Combined Arms Center launches new mission command doctrine

By Randi Stenson, MCCoE Public Affairs, and Ted Crisco, Combined Arms Doctrine DirectorateAugust 23, 2019

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Fort Leavenworth, Kan. -- The Combined Arms Center released its update to Army Doctrine Publication 6-0, Mission Command: Command and Control of Army Forces, as part of a comprehensive update to the Army's entire catalog of ADPs, August 8, 2019. ADP 6-0 is the Army's capstone publication for describing how leaders use mission command as their approach to command and control.

This revision represents an evolution of mission command doctrine, reflecting lessons learned since 2012. The use of the term mission command to describe the philosophy, the warfighting function, and the supporting information technology systems created unforeseen ambiguity. ADP 6-0 clarifies and simplifies the term mission command, while also reintroducing command and control to the doctrine lexicon.

"We listened to Soldiers and senior leaders who saw the need to emphasize the uniqueness of our approach to command and control," said Col. Rich Creed, director, Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate. "And we recognized that 'command and control' is still fundamental to the art and science of warfare."

The new ADP 6-0 defines command and control as "the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned and attached forces in the accomplishment of a mission." According to ADP 6-0, commanders, through command and control, provide purpose and direction to integrate all military activities towards a common goal --mission accomplishment. Further, the manual refines the definition of mission command to "the Army's approach to command and control that empowers subordinate decision making and decentralizes execution appropriate to the situation."

In addition to clarity, differentiating mission command from command and control allows leaders to focus on mission command in the context of the missions they execute. The use of "command and control" supports the Army's focus on large-scale combat operations by aligning the Army with joint and multinational partners, all of whom use the term command and control.

Other key revisions in ADP 6-0 include changing the mission command warfighting function to the C2 (command and control) warfighting function to align with joint and allied doctrine; changing mission command systems to C2 systems to align with the terminology in the Army's network modernization strategy; discussing the role of subordinates in mission command and training subordinates for mission command; simplifying the mission command principles while providing more descriptive context for each; and describing how commanders, supported by their staffs, employ command and control to make decisions, direct action, and lead forces.

Mission Command Center of Excellence Director Maj. Gen. Douglas Crissman noted that mission command is, and will remain, the Army's approach to command and control. "We should continue developing leaders to exercise mission command," he said. "The goal is always to empower subordinate decision making and foster decentralized execution. The new ADP 6-0 does a good job of explaining that process and should help leaders understand the concepts more fully."

Last year, in another decision based on feedback from the field, CAC directed that ADPs and Army Doctrine Reference Publications be combined, thereby reducing the overall number of doctrinal manuals. The information contained in what was previously the ADP now forms the basis of the introduction to the current manual. In October, the Army is slated to release updated versions of the full range of ADPs as a complete set. Updates include ADP 1, The Army; ADP 3-0, Operations; ADP 6-22, Leadership; and ADP 5-0, The Operations Process.

"The Army is a learning organization, and for our part at MCCoE, we are always evaluating our people, processes, and products to ensure we are providing the right support to leaders and Soldiers," said Crissman. "Bottom line, we will continue to evolve our doctrine, adapt leader development, and refine training requirements to address the challenges inherent in a complex operational environment."