Mission command is a style of military command in which commanding officers inform subordinates of their mission objectives and allow these subordinates to carry out a mission with the freedom to decide how to do so.
The Army’s primary mission to organize, train, and equip forces to conduct prompt and sustained land combat operations (ADRP 6-0, 1-4). To accomplish this mission, the Army utilizes its concept of unified land operations. Unified Land Operations, applicable to all Army operations is the seizing, retaining, and exploiting the initiative to gain and maintain a position of advantage. With this advantage it provides the framework to prevent or deter conflict, prevail in war, and create the conditions for a favorable conflict resolution (ADP 3-0, p.9). Critical thinking becomes a vital role when decisive actions need to be carried out, where it is also guided by mission command.
1Mission Command is the model that helps commanders to exercise authority and direction. This model is built on the commander’s intent, mission type, centralized and decentralized execution. Mentally agile and adaptive leaders understanding the intent and context of the mission assigned, are needed to complete the objective. Leaders from the top of the ranks all the way down to the team leaders apply critical and intellectual thinking to their understanding and decision making.
1The evolution of critical thinking skills has been crucial and a success for the United States Army. As the military enters into a new generation of war fighting, critical thinking will become key to helping Army forces function effectively and accomplish the mission within the commander’s intent. Commanders and Leaders at all levels have acquired different decision-making methods. This role of critical thinking and how it facilitates understanding and supports the different decision-making approaches in a mission command structure.
1Critical thinking and creative thinking is used when leadership needs to understand the mission and make an effective decision. “Critical thinking examines a problem in depth from multiple points of view (ADRP 6-0, 2-7).” Critical thinkers need to be well informed in order to make sound judgments and choices. “Critical thinkers are purposeful and reflective thinkers who apply judgment about what to believe or what to do in response to known facts, observations, experience, oral or written information sources, or arguments (ADRP 6-0, 2-7)” As mentioned creative thinking is also a key to the understanding and for an effective decision-making approach for commanders and leaders. “Creative thinking involves thinking in new, innovative ways while capitalizing on imagination, insight and novel ideas” Whether we are faced with comparative problems we have encountered in the past, or challenged with new ones; new and creative solutions can be used.
1If we continue to use the same solutions, the enemy will recognize this and triumph over an unchallenged solution. Creative thinking will point to new perspectives and new insights of understanding things. Employing critical thinking and creative thinking, our leadership is able to better understand and select a decision-making approach. These decisions are how commanders put their outcome into action. Commanders and leaders will employ an analytic decision-making approach. Different situations will dictate what approach will be suitable based off of METT-TC.