A Jumpmaster from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division counts paratroopers as they board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster on February 1, 2019 at Fort Bragg's Green Ramp. The paratroopers conducted a combat equipment static line airborne operation onto Fort Bragg's Normandy drop zone to maintain their proficiency and rehearse their roles during follow-on missions. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Taylor Hoganson)
Mission Command philosophy blends the art of command with the science of control. At least in theory. In practice, we do command and control under the guise of Mission Command. But perhaps we should consider an outside-the-box approach: the decentralized management philosophy known as Holacracy.
If at first inclined to scoff at stone-age ignorance, we should consider that the Army's implementation of Mission Command follows a similar pattern. The natives mistook the artifacts of "Cargo" from supporting its factors, processes, and systems just as the U.S. Army is mistaking mission orders and disciplined initiative as the tools of Mission Command rather than a changed Culture.
Consequently, Cargo Cultists provide an example of how not to implement change — one the Army should consider as it struggles to make Mission Command a reality.
To create an environment where this was feasible—where officers could use individual judgment and yet cooperatively further the overall objective — the Navy sought to strengthen the ability and effectiveness of officers but to do so within a standardized framework.
Modern militaries often claim that their command system is built around the principles of 'mission command', whereby a commander sets his subordinate a mission, explains his intent, and leaves the subordinate freedom to decide how to accomplish the task he has been set.
Everyone talks about how admirable mission command is. Seldom is heard a discouraging word about it. So I was surprised to see this thought, expressed by a former Air Force officer who now works at Amazon: