FM 100-5, Operations, 1944
Command is personal. In Army regulations and doctrine, an individual, not an institution or group, commands. Only the commander has total responsibility for what the command does or fails to do. How a commander exercises command varies with the characteristics of that commander. All officers have strengths and weaknesses, abilities and shortcomings that affect how they command. The basic techniques of command do not change or expand with the increase in complexity of the force. However, direct leadership within command decreases as the level of command increases, and applying organizational leadership as described in FM 22-100 becomes more relevant.
2-1To command is to do more than carry out orders and apply rules and regulations to the ebb and flow of military administration. Command calls for a creative act, spawned by a carefully carved vision of one's mission and professional values. Great commanders have the confidence and courage to interpret rules and orders, and to put their personal stamp on the decisions guiding their force....
Roger Nye, The Challenge of Command
2-1. The nature of command includes its definition, its elements, and the principles of command. The definition follows, and the following sub-sections discuss the elements and principles. The definition establishes the commander's authority and states the two great responsibilities of command. Implicit in these responsibilities are the elements of command. The principles of command discuss how to use the elements of command to fulfill the responsibilities.
2-2. Command is the authority that a commander in the military service lawfully exercises over subordinates by virtue of rank or assignment. Command includes the authority and responsibility for effectively using available resources for planning the employment of, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling military forces for the accomplishment of assigned missions. It also includes responsibility for health, welfare, morale, and discipline of assigned personnel (JP 0-2).
2-3. The elements of command are authority, decisionmaking, and leadership. The definition of command refers explicitly to authority. It implicitly requires decisionmaking (effectively using available resources for achieving a future state or mission), and leadership (providing for the health, welfare, morale, and discipline responsibilities of command). Decisionmaking and leadership make up the art of command.
2-4. Commanders strive to use their authority with firmness, care, and skill. Commanding at any level is more than simply leading soldiers and units and making decisions. It is the interaction of these elements that characterizes command. Commanders who understand each element conceptually and how it interacts with the others-skillfully balancing them in practice-are much more effective than those who do not.
2-5. Consequently, successful commanders achieve a balance among the elements and develop skill in each one. They delegate authority to subordinates for those functions in which they cannot participate fully; however, they participate enough to assure their successful execution. Officers prepare for higher command by developing and exercising their skills when commanding at lower levels.
2-6. The Constitution establishes the Armed Forces, designates the President as their Commander-in-Chief, and empowers Congress to provide funding and regulations for them. Public law, such as the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), grants further authority, responsibilities, and accountability to commanders in all Services. Army regulations establish the authority, responsibilities, and accountability for Army commanders.
2-7. Authority is the delegated power to judge, act, or command. It involves the right and freedom to use the power of command and to enforce obedience under criminal law. This authority to enforce orders by law if necessary is one of the key elements of command and distinguishes military commanders from civilian leaders and managers. However, commanders have another source of authority: personal authority. Personal authority reflects influence and charisma. It stems from values, attributes, personality, experience, reputation, character, personal example, and tactical and technical competence. Personal authority, freely granted to a commander by subordinates, ultimately arises from the actions of the commander, and the trust and confidence generated by these actions. It is often more powerful than legal authority. Authority has three components:
2-8. Responsibility. With authority comes responsibility, the obligation to carry forward an assigned task to a successful conclusion. With responsibility goes authority to direct and take the necessary action to ensure success (JP 1-02). Commanders assume legally established and moral obligations, both for their decisions and for the actions, accomplishments, and failures of their units. Commanders have three major responsibilities: Above all, commanders are responsible for accomplishing all assigned missions. Second, they are responsible for their soldiers-their health, welfare, morale, and discipline. Finally, they are responsible for maintaining and employing the resources of their force. In most cases, these responsibilities do not conflict; however, the responsibility for mission accomplishment can conflict with responsibility for soldiers. In an irreconcilable conflict between the two, including the welfare of the commander himself, mission accomplishment must come first. Commanders try to keep such conflicts to an absolute minimum.
