The Army doctrine publication ADP 6-0, Mission Command: Command and Control of Army Forces, provides guidance for how commanders and their staffs combine the art and science of command and control to understand situations, make decisions, direct actions, and lead forces toward mission accomplishment. ADP 6-0 describes the mission command philosophy and prescribes ways commanders can accomplish their missions in a unified land operations environment. Leaders at all levels must embrace these principles to build cohesive teams through mutual trust and support of the commander’s intent.
ADP 6-0 describes Army doctrine on command and control of army forces. Commanders, supported by their staffs, apply the art and science of command and control to understand situations, make decisions, direct actions, and lead their forces toward mission accomplishment. Military operations are inherently human endeavors characterized by violence and continuous adaptation by all participants. Successful execution requires Army forces to make and implement effective decisions faster than enemy forces.
The principles of mission command in ADP 6-0 prescribe how commanders can accomplish the mission at all echelons, from company/battery level to enterprise level. The same principles also prescribe the ways that leaders who are not commanders can lead effectively in mission command environments. Leaders at the echelon must understand well-defined strategic and operational objectives in priority order. This will enable them to use disciplined initiative in achieving higher objectives where appropriate. Additionally, leaders must accept the risk because immense responsibility is placed at their feet. ADP 6-0 addresses this by incorporating the concept of risk acceptance into the mission command approach.
What is ADP 6-0?
ADP 6-0 lays out the Army’s newest approach to command and control. It reintroduces the acronym ABCT into the military lexicon. It provides commanders and staff with a newfound appreciation for the role of their respective commands in accomplishing their missions. The latest edition also rekindles a much-needed spirit of cooperation. This publication is a must-read for anyone in the service of the Army. It is also a must-read for anyone with an interest in mission command and the Army’s burgeoning network modernization strategy. ADP 6-0 is available online at adp.com or via download at your local Army Publications Center. This document is accompanied by a series of supplementary publications on the subject. ADP 6.0 is not for the faint of heart but is an invaluable reference for any enlisted soldier looking to up his game and improve the quality of life for those around him.
The command and control of army forces is a key component of military operations. Successful execution requires effective decisions faster than enemy forces and involves continuous adaptation by all participants. This is an inherently human endeavor characterized by violence and continuous change. Therefore, leaders must be able to rely on their subordinates’ judgment, even when they are not fully informed about the situation. While commanders rely on mission orders to guide their subordinates’ decision-making and execution, they must also continuously assess the level of their subordinate leaders’ training, experience, and competence.
This may lead to a lack of trust between leaders and subordinates. It may also create a risk aversion among subordinate leaders, who believe they are incompetent to carry out their duties in high-risk environments. ADP 6-0 provides Army commanders and leaders with a broad overview of the command and control (C&C) function. It explains how commanders combine the art and science of C&C to understand situations, make decisions, direct actions, and lead their forces toward mission accomplishment. A well-designed C&C system can enhance the execution of Army missions, particularly when deployed on a global scale. It is imperative that leaders fully grasp the mission command principles at all echelons and practice them as they go about their business, from troop to staff assignments, in operations and garrison environments alike.
Despite the Army’s longstanding pursuit of C&C, a number of recent studies have indicated that C&C is not always a given, especially when it comes to executing military operations. For example, a lack of trust between subordinates and their leaders can hinder their ability to employ mission commands in the most successful ways possible. Additionally, a risk aversion engendered by bureaucracy can also stifle innovation. The Army has a lot of work to do to close this gap.