Army Learning Model is key in Mission Command education
June 21, 2012
By Bill Ackerly
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (June 21, 2012) -- Brig. Gen Gordon B. Davis Jr., deputy commanding general, Leader Development & Education at the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, said, "Implementing the Army Learning Model is the way to educate Army leaders to accomplish mission command."
Davis was the Panel Chair of the Mission Command Leader Education Panel at the AUSA Mission Command Symposium, June 19. In reviewing how Army educational institutions can adapt to teach mission command and the techniques they use, the panel focused on three questions: How can education contribute to improving mission command in the Army and the Joint Force? What are the roles of company and field-grade officers in executing Mission Command, and where are those taught? What are the best means of teaching Mission Command skills and techniques?
The institutional side of the Army is integrating Mission Command in a variety of ways, including courses in the Advanced Military Studies Program, that explore mission command through doctrine, military theory and historical case study. Guest speakers share command experiences and define commander expectations. From the Captains Career Course and the Command and General Staff College through the Warrant Officer/NCO Courses and the School for Command Prepreparation, the curricula include the art and science of Mission Command.
James C. Lacey, director, War Policy and Strategy Program, Marine Corps University, compared and contrasted Marine Corp and Army doctrine and their overall approach to Mission Command. He said, "Fighting and winning battles is the Army's core competence -- Mission Command both rests upon this competence and makes it possible ... a virtuous circle."
As with other panels, the importance of trust was emphasized. Trust is a result of "...shared experiences in combat and training…a common understanding of strategy and war, built upon similar and challenging educational experiences," noted Lacy.
Leonard Wong, research professor of Military Strategy, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, described from a senior staff college perspective how to develop strategic leaders who can execute Mission Command.
"Openness to experience is one of the key character traits in Mission Command and yet one of the most challenging traits to develop in a military culture," said Wong.
Col. (GS) Werner Albl, German Liaison Officer to the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, said Mission Command education in the German Army centers on leadership skills, leadership behavior and leadership capacity.
"Leaders must be people persons," added Albl, weaving in another prevailing theme from the symposium: the human dimension is a key aspects of Mission Command.