2-9. Accountability. Another corollary of authority is accountability: the requirement for commanders to answer to superiors (and finally the American people) for mission accomplishment, for the lives and care of their soldiers, and for effectively and efficiently using Army resources. It also includes the obligation to answer for properly using delegated authority. In turn, the subordinates are accountable to their commander for fulfilling their responsibilities.
2-10. Delegation. To accomplish a mission or assist in fulfilling their responsibilities, commanders may delegate authority to subordinates, including staff officers. Delegation allows subordinates to decide and act for the commander or in his name in specified areas. While commanders can delegate authority, they cannot delegate responsibility. Subordinates are accountable to their commanders for the use of delegated authority, but commanders remain solely responsible and accountable for the actions over which subordinates exercise delegated authority. There are several ways to delegate authority: among them, authority over a field of interest or technical specialty, a geographic area, or specific kinds of actions. Commanders may limit delegating authority in time, or they may use a standing delegation.
2-11. Decisionmaking is the process of selecting a course of action as the one most favorable to accomplish the mission. This decision can be deliberate, using the military decisionmaking process (MDMP) and a full staff, or it can be done very quickly by the commander alone. During operations, deliberate decisions usually are disseminated as fully developed written orders; less deliberate decisions are disseminated as fragmentary orders (FRAGOs). Deciding includes knowing if to decide, then when and what to decide, and understanding the consequences. Decisions are how commanders translate their vision of the end state into action. There are two ways to make decisions: analytic and intuitive.
2-12. Analytic Decisionmaking. The traditional view is that decisionmaking is a structured, analytic process based on generating several alternative solutions, comparing these solutions to a set of criteria, and selecting the best course of action (COA). The analytic approach aims to produce the optimal solution to a problem from among those solutions identified. It emphasizes analytic reasoning processes guided by experience, and it is used when time is available. It serves well for decisionmaking in complex or unfamiliar situations. This approach has the following advantages. It-
Analytic decisionmaking is time-consuming but produces an optimal, more fully coordinated plan. It is not appropriate to all situations, especially decisionmaking during execution. The Army's analytical approach is the MDMP. (See FM 5-0.)
2-13. Intuitive Decisionmaking. The other way commanders make decisions is intuitive decisionmaking. Intuitive decisionmaking is the act of reaching a conclusion which emphasizes pattern recognition based on knowledge, judgment, experience, education, intelligence, boldness, perception, and character. This approach focuses on assessment of the situation vice comparison of multiple options (Army-Marine Corps). It focuses on assessing the situation rather than comparing multiple COAs. It is used when time is short or speed of decision is important. It relies on the experienced commander's (and staff officer's) intuitive ability to recognize the key elements and implications of a particular problem or situation, reject the impractical, and select an adequate COA to solve the problem. Intuitive decisionmaking replaces methodical analysis of options with assessment, obtains a satisfactory solution rather than an optimal one, and uses analysis to refine the decision. It is faster than the analytic decisionmaking and facilitates being the one who decides and acts quicker. The MDMP performed in a time-constrained environment relies heavily on the concepts of intuitive decisionmaking. Finally, it leverages the collaborative capabilities of information technology. Intuitive decisionmaking does not work well when the situation includes inexperienced commanders, complex or unfamiliar situations, or COAs that appear to be equally valid.
2-14. Intuitive decisionmaking substitutes application of the art of command for missing information. It works well when acting in uncertain situations and significantly speed up decisionmaking. Intuition in this context is the insight or immediate understanding that rapidly dismisses impractical solutions and moves to a feasible COA. This "art" comes from a combination of the commander's experience, training, and study.
2-15. In practice, the two approaches rarely exclude each other. In fact, commanders can use MDMP training to develop intuitive skills in themselves and their staffs. Each approach has strengths and weaknesses. Selecting one over the other depends primarily on the experience of the commander and staff, and how much time and information are available. The analytic approach is more appropriate when enough time and information are available to choose among different COAs, or when the staff is inexperienced. The majority of tactical decisions during execution-made in the fluid, changing conditions of war, when time is short and information is lacking or doubtful-will be intuitive. Commanders choose a decisionmaking technique based on the situation. It is a mistake to use intuitive decisionmaking when time and circumstances favor analytic decisionmaking. It is also an error to attempt to use analytic decisionmaking when circumstances do not permit it.
