respective staffs. Controls permit the Commander freedom to operate, to delegate authority, and aid subordinates in the prosecution of warfighting in accordance with the superior Commanders' intent, even while those Commanders focus on other critical points of the battlefield. Controls aid synchronization and posture the force for current and subsequent operations. Joint, Combined, and Coalition Operations are the expected norm for the future. Commanders and staffs must be able to employ the strengths of each member and compensate for specific weaknesses inherent within any force, including their own. Command and control measures used with multinational forces must be tailored to accommodate a myriad of political and military considerations.
p. Commander Responsibilities: The Commander is personally responsible for formulating the single unifying concept for a mission, knowing when and what decisions are required of him, and finally, having the will to direct and motivate the force to execute the decision to a purposeful end. The Commander assembles personnel, equipment and information in order to facilitate then command responsibilities. This process of Concept-Plan-Execute is applicable to Commanders at all echelons. Commander responsibilities include decisions, leading the human dimension of battle command.
(1) Decisions require that the Commander understand superior Commanders' intent, two level up. Decisions are based upon assessments and estimating the outcome of current operations. Commanders must visualize the desired future "end state" and identify probable courses of enemy action. Commanders must clearly articulate their intent to the staff and subordinate commanders, formulate concepts. Before the start of the operations, commanders determine the key decisions that he will make and given the battle staff the authority to make routine decisions within the constraints of his intent. Commanders Critical Information Requirements are established to assure the flow of the right information to the commander.
(2) Preparing the force. Commander uses rigorous, realistic training to mold and shape his organization, especially his battle staff to aid effective command and control of the force.
(3) Leading. Current and future battle Commanders must be leaders with the ability to visualize future states of the organization. In wartime, this translates to the visualizing beyond the current and intermediate battles to a future end state for the unit/situation. Leader development must focus on the human dimension of battle command to build trust, confidence, and to motivate organizations to accomplish the mission. Requires a climate conducive to teaching, risk sharing, demanding integrity, and discipline. Motivation, dedication, initiative, espirit, and cohesion are all outcomes based on the command climate.