By Lisa SimunaciNovember 18, 2019
Some of the best Army tactics include the most obvious tasks, a two-star general told students in the Intermediate-Level Education Course at the Command and General Staff College.
"These are no-brainers, but they are hard - and very few units or organizations get them all right," Maj. Gen. Todd Royar, the commander of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, told 55 captains and majors attending the course at the College's Redstone Arsenal satellite campus on Nov. 15.
Many of the students attending the four-month resident portion of the course were recently promoted to the rank of major and are transitioning to their new leadership positions.
"As field grade officers, everyone in the formation looks up to you," Royar said. "How you act can shape the rest of their careers."
Royar shared his top-10 list with the students:
1. Master your craft. "Know what you are talking about," Royar said, encouraging students to understand common terminology and use doctrinal terms correctly.
2. Train as you fight. Recognizing the shift from Counterinsurgency Operations to Multi-Domain Operations, Royar offered as an example, that officers practice alternate and contingency communications methods in garrison.
3. Practice makes perfect. "Repetition matters," Royar said. "We practice when we're cold, tired, hungry and wet. This is why we're so good at what we do."
4. The team you are on is more important than the team you lead. "Understanding what will help the higher headquarters achieve its mission will help you achieve yours."
5. Integrate early. "The earlier you reach out, the better off you will be."
6. Provide options. Royar told students to provide a range of options to expand the scope and intellectual thought to enable the best possible product.
7. Keep it simple. "Simple is good," Royar said. "If your plan is so intricate or complicated that only a few can figure it out, it will not survive."
8. Synchronize in time and space. Royar said the Army is designed to work together. "Leverage others' assets for maximum effect."
9. What is the decision point? Who makes the decision and when? "The decision can be right, but if the timing or sequence is wrong, it is too late and you can be overrun." Royar underscored the importance of the Military Decision-Making Process and recommended wargaming the process.
10. Whose plan is it? "It's the commander's plan. The commander already knows the plan. When you brief your boss' plan, talk to the subordinates so they understand it," he said.
"I have failed at every one of these at some time or another," Royar said. "But if you can do these things, you will be successful."
Royar's insights were well received and complemented the curriculum, said Clay Newton, the team leader for CGSC-Redstone Arsenal.
"We are focusing on Army tactics and [Royar's] background and perspective is very applicable," Newton said. "Our students are always interested in the deeper understanding provided by senior leaders."