2-16. Commanders may base intuitive decisions during execution on the situational understanding developed during a preceding MDMP. Staffs may use part of the MDMP, such as war-gaming, to verify or refine a commander's intuitive decision, if time permits. When commanders employ the MDMP in a time-constrained environment, many of the techniques used, such as choosing to focus on only one COA, depend on intuitive decisions. Even in the most rigorous analytic decisionmaking, intuitive decisions help set boundaries for the analysis and fill information gaps.
2-17. Even in the best circumstances, commanders are unlikely to have perfect knowledge of the situation. They must often bridge the gap between what they know at the time of the decision with a feel for the battle. Intuition is the ability to understand the important aspects of a situation without evident rational thought and inference. Clausewitz described intuition as 2-5"the quick recognition of a truth that the mind would ordinarily miss or would perceive only after long study and reflection." It starts with the range of experiences and reflections on similar occurrences by commanders in the course of their development. It builds on the knowledge of the experiences of others gained through the study of military history. Intuition provides insight that rapidly dismisses impractical solutions and moves to a feasible COA. Intuition allows the commander to "read" the battlefield and do the right thing-faster, more accurately, and more decisively than the enemy. In battle, intuition includes insight into what the enemy is probably going to do and playing that propensity against him.
2-18. Intuition does not automatically reject logical analyses. Commanders can receive too much information and advice, or perceive they have not received enough. Intuition helps commanders select the relevant information (RI) if they have received too much. It allows them to avoid "information paralysis" and make a timely decision by filling in information gaps.
2-19. Decisionmaking involves applying both science and art. Many aspects of military operations-movement rates, fuel consumption, weapons effects-can be reduced to numbers and tables. They belong to the science of war. Other aspects-the impact of leadership, complexity of operations, and uncertainty about the enemy-belong to the art of war. Successful commanders focus the most attention on those decisions belonging to the art of war. They express their decisions as a statement of a goal or end state for the action (an objective), a way to achieve the goal (a concept), and an allocation of means (resources) to tasks.
2-20. Leadership is influencing people— by providing purpose, direction, and motivation— while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization (FM 22-100). It is the most important element of combat power. As the senior leader of the command, the commander directly applies that element of combat power. Subordinate commanders and small unit leaders reinforce it. (See FM 22-100).
2-21. There are two traditional philosophies of leadership: authoritarian or directing, and persuading or delegating. While authoritarian leadership may produce rapid obedience and even short-term gain, it can also develop subordinates who depend too much on the leader, require continuous supervision, and lack initiative. It can also fail to develop teamwork among subordinates. Persuasive leadership teaches subordinates not only to accept responsibility but also to actively seek it. Over time, it produces subordinates who exhibit a high degree of independence, self-discipline, and initiative. A commander's personality, values, attributes, skills, and actions drive his leadership philosophy and style. The mix of styles may also depend on the situation and the capabilities of subordinate commanders.
2-22. Battle command pits the leadership (decisionmaking, stamina, and willpower) of Army commanders against enemy commanders. (See chapter 4.) Army commanders aim to confront the enemy with three choices: surrender, withdraw, or die. Having the legal authority of command and issuing orders will not suffice in battle. The leadership of commanders ultimately includes their will. As Clausewitz stated:
2-23. Commanders use the principles of command to guide how they employ elements of command to fulfill their fundamental responsibilities of command: mission accomplishment and people. Figure 2-1 graphically relates these responsibilities to the principles of command.
2-24. A commander's use of the principles of command must fit the requirements of the situation, his own personality, and the capability and understanding of his subordinate commanders. Command cannot be stereotyped. Moreover, the command principles and applying mission command must guide and stay abreast of the capabilities of emerging technology.
Figure 2-1. Command
2-25. Mission command reconciles the absolute requirement for unity of effort at all levels with decentralization of execution by emphasizing the commander's intent. Decentralization of execution is sustained by and contributes to timely and effective decisionmaking through subordinates' initiative. Mission command can only work in an environment of trust and mutual understanding. Mission command provides a common baseline for command not only during operations but also in peacetime activities. To employ mission command successfully during operations, units must understand, foster, and frequently practice the principles of command during training. Indeed, using command principles during peacetime overcomes institutional obstacles to mission command. The principles of command apply to all levels of command.
Ensure Unity of Effort
2-26. Unity of effort is coordination and cooperation among all military forces and other organizations toward a commonly recognized objective, even if the forces and nonmilitary organizations are not necessarily part of the same command structure. Under mission command, commanders give a clear commander's intent to provide sense of purpose and achieve unity of effort within the force. The commander's intent provides a focus for separate but coordinated efforts by subordinates. It describes the limits of the decisionmaking authority the commander has delegated to them. Designating priorities in operations also aids unity of effort and is part of the commander's intent. Failure to achieve unity of effort leads to confusion and missed opportunities; the effects can be catastrophic.
2-27. The commander's intent provides a unifying idea that allows decentralized execution within an overarching framework. It provides guidance within which individuals may exercise initiative to accomplish overall goals. Understanding the commander's intent two echelons up further enhances unity of effort while providing the basis for decentralized decisionmaking and execution. Subordinates aware of the commander's intent are far more likely to exercise subordinates' initiative in unexpected situations. Under mission command, subordinates have an absolute responsibility to fulfill the commander's intent.
2-7I suppose dozens of operation orders have gone out in my name, but I never, throughout the war, actually wrote one myself. I always had someone who could do that better than I could. One part of the order I did, however, draft myself-the intention. It is usually the shortest of all paragraphs, but it is always the most important, because it states-or it should-just what the commander intends to achieve. It is the one overriding expression of will by which every-thing in the order and every action by every commander and soldier in the army must be dominated. It should, therefore, be worded by the commander, himself.
Field Marshal Sir William Slim,
2-28. Unity of command is the Army's preferred method for achieving unity of effort. Commanders always adhere to unity of command when task-organizing Army forces. Under unity of command, any mission falls within the authority and responsibility of a single, responsible commander. Commanders receive orders from only one superior, to whom they are accountable for accomplishing the mission.
2-29. In certain circumstances, such as some interagency and multinational operations, unity of command may not be possible. In addition, Army forces may include contractors, over whom commanders have authority different from command. However, commanders still organize their C2 (command and control) system to achieve unity of effort. (See FM 3-0.) When unity of command is not possible, commanders must achieve unity of effort through cooperation and coordination among all elements of the force-even if they are not part of the same command structure.
Employ Decentralized Execution
2-30. Decentralized execution is essential to gaining and maintaining the operational initiative in dynamic operations and environments of high uncertainty. (Operational initiative is setting and dictating the terms of action throughout the battle or operation. It applies at all levels of war [FM 3-0]). Decentralized execution requires subordinates to act with agility that unbalances the enemy. It leads to disrupting the enemy force's coherence and destroying its will to resist. It requires subordinates to use their initiative to make decisions that further their higher commander's intent. Delegating this authority is especially important if subordinates are to take advantage of unforeseen events or adjust to changes in the situation before the enemy can effectively react. Decentralized execution allows subordinates with current information to make decisions. It reduces the amount of information passed up and down the chain of command. Generally, the more dynamic the circumstances, the greater the need for decisions at lower levels. However, even in situations where a high level of knowledge exists at high levels, commanders must exercise decentralized execution routinely or subordinates' initiative will disappear as subordinates become used to waiting for detailed instructions from higher headquarters.
