As we transition from more than a decade of war to garrison training, we must identify and implement mission command (MC) into our fighting formations and training management in order to respond to a complex and evolving security threat. Through grounded experiences at the tactical level and academic study of organizational leadership theory, I seek to connect academic theory to Army doctrine and show the successes of MC in practice through a case study of the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
“You’re going to be the rear-d commander” — the one phrase no officer wants to hear. Rear-detachment duty is no light task, and I would argue it may be one of the most difficult jobs in the Army. If given the option, I would not have chosen this duty, but I learned so much more than if I had deployed, which has set me up for success in numerous developmental areas.
Bravo Company, led by CPT John Smith, has assumed responsibility for a new area of operations in Afghanistan. This area includes a village, which according to intelligence reports, occasionally supports insurgents who conduct improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in the area. During their first week in the new area, a roadside IED attack kills one of the company’s Soldiers and wounds two more. Tensions run high in the company, and Smith develops an aggressive plan to root out insurgents in the village. He back briefs the battalion commander, who approves the plan but directs that they must first meet with the tribal leadership to see if there is any way to gain their support…
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