By Mr. Bill Ackerly (Mission Command Center of Excellence)June 20, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (June 19, 2013) -- At the Mission Command Symposium in Kansas City, the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) saved the best for last with the "Training for Mission Command" panel, June 19. Moderated by retired Brig. Gen. Pete Palmer, the panel members looked at the numerous aspects of training people in Mission Command across the Army and other government agencies.
Panel members included: Brig. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, Deputy Commanding General, Combined Arms Center-Training; Maj. Gen. Glenn J. Lesniak, Deputy Commanding General (Support) United States Army Reserve; Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Bailey, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, Forces Command (FORSCOM); Maj. Gen. Scott L. Thoele, Deputy Commanding General, Army National Guard, FORSCOM; and Mr. Hamid M. Khan, Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace.
Mission Command training must align with an Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) cycle that is under revision, as well as adapt to fewer Combat Training Center (CTC) opportunities, Lundy said. He observed that the execution of mission command is not only how you train mission command, but how the commander creates a mission command environment in training anytime a unit operates at home station. Declining resources also require effective commander-driven training management, creativity and low overhead solutions, he said.
Primary mission command training occurs mostly at CTCs where the Army can best replicate the complexities and varying conditions of an environment that drives the creation of trust through repetition, Lundy added. However, he said, the foundations of trust can also be formed at Army installations with their live, virtual, constructive and gaming capabilities that can drive exercises from the platoon to brigade combat teams to divisions. Unfortunately, according to Lundy, the usage rate for these training capabilities is very low at some locations.
As it is throughout most of the Army, leader development is the number one priority at FORSCOM, and developing agile and adaptive leaders is a key ingredient to executing mission command. According to Maj. Gen. Bailey, it is important to achieve and sustain proficiency in exercising mission command in operations, and in the training management process.
As reflected in operations during the last 10-12 years, a significant portion of the Army's capability rests with the Army Reserve and Army National Guard (ANG). Maj. Gen. Lesniak described how mission command is integrated in the Reserve's four major training commands, and Maj. Gen. Thoele explained the major role of Mobile Training Teams in helping to ensure the right unit gets their mission command training at the right time in their five-year training cycle.
Mr. Khan described how the Institute of Peace's training aligns with the mission command philosophy as a thought process; a more abstract way of thinking and anticipating operations.
Among the issues that confront training, Lundy included the complexities of operating systems in the field and the multiple capabilities.
"We really need to pay attention to this," he said. "We need to make sure we keep our integrated training environment concurrent with the evolution of operating systems." Achieving the right balance between individual and collective training is just as important, Lundy said.