2-31. Decentralized execution, central to mission command, requires delegating specific decisionmaking authority. Determining what authority to delegate is an essential part of the art of command. This delegating may be explicit, as in the specified tasks outlined in orders, or implicit, as in the implied tasks and commander's intent found in mission orders. Delegating authority also provides a means of handling the information produced by modern technology and operations. It reduces the number of decisions made at the higher levels and increases agility through reduced response time at lower levels. Delegation not only applies to subordinate commanders but also to staff members. Detailed command requires more decisions at higher levels, often overloading those commanders.
2-32. When delegating authority to subordinates, commanders do everything in their power to set the necessary conditions for success by the subordinate. They allocate enough resources for them to accomplish their missions. These resources include information as well as forces, materiel, and time. Forces include combat, combat support, and combat service support units and systems. Information resources include RI, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and priority of access to higher-level collection means. Because of the need for economy of force, allocating resources is not just a management or scientific matter, but one requiring the art of command. (See paragraphs 2-100-2-104.)
2-33. Commanders must still synchronize subordinates' activities. Synchronization of effects during execution results from integrating fragmentary information and complex combat functions during planning and preparation. A single, unifying concept of operations, together with a keen understanding of time-space dynamics, is needed to synchronize effects. Delegating authority to subordinates, who exercise initiative within the commander's intent, allows them to initiate activities that synchronize their units with those of the rest of the force without consulting the commander.
2-34. Successful integration means that activity is arranged in time and space to achieve desired effects at decisive points. Prudent selection of and attention to the commander's critical information requirements (CCIR) facilitate integrating information. (See paragraphs B-68-B-72.) Commanders consider integration as part of the branches and sequels to a plan. Effectively integrating activities requires understanding the capabilities and limitations of systems on the battlefield and ensuring coordination among the units and activities participating in an operation.
2-35. Under mission command, orders and plans are as brief and simple as possible. Decentralized execution relies on subordinates making necessary coordination and on implicit communication-the human capacity for mutual understanding with minimum verbal information exchange. Decentralizing seeks to increase tempo (the rate of military action) and improve the ability to deal with fluid and disorderly situations. Moreover, reliance on implicit communication makes C2 less vulnerable to disruption of the information flow than centralized execution.
2-36. Trust is one of the cornerstones of leadership. It is essential to successful mission command. Like loyalty, it must go up and down the chain of command; like respect, it must be earned. To function effectively, commanders must trust their subordinates, and subordinates must trust their commander. Subordinates more willingly exercise the initiative required in mission command when their commander trusts them. They will also be more willing to encourage initiative by their own subordinates if they have learned to trust that their higher commander will accept and support the outcome. Likewise, commanders delegate greater authority to subordinates whose judgment they trust. Commanders must also trust their colleagues commanding adjacent and supporting forces, and must earn their trust as well. When a commander exercises subordinates' initiative, mutual trust gives other commanders at the same level the confidence to act to resynchronize their actions with those of that commander. Such actions bring the operation back into synchronization without requiring detailed instructions from higher echelons. Once established and sustained, trust brings its own rewards. It allows each level of command to focus on its overall operations rather than on those of subordinates.
2-37. There are few shortcuts to gaining the trust of others. Often slowly gained, trust can be lost quickly by mistakes made under pressure and the extreme conditions of war. It is based on personal qualities, including professional competence, personal example, and integrity. It starts with technical and tactical warfighting skills because those are the easiest to demonstrate. Soldiers must see values and attributes in action before they become a basis for trust. Trust also comes from successful shared experiences and training, usually gained incidental to operations but also deliberately developed by the commander. During these shared experiences, the interaction of the commander, subordinates, and soldiers through communicating up as well as down, reinforces trust. Soldiers see the chain of command accomplishing the mission, taking care of their welfare, and sharing hardships and danger.
Develop Mutual Understanding
2-38. Mutual understanding both supports and derives from trust. However, like trust, it requires time to establish. From their experiences, commanders understand the issues and concerns of subordinates. Professional knowledge and study give subordinates an insight into command at higher levels. Commanders can develop mutual understanding, both implicit and explicit, in their organizations through training. Good commanders ensure that they understand their subordinates and that subordinates understand them. Mutual understanding is essential for conducting successful operations under mission command.
