Jamie Schwandt suggests that it is the structured nature of MDMP which prevents the modern US military from exploiting the ambiguity that can be found on the battlefield. He feels that the rigidity of the process, and the detailed orders that it produces, limit the ability of commanders to make quick decisions and maintain the initiative. He compares it unfavourably with the OODA loop process, and uses several historical examples to defend his position.
The Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) has always been a fun dog to kick. MDMP can be a laborious process, filled with intricate details, and intense work packed into short spans of time. New staff officers and even experienced commanders bemoan the easy ability to get lost in the details of creating an order before a good order is even created. With all the challenges of the MDMP process, the question must be asked: Is MDMP even worth the trouble?
Maj. Jamie Schwandt’s recent article “The Military Decision-Making Process Is An Inflexible Mess. Here’s How To Fix It” advocates abandoning the Army’s current planning process, but provides no actual alternative. When he does attempt to interject concepts, he advocates a dangerous disregard for detail, coordination, and understanding planning. His examples do nothing to support his point and in some cases call into question his understanding of operational planning. He takes us on a tour of successful World War II commanders, as proofs that MDMP is not viable, and finally settles on the magic of the OODA loop.
Skilled leaders have discovered ways throughout history to take advantage of ambiguity. And it can counter the overdoses of established measures we use in military planning, by which I mean the Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP).