How Did LTG Natonski Utilize The Mission Command Principles

2nd Battle of Fallujah (Phantom Fury) Iraq War LTG Natonski    (USA)


Students will analyze a commander’s performance from a selected historical battle.   This analysis will be 6-8 pages in length, and will evaluate how effectively the commander executed the Mission Command Approach and the Command and Control Warfighting Function during the battle.  Specifically, students will examine how he utilized the mission command principles. Students must address at least four of the seven principles in their analysis, and suggest how the commander’s utilization of those principles ultimately affected the battle’s outcome.  The student must determine by their research if the selected commander executed good or bad mission command during the battle.​

Citation Format : Chicago/Turabian 

MISSION COMMAND Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. General George S. Patton, Jr. 1-13. Army operations doctrine emphasizes shattering an enemy force’s ability and will to resist, and destroying the coherence of enemy operations. Army forces accomplish these things by controlling the nature, scope, and tempo of an operation and striking simultaneously throughout the area of operations to control, neutralize, and destroy enemy forces and other objectives. The Army’s command and control doctrine supports its operations doctrine. It balances coordination, personal leadership, and tactical flexibility. It stresses rapid decision making and execution, including rapid response to changing situations. It emphasizes mutual trust and shared understanding among superiors and subordinates. 1-14. Mission command is the Army’s approach to command and control that empowers subordinate decision making and decentralized execution appropriate to the situation. Mission command supports the Army’s operational concept of unified land operations and its emphasis on seizing, retaining, and exploiting the initiative. 1-15. The mission command approach to command and control is based on the Army’s view that war is inherently chaotic and uncertain. No plan can account for every possibility, and most plans must change rapidly during execution to account for changes in the situation. No single person is ever sufficiently informed to make every important decision, nor can a single person keep up with the number of decisions that need to be made during combat. Subordinate leaders often have a better understanding of what is happening during a battle, and are more likely to respond effectively to threats and fleeting opportunities if allowed to make Chapter 1 1-4 ADP 6-0 31 July 2019 decisions and act based on changing situations and unforeseen events not addressed in the initial plan in order to achieve their commander’s intent. Enemy forces may behave differently than expected, a route may become impassable, or units could consume supplies at unexpected rates. Friction and unforeseeable combinations of variables impose uncertainty in all operations and require an approach to command and control that does not attempt to impose perfect order, but rather accepts uncertainty and makes allowances for unpredictability. 1-16. Mission command helps commanders capitalize on subordinate ingenuity, innovation, and decision making to achieve the commander’s intent when conditions change or current orders are no longer relevant. It requires subordinates who seek opportunities and commanders who accept risk for subordinates trying to meet their intent. Subordinate decision making and decentralized execution appropriate to the situation help manage uncertainty and enable necessary tempo at each echelon during operations. Employing the mission command approach during all garrison activities and training events is essential to creating the cultural foundation for its employment in high-risk environments.


THE COMMAND AND CONTROL WARFIGHTING FUNCTION 1-95. A warfighting function is a group of tasks and systems united by a common purpose that commanders use to accomplish missions and training objectives (ADP 3-0). Warfighting functions are the physical means that tactical commanders use to execute operations and accomplish missions assigned by higher level commanders. The purpose of warfighting functions is to provide an intellectual organization for common critical capabilities available to commanders and staffs at all echelons. 1-96. Operations executed through simultaneous offensive, defensive, stability, or defense support of civil authorities operations require the continuous generation and application of combat power. Combat power is the total means of destructive, constructive, and information capabilities that a military unit or formation can apply at one time (ADP 3-0). Combat power includes all capabilities provided by unified action partners that are integrated and synchronized with the commander’s objectives to achieve unity of effort in sustained operations. 1-97. Combat power has eight elements: leadership, information, command and control, movement and maneuver, intelligence, fires, sustainment, and protection. The elements facilitate Army forces accessing joint and multinational fires and assets. The Army collectively describes the last six elements as warfighting functions. Commanders apply combat power through the warfighting functions using leadership and information. Leadership is a multiplying and unifying element of combat power. Information enables commanders at all levels to make informed decisions about the application of combat power and achieve definitive results. 1-98. The command and control warfighting function is the related tasks and a system that enable commanders to synchronize and converge all elements of combat power (ADP 3-0). The primary purpose of the command and control warfighting function is to assist commanders in integrating the other elements of combat power (movement and maneuver, intelligence, fires, sustainment, protection, information and leadership) to achieve objectives and accomplish missions. The command and control warfighting function consists of the command and control warfighting function tasks and the command and control system

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