2-39. Important sources of mutual understanding are nonverbal communication (a direct leadership skill; see FM 22-100), using key, well-understood phrases and doctrinal terms, and anticipating each other's thoughts. Nonverbal communications are faster and more effective than detailed, explicit communications. Commanders can aid mutual understanding by exhibiting a demeanor and personal mannerisms that reinforce, or at least do not contradict, the spoken message. Units develop the ability to communicate nonverbally through familiarity and trust, as well as a shared philosophy and experiences. Sharing a common perception of military problems also leads to mutual understanding. "Common perception" does not imply any requirement to come to identical solutions; under mission command understanding what effect to achieve is more important than agreement on how to achieve it. Activities that can lead to mutual understanding include officer professional development meetings, terrain walks, and professional discussions.
Command Based on Trust and Mutual Understanding-
In a letter to MG William T. Sherman dated 4 April 1864, LTG Ulysses S. Grant outlined his 1864 campaign plan. Grant described Sherman's role as follows:
2-11"It is my design, if the enemy keep quiet and allow me to take the initiative in the Spring Campaign to work all parts of the Army to-gether, and, somewhat, toward a common center.. You I propose to move against Johnston's Army, to break it up and to get into the interior of the enemy's country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their War resources. I do not propose to lay down for you a plan of Campaign, but simply to lay down the work it is desirable to have done and leave you free to execute in your own way. Submit to me however as early as you can your plan of operation."
Sherman responded to Grant immediately in a letter dated 10 April 1864. He sent Grant, as requested, his specific plan of operations, demonstrating that he understood Grant's intent:
2-11"...That we are now all to act in a Common plan, Converging on a Common Center, looks like Enlightened War.... I will not let side issues draw me off from your main plan in which I am to Knock Joe [Confederate GEN Joseph E.] Johnston, and do as much damage to the resources of the Enemy as possible.... I would ever bear in mind that Johnston is at all times to be kept so busy that he cannot in any event send any part of his command against you or [Union MG Nathaniel P.] Banks."
Make Timely and Effective Decisions and Act
2-40. A tempo advantageous to friendly forces can place the enemy under the pressures of uncertainty and time. Throughout the operations process, making and communicating decisions faster than the enemy can react produces a tempo with which the enemy cannot compete. These decisions include determining the information the commander requires for decisions (CCIR-commander's critical information requirements); assigning missions; prioritizing, allocating, and organizing forces and resources; and selecting the critical times and places to act. Decisionmaking during operations includes knowing how and when to adjust previous decisions. The speed and accuracy of a commander's actions to address changing situations is a key contributor to agility. Finally, commanders must anticipate the activities and effects that occur because of their decisions, including unintended second-order effects, effects caused by the enemy's reaction to friendly actions, and effects on future operations. (FM 22-100 discusses second- and third-order effects.)
2-41. To make timely decisions, commanders must understand the effects of their decisions on a complex operational environment. To help them understand, staffs work together to develop the environment input to the common operational picture (COP). Understanding the environment includes civil considerations; such as, the population (with demographics and culture), the government, economics, nongovernmental organizations, and history-among other factors. Commanders make decisions that start and govern actions by subordinate forces throughout the operations process.
2-42. Timely decisions and actions are essential for effective C2. Commanders who consistently decide and act quicker than the enemy have a significant advantage. By the time the slower commander decides and acts, the faster one has already changed the situation, rendering the slower one's actions inappropriate. With such an advantage, the commander can maintain the initiative and dictate the tempo. (See paragraph A-5.)
2-43. Mission command makes it easier for commanders to make timely decisions and take actions that create and exploit this advantage. Effective commanders do the following:
2-44. Commanders change and combine intuitive and analytical decisionmaking techniques as the situation requires. Because uncertainty and time drive most decisions, commanders emphasize intuitive decisionmaking as the norm, and develop their subordinates accordingly. Emphasizing experienced judgment and intuition over deliberate analysis, the intuitive approach helps commanders increase tempo and develops the flexibility to deal with the uncertainty that follows. The intuitive approach is consistent with the fact that there are no perfect solutions to battlefield problems. However, commanders consider the factors that favor analytical decisionmaking. When time is not critical, commanders use an analytical approach or incorporate analysis into their intuitive decisions. Time permitting, commanders can have their staffs validate intuitive decisions, even while refining them, ensuring they are at least suitable, feasible, and acceptable.
2-45. When time is available, commanders and staffs use the MDMP, a highly analytical technique. However, commanders can alter the MDMP to fit time-constrained circumstances and produce a satisfactory plan. In time-constrained conditions, commanders assess the situation, update their commander's visualization, and direct the staff to perform those MDMP activities needed to support the required decisions. Streamlined processes permit commanders and staffs to shorten the time needed to issue orders when the situation changes. In a time-constrained environment, many steps of the MDMP are conducted concurrently. To an outsider, it may appear that experienced commanders and staffs omit key steps. In reality, they use existing products or perform steps in their heads instead of on paper. They also use many shorthand procedures and implicit communication. FRAGOs and WARNOs are essential in this environment.
2-46. Commanders and staffs constantly assess where the operation is in relation to the end state and estimate how best to adjust that operation to accomplish the mission and posture the force for future operations. The commander's visualization and the staff's running estimates, maintained continuously, are the primary assessment tools. Keeping running estimates current is key to keeping commanders aware of feasible options. Staffs use newly collected information to replace outdated facts and assumptions in their previous estimate. They perform analysis and evaluation based on the information, and form new or revised conclusions and recommendations. The commander's visualization focuses the staff's running estimates. The commander's visualization identifies decisions the commander expects to make. Running estimates focus on determining recommendations concerning those decisions. To dominate the enemy during operations, commanders can never be without options. Current running estimates based on the commander's visualization provide the recommendations commanders need to make timely decisions during execution.
2-47. Effective tactical decisionmaking by calm, competent, confident commanders synchronize operations. It is refined through the war-gaming process. Synchronization is continuous, as execution requires constant adjustment to unfolding battlefield events, including branches and sequels.
2-48. The art of command lies in the conscious and skillful exercise of its authority to fulfill command responsibilities through decisionmaking and leadership. The true measure of the art of command is not whether a commander uses certain techniques or procedures, but if the techniques and procedures used were appropriate to the situation. Expert performance in the art of command leads to mission accomplishment with fewest friendly casualties. Proficiency in the art of command stems from years of schooling and training, self-development, and operational and training experiences.
2-49. While all elements of command contain some aspects of the art of command, some depend more on the art and others more on the science. Authority is primarily a matter of statutes and regulations (science). The art in authority lies in establishing personal authority. (See paragraph 2-7 and FM 22-100.)
2-50. A large portion of the art of command involves decisionmaking. Commanders use the visualize-describe-direct methodology as their personal contribution to decisionmaking, whether they have a staff or not. (See FM 3-0.) Staffs support commanders with running estimates.
2-51. Visualizing is primarily an aspect of the art of war. Describing balances the art and science of war, with the art expressed primarily in the commander's intent and planning guidance. Directing is primarily science. Visualizing and describing are addressed below. Directing is addressed briefly below and covered in detail in FM 5-0.
2-52. Visualize means to create and think in mental images. Human beings do not normally think in terms of data, or even knowledge; they generally think in terms of ideas or images-mental pictures of a given situation. There are three sources for these images:
2-53. Visualizing military operations effectively depends on understanding the human factors involved in operations and the dynamics of operations themselves. Commanders consider both of these when performing their commander's visualization.
