KANSAS CITY, MO--Some of the US Army's top leaders, and military officers from around the globe met here Tuesday, June 18, to discuss the implementation of the Army's newest and arguably most significant warfighting function.

The Association of the United States Army hosted a professional development forum on the topic of "Mission Command," and kicked off the two-day event with introductory comments by former Army Chief of Staff and current AUSA president retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan; a short video introduction by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey; and a discussion by the Combined Arms Center Commander Lt. Gen. David G. Perkins on "Implementing Mission Command Across the Army," which served as a primer for the symposium discussion.

The purpose of the symposium is to better inform Army and joint leaders on the importance of implementing Mission Command throughout the Army. Mission Command has been codified in the latest Army Doctrine, ADP 6-0, as the "exercise of authority and direction by the commander using mission orders to enable disciplined initiative within the commander's intent to empower agile and adaptive leaders in the conduct of unified land operations." Moreover, it is executed through the Mission Command Center of Excellence at Fort Leavenworth which integrates all the remaining warfighting functions such as Maneuver, Fires and Maneuver Support.

In Dempsey's comments, he said "The idea that you would establish the kind of relationship of trust internal to the United States Army that will allow mission command to merge the art and science command in a way that would allow every individual at every level to feel themselves enabled by this bias for action is really a powerful thought."

During the stage setter discussion on "Implementing Mission Command Across the Army," Perkins discussed the importance of taking the mission command philosophy from theory to application and getting the Army to share a common understanding of Mission Command."

Perkins explained that mission command does not replace command and control, but that in today's environment command and control is inadequate and therefore any systems to support command and control are also inadequate. "Before you can figure out what you should do, you need to first figure out what you are," Perkins said. "The old warfighting function called command and control is inadequate because you cannot really control the exploitation of initiative, you empower exploitation of initiative."

In summing up the importance of the symposium, Dempsey added, "those who succeed us in the years ahead will look back on this effort in the midst of all of the other uncertainties that we are facing and I predict that they will say that this effort (Mission Command) is one of the things that got us through."