Importance Of Mission Command: Accountability, Intent

1593 (4 pages)
Download for Free
Watch out! This text is available online and is used for guidance and inspiration
Download PDF


In this case study I realized that Operation Anaconda although successful could have turned out very differently if not for the grit of these Soldiers. This brings us to the six principles of Army Mission paper, I will discuss how the implementation of these variables could have not only improved planning but also reduce confusion during this critical mission. ADP 6-0 (Army, 2019) defines mission command as “the exercise of authority and direction by the commander using mission orders to enable disciplined initiative within the commander’s intent to empower agile and adaptive leaders in the conduct of unified land operations.” These six principles when implemented during the military planning phase, can help specify what the higher command’s intent is while enabling leaders the flexibility to execute and adjust in real time. This shows mutual trust throughout all levels of leadership while allowing everyone to execute the mission ethically and the best way they see fit. This case study proves the importance of mission command and that no one principle is more important than another.

Importance of Mission Command: The Six Principles

The first step of principle of Mission Command is, build a cohesive team through mutual trust. This was without a doubt overlooked by the parties involved with planning. That lack of trusts nearly jeopardized the operation when it mattered. I understand trust needing to be earned early on in this conflict, but not everyone was initially on board especially with Afghan forces tendency to betray United States forces or reveal plans to the enemy. How could this trust be gained? In our planning phases, we all trust our counterparts within our units to do their part of their job. The battle plan could have been revealed in a very basic way, one that would show the Afghan forces that we trust them and shows that they have a part. This part again would be planned out and shown as very small but inclusive. The construction of not just trust but mutual trust is paramount to the success of a mission. Mission command defines mutual trust as a shared confidence among commanders, subordinates, and partners. It was clear that this was not present during this operation due to the emotional ties of U.S. forces to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Building cohesive teams is something we as leaders at all levels have experienced or been in charge of conducting. The only way we as a force can build this relationship with our coalition counterparts is to put forth the effort in everyday actions. These actions have to be more than the normal gestures of good intent that we use to win the hearts and minds of the surrounding populace. Commanders utilize mutual trust and collaboration to share successful experiences through training and also to establish human connections while creating a means to maintain a level of understanding and purpose.

The next principle in Mission Command would be to create a shared understanding. This could be that very small part I just mentioned, it may seem very large to them but on the grand scheme of things is very minute within our desired outcome of Operation Anaconda. This is without a doubt using deception to a certain degree but U.S. military lives are at stake and this is to protect our greatest assets on the ground, our Soldiers. This is one of those make the decision now and ask for forgiveness after the fact and that seems like a digestible outcome when those lives saved are Americans. According to ADP 6.0 (Army, 2019), the second principle of mission command is to make sure everyone knows their part, how to play it, and work to accomplish their goal again did not happen during this mission execution. The way the battle plan could have worked by focusing on the why certain things were happening instead of the, who, what, when, and where.

We will write a unique paper on this topic for you!
Place Order

*No hidden charges

The third guiding principle of mission command is “provide a clear commander’s intent”. There were multiple points during this case study that pointed out how confused everyone was. It was either confusion about personnel, confusion about start date of the mission, confusion about how many enemy troops in the area and this was very alarming to me. The battlefield is very asymmetrical and always changing but the inconsistency proved that there were too many chefs in the kitchen at once. There was no communication of who controlled what, when and where which lead to a discrepancy in accountability of usable assets. There was once a German Officer that states (Lacey, 2003), “The reason the American Army does so well in war is because war is chaos and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.” This mission was successful but was not very promising in the initial contact, this means the commander’s intent was not concise and to the point. This also boils down to the experience and rehearsal of the battle plan, if there are inexperienced personnel involved, more details may be needed to execute tasks with efficiency. Operation Anaconda shows there was a lack of basis for symmetry throughout these specific unified action partners. The lack of a well-crafted commander’s intent causes confusion that left to chance the operation rather than clarity throughout all coalitions involved.

Exercise disciplined initiative is defined by the Army mission command as where the rubber meets the road. This is where you o t to witness all of the work from the previous principle take action; this is where subordinate personnel or units will display the confidence of knowing. It is proven when Soldiers are given a task, with clear intent, and incentive upon the tasks conclusion discipline and initiative shine bright within them. If the planning group charged with coordinating movement within the U.S. and Afghan camps with clear and concise intent the operation would have been more efficiently executed. The operation should have been briefed with an overview and the commander should’ve left it up to personnel on the ground to improvise as they saw fit due to the uncertainty of ground intelligence. The use of fragmentary orders (FRAGOs), warning orders (WARNOs), and operation orders (OPORDs) is very important because these try to relay the most up to date information for the sake of the personnel carrying out directed tasks. During Operation Anaconda, even if it was repetitive information the types or orders should have continued to be published due to the uncertainty of the situation on the ground during certain points of the planning phase. Having the individual teams in place for that long was ridiculous without the proper Intel, this could have been avoided if that commander would have waited for the most updated information and the losses could’ve have been way less on the coalition forces. This mission’s results could’ve turned out way differently if disciplined initiative was conducted. If leaders on the ground, took appropriate action in the absence of orders when unforeseen opportunities presented themselves this operations success percentage would be higher.

This miscue leads us to the final principle of Army mission command, accepting prudent risk. Accepting risk is something that is a constant in this profession of the United States Armed Forces, and they would all be in vain if we did not learn from them. The lessons learned from this operation were inaccurate estimates of enemy combatants, lack of full capability due to no artillery support and ground equipment suitable for that type of terrain, divisions deployed without proper Tactical Air Control Parties (TACP) support, the OPORD lacked information on the involvement of Close Air Support (CAS) and airlift support. These are just a few of the things that could have been prevented and there even could have been a full out delay of the D-Day instead of letting the element proceed to the staging site ahead of ground support. Every mission has its risks and after reading this case study all leaders involved seem to have rushed their specific areas of function. I understand that time was of the essence but during the planning process did the planners account for possible inconsistency with intelligence gathered, account for possible weather challenges, availability of supporting assets. The Soldiers on ground did a wonderful job of adapting when it counted but we have to ask the question did we truly achieve the intended desired outcome or just settled for success in a chaotic situation that we actually were unprepared for?


Overall, there is a purpose on why the six principles of mission command were established. Leaders must understand the importance of these guiding principles to become successful in a complex battlefield as these will eliminate ambiguity during the planning and execution phase. As FM 7-0 states, “If mission command is not practice in training, leaders will not use it in operations” (Army U. S., 2016). Practicing these principles mission will tremendously help the Leaders overcome challenges in their mission. Although both the Army and Joint doctrine have contrasting views of Mission Command, these principles could have been applied for the sake of clarity. Operation Anaconda could have gone way better if there was more information to and delegation was afforded to the subordinate commands. The lessons learned pretty much screams the old saying, “it is better to have the things you do not need than to need the things you do not have, “ and even though we were successful in accomplishing the intended mission the road to success could have been way easier than the one taken. Mission command works when the six basic principles are followed properly.          

You can receive your plagiarism free paper paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
Importance Of Mission Command: Accountability, Intent. (2021, October 26). WritingBros. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from
“Importance Of Mission Command: Accountability, Intent.” WritingBros, 26 Oct. 2021,
Importance Of Mission Command: Accountability, Intent. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 Dec. 2021].
Importance Of Mission Command: Accountability, Intent [Internet]. WritingBros. 2021 Oct 26 [cited 2021 Dec 1]. Available from:
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges