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Effective Use Of Mission Command As A Philosophy

2119 words - 8 pages

In late November 2001 Task Force 58 launched from ships off the coast of Pakistan to conduct the longest ranged amphibious assault in history with 403 Marines and Sailors, 4 fast-attack vehicles, and a variety of supporting equipment,. General James N. Mattis successfully accomplished this in large part to the effective execution of mission command. Commanders can utilize mission command as a philosophy or a warfighting function. Mission command as a philosophy is the use of commander's intent and mission orders to empower agile and adaptive leaders. It enables commanders to counter the uncertainty of operations by reducing the amount of certainty required to act in a given situation. Commanders build cohesive teams, provide a clear commander's intent and guidance, encourage the use of disciplined initiative, and use mission orders through the operations process to effectively use mission command as a philosophy. Commanders drive this operations process using mission command through six steps. First, they must understand the operational environment and the problem. Second, a commander must visualize his desired end state and operational approach. Third, he must describe that visualization to subordinates using time, space, purpose, and resources. Fourth, commanders must direct forces throughout preparation and execution. Finally, through each of the first four steps, commanders need to lead through purpose and motivation and assess through continuous monitoring and evaluation. General Mattis successfully utilized mission command as a philosophy by understanding, visualizing, leading, describing, and assessing through the operations process as the commander of Naval Task Force 58.
In the days immediately following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called for a quick response into Afghanistan. With CIA and other intelligence operatives currently in the field, Secretary Rumsfeld argued for additional unconventional forces to assist the Northern Alliance defeat the Taliban. He urged the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton to "Lift out of the conventional mindset. " The White House initially wanted only special operations forces conducting operations in Afghanistan. This mindset changed around October 2001 when the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Myers contacted the Commander of United States Central Command General Tommy Franks to recommend opening new fronts in south and east Afghanistan. General Myers predicted the Taliban would begin to move south and east out of Northern Afghanistan due to Northern Alliance and Special Operations Forces pressure. This new front would require conventional forces to fix the enemy to prevent escape. The Marines were chosen to be this conventional force because of the speed with which they could deploy. Amphibious Ready Group Peleliu with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit was...

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