2-54. Human Factors. In operations, the quality of soldiers and cohesion of units are critical to mission accomplishment. Commanders know the status of their forces. They are aware that circumstances may prevent friendly forces from performing to their doctrinal capabilities. Some units may have just received new replacements or had an extended period of operations under heavy stress. Others may be experiencing a lack of repair parts that renders major equipment unavailable in expected quantities or limits their capabilities. Still others may have sustained casualties that make them less capable, experienced an enemy NBC attack, or just arrived in theater and are not yet acclimated. Commanders consider such factors as these when establishing their FFIR.
2-55. Military operations are dynamic: they affect and are affected by human interactions. These interactions occur within friendly forces, within enemy forces, and between friendly and enemy forces. Commanders understand and use these relationships to overcome uncertainty and chaos, and maintain the balance and focus of their forces. Then they can seize and exploit opportunities by unleashing their soldiers' initiative, audacity, creativity, judgment, and strength of character. The art of command involves exploiting these dynamics to the advantage of friendly forces and the disadvantage of the enemy. Commanders consider the condition of enemy forces as well as their own and acts to ensure enemy commanders suffer from the pressures and consequences of operations more than they do.
2-56. Commanders do not take the readiness of friendly forces relative to the enemy for granted. Military operations take a toll on the moral, physical, and mental stamina of soldiers that, if left unchecked, can ultimately lead to their inability to accomplish the mission, regardless of the condition of the enemy. Commanders consider these dynamics throughout the operations process and recognize the limits of human endurance. They press the fight tenaciously and aggressively. They accept risks and push soldiers and systems to the limits of their endurance-and sometimes seemingly beyond-for as long as possible. The art of command includes recognizing when to push soldiers to their limits and when to rest soldiers to prevent individual and collective collapse. Even the most successful combat actions can render soldiers incapable of further operations. Commanders recognize this and act aggressively to prevent this situation. A loss of stamina is even more telling if the encounter with the enemy is unsuccessful. Commanders know this as well, and prepare themselves for it.
2-57. Dynamics of Operations. The dynamic relationships among friendly forces, enemy forces, and the environment make land operations exceedingly complex. Understanding each of these elements separately is necessary but not sufficient to understand the relationships among them. The complexity of land combat operations requires control to inform command. Friendly forces compete with the enemy to attain operational advantages in both the physical and information environments. Advantages in the physical environment allow Army forces to close with and destroy the enemy with minimal losses. Advantages in the information environment result in information superiority, which complements and reinforces advantages gained in the physical environment. Together, these advantages allow Army forces to defeat enemy forces-decisively.
2-58. Operations in the information environment involve collecting and processing information at the level of fidelity necessary to support commanders' situational understanding. Situational understanding allows commanders to exploit operational advantages and seize opportunities. Success can be gauged by whether commanders have the information they need at the time they must make a decision. It comes from careful analysis, an understanding of the technical aspects of information collection and intelligence, a high level of training, and experience. Understanding these dynamics-both in the physical and information environments-is the first step in visualizing them. Assigning a mission to a force gives its commander a focus for visualizing these dynamics.
2-59. The environment is neutral in terms of favoring one side over the other. It can keep both sides from performing up to their capabilities or can be used to advantage by the force best equipped and trained to cope with its effects. Commanders understand these effects and account for them. (See appendix B).
2-60. During operations, the complexity and unpredictability of interactions among friendly forces, enemy forces, and the environment add to the fog and friction of war. Applying the art of command requires commanders to account for these interrelated effects. They visualize the second- and third-order effects of their actions and develop COAs that reduce their negative effects and exploit their positive effects.
2-61. Commander's Visualization. Commander's visualization is the mental process of achieving a clear understanding of the force's current state with relation to the enemy and environment (situational understanding), and developing a desired end state that represents mission accomplishment and the key tasks that move the force from its current state to the end state (commander's intent). Commander's visualization (see figure 2-2) is a way of mentally viewing the dynamic relationship among Army forces, enemy forces, and the environment at the present while conducting operations against an opposing force over time. It occurs until the end state of an operation is achieved. Commander's visualization is the key to combining the art of command with the science of control. (See
Figure 2-2. Commander's Visualization.