By Captian Joseph Pitts, Lancaster Company, Columbus Ohio, Battalion, USARECJanuary 28, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio, (Jan. 28, 2014) -- AR 600-20 - Army Command Policy, is, in my mind, the most important document with which an officer should be intimately familiar. It provides clear, concise responsibilities and guidelines for the commanding officer to follow in order to effectively lead his unit.
When thinking about some of the greatest military leaders throughout history and the times in which they lead, one can only fathom what it was like to be in their shoes. They didn't have the standardized mentoring available to them that we have today.
From ancient times all the way to about the Civil War, if you were the commander of a unit, your power and authority was absolute and given to you by your immediate leader. This could have been a double-edged sword depending on the personality of the commander. If he was a tyrant to the men, they followed him out of fear. If he was just, they followed him out of confidence.
In an effort to alleviate that kind of contradictory leadership, which plagued forces of the past, today's Army has established a specific sets of guidelines to leader development among commanders at all levels.
This standard is AR 600-20. It is general enough to cover the commander's role, but not specific to any one command level. This publication is so much the standard now, that if you were to look through the references of the other major Army Regulations, they defer back to following the guidance set forth in 600-20.
Commanders today have more responsibility than ever before and this document provides a very structured, organized means to convey guidance without being overwhelming.
AR 600-20 includes guidance on instilling discipline and conduct in the unit as well as providing a safe command climate that is free of sexual harassment and assault and affords equal opportunity to all.