The Commanders Role in Mission Command

The military is tasked with conducting highly complex operations in a life and death environment. Lessons learned since 1775 have evolved the way the military conducts mission command, an evolution that no amount of civilian theory can replicate. When reading military doctrine substitute military lexicon such as commander, mission, and warfighter with the civilian equivalent of your culture (chief executive officer, senior pastor, president; sales, spiritual growth, operations).

The commander is the central figure in mission command. To the commander comes the mission for the unit; in the commander resides the authority and responsibility to act and to lead so that the mission may be accomplished. In mission command, the commander must blend the art of command and the science of control, as he, supported by the staff, integrates all joint war fighting functions. (General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mission Command White Paper April 2012)

To be effective, from the outset of every mission the commander must:
1. Understand the problem
2. Envision the end state
3. Visualize the nature and design of the operations
4. Describe time, space, resources and purpose for the mission
5. Understand the intent of the mission
6. Clearly translate the intent to subordinates
7. Understand subordinate capabilities and trust (but verify) them to do it

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