The Principles Of Mission Command (MC)

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Background: In 2003, the Army published its guidance on the implementation of the principles of Mission Command (MC); the leadership philosophy adopted by the Army. The ideals and principles were discussed and implemented throughout the Army over the course of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom and are still being implemented in Operation Inherent Resolve. In 2012, the Army published updated doctrine to further explain and codify the principles of MC in ADP 6-0. The Army War College developed the Key Strategic Issues List for 2015-1016 and asked students in the FA49 ORSA Q-Course to identify one key strategic initiative and draft a white paper to discuss it. This white paper will discuss issue #7: "What cultural changes are needed in the Army for it to meet future challenges while embracing" MC? In this white paper, I will discuss what embedding and reinforcing mechanisms the Army senior leaders need to put into place to change the culture.

Discussion: ADP 6-0 defines MC as "the exercise of authority and direction by the commander using mission orders to enable disciplined initiative within the commander 's intent
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Kotter lists reasons for why organizations fail to change the organizational culture. One of the reasons is neglecting to anchor changes firmly in the corporate culture. In the context of the Army as a corporation, the ideals of MC have not taken hold because subordinate leaders are not adhering to the principles of MC at the lowest levels; particularly allowing their subordinate leaders to exercise disciplined initiative and accept prudent risk. The Army has created a leadership culture driven by oversight from the highest levels of leadership to ensure that their directives are executed with little deviation. This type of leadership is very risk averse and stifles the subordinate leaders ' desire to take any initiative to implement an alternate plan of action dictated by the conditions on the

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