By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)February 2, 2017
More than 200 senior officers and noncommissioned officers attended a leadership seminar hosted by German army liaison officers Jan. 25 in Lincoln Hall auditorium.
German Lt. Col. Jens Kuester, engineer liaison officer, and German Lt. Col. Dirk Veek, military police and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear liaison officer, discussed mission command and the decision-making process of the German army.
Col. Bryan Sizemore, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence operations officer, coordinated the lecture as a way to generate shared understanding between senior leaders at Fort Leonard Wood and their German partners.
"The purpose of this program is to ensure we utilize best practices with our partners," Sizemore said.
Sizemore said taking the opportunity to develop professional military education among the Soldiers is one of the cornerstones of what happens at Fort Leonard Wood.
"Here at Fort Leonard Wood, we all work together to create a good Soldier with skills and tools to go out into the force and do great things," he said.
Part of that development is sharing best practices, techniques and standard operating procedures with allied partners, like Germany, to gain an understanding "of the why" and to be able to speak the same professional language, Sizemore added.
"If we want to be interoperable, we have to know how each other operates and makes decisions," he said.
It all points to the fact that the United States will not go into any war in the future, on any significant scale, without coalition partners, said Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general.
Mission command is defined by the Army as an 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.
Kuster focused on the six principles of mission command. They are build cohesive teams through mutual trust, create shared understanding, provide a clear commander's intent, exercise disciplined initiative, use mission orders and accept prudent risk. He used personal examples from his time as a company and battalion commander to demonstrate how the German army uses mission command on a daily basis.
The key point Kuster wanted to get across was that German mission command and U.S. Army mission command are similar.
"What we think about mission command is the same as what the U.S. Army thinks about mission command," Kuster said.
Following Kuster, Veek discussed the basics of decision making from the German perspective. He related how their process is also similar to the Army's process, so he focused on the differences between the methods.
Kuster concluded that mission command and the decision-making process can be applied every day in all aspects of life, because mission command and decision making are not necessarily military principles only.