#DAweek: The Principles and Art of Sustaining Decisive Action

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Picture by Australian Army

By David Beaumont

‘In war, mistakes and normal; errors are usual; information is seldom complete, often inaccurate, and frequently misleading. Success is won, not by personnel and materiel in prime condition, but by the debris of an organisation worn by the strain of campaign and shaken by the shock of battle. The objective is attained, in war, under conditions which often impose extreme disadvantages’

                  From Sound Military Decision, US Naval War College, USA, 1942, p 198

Decisive action is won not only through combat power, but through the logistics that sustains it or gives combat forces the potential to fight. Logistics is the arm throwing the spear, and it must effective for the spear to find its mark. However, there is a lot commanders, leaders, and teams of both combat forces and logistics elements can do to make themselves prepared for the shock of combat operations. This post will look at decisive action through a ‘logistical lens’ by describing two areas leaders and commanders should address in preparing their team for combat. Firstly, it will suggest that there are three factors essential in effective logistics which are set well before combat operations. Secondly, and when it comes to the decisive action itself, the post will outline the basic questions that any commander and supporting logistician must ask themselves before they take their men and women into combat.

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#DAweek Decision Point Tactics and Decisive Action

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By Ryan Kranc

In my 2 years at the National Training Center two things separated good rotational units from great rotational units and opposing forces focused on these differences to achieve the upper hand.  Whether mission rehearsal exercise or Decisive Action Training Environment (DA), units distinguished themselves best in the areas of sustainment and in how they anticipated opportunities and made decisions.  Units able to sustain themselves for the duration of the rotation by incorporating risk mitigation measures to enable sustainability were heads and shoulders above units that did not. Secondly, units able to identify decisions and information requirements leading to timely decision making excelled in seizing, retaining, and exploiting the initiative.  This essay focuses on the second of these discriminators and how four imperatives proposed over 20 years ago in a professional journal continue to lend to mission accomplishment at echelon.

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#DAweek: How Will We Train for a Hybrid War

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By Peter Apps

Should tensions with Russia ever “go hot” in Eastern Europe or the Baltic states, the potential consequences could be catastrophic. For all the attention that will inevitably be paid to hotline diplomacy and presidential, however, it may yet be relatively junior commanders – and relatively small formations – that hold the outcome of the conflict in their hands.

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#DAweek: How Will We Train to Fight and Win in a Complex World?

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By: General David Perkins

“Military failures are a result of three things: failure to learn, failure to adapt, and a failure to anticipate.”

The strength of the United States military – in fact, our asymmetric advantage – is our people. The creative and innovative solutions that result from true diversity of thought are the hallmarks of a learning organization.  This creativity and innovation, when nurtured by an organizational culture that encourages prudent risk taking, is both a force multiplier on the battlefield and the only effective response to the inevitable “fog” of war.

It is critically important that leaders at all levels think about, and discuss, “how we fight.” We must continue a diverse dialogue that captures lessons learned from our individual experiences and applies that knowledge to our understanding of the evolving nature of the operational environment we will encounter in the future.

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Commanders As Communicators

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From ARMY Magazine, Vol. 66, No. 4, April 2016. Copyright © 2016 by the Association of the U.S. Army and reprinted by permission of ARMY Magazine.

By Colonel Dave Hodne

Among the many rewards of commanding at the brigade level, the opportunity to mentor, observe and share in the lessons of command is the most profound. In focusing “two levels down,” brigade level commanders are in position to share their experiences with young officers about to assume command for the first time. In coaching subordinate battalion commanders, this relationship among more seasoned commanders allows for reciprocal learning across echelons. My experience in commanding, observing and coaching others on this important responsibility reaffirms my belief that command is best understood in terms of “intent and climate.”

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My Bid Farewell to the Army Blue

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By Daniel Hodne

This past November, my family and I returned to West Point, New York, for my Class’ 25th Reunion. While I stood alongside my classmates on “The Plain,” and watched the Corps of Cadets execute a pass in review, I appreciated the opportunity to reflect. As my retirement date approached, this occasion took place in the twilight of my Army career.

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The Truth in Fiction: An Interview

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I recently had the opportunity to sit down with author Mike Bond and discuss his latest book Assassins as well as the importance of fiction to military professionals. If the interview piques your interest, I encourage you to check out his book here

Q: Mike, what do you think is the most important aspect of Assassins and could you tell us why you decided to write it?

A: I wrote Assassins to share what I’ve learned in the last thirty years of conflict between the West and Islam. From my teenage years I’ve been acquainted with Middle East wars, and have seen much unnecessary tragedy and many mistakes, ways in which we could have protected ourselves better, both diplomatically and militarily.

The preface to Assassins is from the famous quote of Sun Tzu: “One who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be endangered in a hundred engagements. One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes be victorious, sometimes meet with defeat. One who knows neither the enemy nor himself will invariably be defeated.”

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Above and Beyond the Green Notebook

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From ARMY Magazine, Vol. 67, No. 3, March 2017. Copyright © 2017 by the Association of the U.S. Army and reprinted by permission of ARMY Magazine.

By Joe Byerly

Walk into any organization in our Army and there is one thing I guarantee you will find on a desk or in a cargo pocket: a small, green, government-issued notebook. It doesn’t matter whether a soldier is a sergeant or a general officer, odds are they will have one of these Army mainstays in their possession. Beyond their utility for taking notes, these notebooks also represent a greater ideal. They represent hard-won knowledge from intense training exercises. They represent ideas for improving our organizations and our warfighting capabilities. They represent our successes and our failures. They also represent the first step to leaving a legacy in our profession of arms.

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8 Reasons Why NCOs Should Write and Publish

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By Alex Licea  and Harlan Kefalas

Whether it is flipping through the pages of military journals or reading articles on various military websites, we both notice one trend:

Many if not most of the pieces we read are written by officers, both active and retired.

Now, we appreciate and respect our officers for writing about great topics which foster meaningful discussions. However, the NCO perspective is lacking, especially when compared to our representation across the force.

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Time To Change Mission Command Doctrine

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By Regina Parker

The Army let me study abroad in China this year to deepen my understanding of international relations, but I have also learned quite a bit about the Army itself. Last week, for instance, I was riding a train through Tianjin when my Australian friend asked me to explain Mission Command after glancing at the article on my iPad screen titled “Mission command is not a software!” by Thomas Ricks in Foreign Policy. As I flipped through ADP 6-0 and ADRP 6-0 on my iPad and explained the doctrine, her two questions on the subject notably challenged my preconceptions.

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