By Ms. Megan GarciaJanuary 18, 2018
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Jan. 16, 2018) -- Gen. Robert B. Abrams, commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command, spoke to attendees of the Maneuver Warfighter Conference at Fort Benning, Georgia, about mission command as it relates to cross-domain maneuver, the subject of the conference Jan. 10.
Abrams said the Army is first driven by doctrine, and when looking at mission command, one must first ask, "What does the doctrine say?"
"We're a doctrine-based Army. Don't ever forget that. It gives us a common framework in which to operate," Abrams said. "The future battlefield that we are talking about is nothing like what we have experienced for the last 15, 16, 17 years. This is a much different battlefield than we are talking about, and it will put a premium on mission command."
Abrams emphasized in order to be successful in this, it's important to empower subordinates and junior officers currently within the Army, as they will be the ones to carry out cross-domain maneuver operations.
"You are the future," Abrams said, directing his comments to officers in the audience currently attending the Maneuver Captain's Career Course. "When we talk about multi-domain battle, when we talk about cross-domain maneuver, you're actually the ones who are going to have to do it."
Leaders have to understand the environment and understand the problem they are trying to solve in order to empower subordinates to exercise mission command.
"We have to sit down as leaders and visualize how it is we want to operate -- how we want to fight -- whether it's a campaign or a short-duration operation," Abrams said.
This process helps to form mission orders and the commander's intent and is essential for information dissemination.
"That's a commander's verbalization of what he or she wants to get done," said Abrams. "That description actually should be the key to empower subordinates to exercise disciplined initiative."
He continued to say leaders must be experts in their crafts and must expand their knowledge base outside of their assigned branches.
"We have to establish a body of expertise in all of those cross-domain capabilities," Abrams said. "We're going to have to operate over diverse areas."
In order to operate effectively across these areas and domains, Abrams said it is imperative leaders and their subordinates maintain effective communication and trust.
"We're going to be able to conduct cross-domain maneuver only at the speed of trust," Abrams said. "From individual Soldier, to squad, to platoon, to individual company and all of the way up, we're going to fight and win in that environment only at the speed of the trust that we have in our organizations."
He concluded his presentation by re-emphasizing the importance of empowering subordinate units and their leaders with getting their Soldiers ready and equipped for future battles.
"In the Cold War, the way we were organized, the leader of that symphony was division commanders," Abrams said. "In multi-domain battle, cross-domain maneuver, it's company commanders in some cases, and battalion commanders and brigade commanders always.
"It requires expertise, and we all have to be committed to it," continued Abrams. "We are not going to have six to eight months to get ready. We need to be ready now."