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The Need for Developing a Positive Leadership Culture for Bangladesh Army

The Need for Developing a Positive Leadership Culture for Bangladesh Army

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Published by Alam Tareque
The future war would be very complex which is likely to begin at short notice. The type of war that Bangladesh Army is expected to be involved in is a “limited war in nature”. The limited war is of short duration and being fought at high tempo and intensity. It would involve lethal weapons thus requiring great dispersion across the engagement area. In future conflicts, at the very outset, advanced fighting forces would try to upset the chain of command of the enemy by disrupting communications. This may be achieved by the use of electro magnetic pulse, by employing conventional Special Forces or by using unconventional forces. The battlefield situation will be very fluid where psychological warfare coupled with the media would aim to propagate rumour to confuse commanders at all levels. The increased reach of integral firepower and surveillance resources including space-based systems will make the area of operation deeper and wider. There will be non-linear operations and threat from enemy special forces to rear areas which will necessitate earmarking of troops to provide security to lines of communication. All these will perforce and necessitate decentralisation of command and control as much as possible.
The future war would be very complex which is likely to begin at short notice. The type of war that Bangladesh Army is expected to be involved in is a “limited war in nature”. The limited war is of short duration and being fought at high tempo and intensity. It would involve lethal weapons thus requiring great dispersion across the engagement area. In future conflicts, at the very outset, advanced fighting forces would try to upset the chain of command of the enemy by disrupting communications. This may be achieved by the use of electro magnetic pulse, by employing conventional Special Forces or by using unconventional forces. The battlefield situation will be very fluid where psychological warfare coupled with the media would aim to propagate rumour to confuse commanders at all levels. The increased reach of integral firepower and surveillance resources including space-based systems will make the area of operation deeper and wider. There will be non-linear operations and threat from enemy special forces to rear areas which will necessitate earmarking of troops to provide security to lines of communication. All these will perforce and necessitate decentralisation of command and control as much as possible.

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Published by: Alam Tareque on Oct 12, 2012
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THE NEED FOR DEVELOPING A POSITIVE LEADERSHIP CULTURE FORBANGLADESH ARMY
Major Mohammad Alam Tareque, psc, E Bengal 
“A favourable situation will never be exploited if commanders wait for orders. The highest commander and the youngest soldier must be conscious of the fact that omission and inactivity are worse than resorting to the wrong expedient".- Gary Klein
Introduction
1. The future war would be very complex which is likely to begin at short notice. The type of war that Bangladesh Army is expected to be involved in is a “limited war in nature”.
1
 The limitedwar is of short duration and being fought at high tempo and intensity. It would involve lethalweapons thus requiring great dispersion across the engagement area. In future conflicts, at thevery outset, advanced fighting forces would try to upset the chain of command of the enemy bydisrupting communications. This may be achieved by the use of electro magnetic pulse, byemploying conventional Special Forces or by using unconventional forces. The battlefieldsituation will be very fluid where psychological warfare coupled with the media would aim topropagate rumour to confuse commanders at all levels. The increased reach of integralfirepower and surveillance resources including space-based systems will make the area of operation deeper and wider. There will be non-linear operations and threat from enemy specialforces to rear areas which will necessitate earmarking of troops to provide security to lines of communication. All these will perforce and necessitate decentralisation of command and controlas much as possible.2.Our present doctrine is: “To blend the conventional with the unconventional warfare fromthe very beginning of the break out of the hostilities”.
2
According to our present doctrine, theUnconventional Force commander will receive mission type orders from the overall commander.The Unconventional Force will also require breaking up in small groups. Junior leaders will haveto lead the Unconventional Force independently and in isolation. The Unconventional Forcecommander will be responsible for planning, execution, and improvisation to achieve themission.
3
In the perspective of future conflict, considering these above mentioned attributes of our new doctrine, it is obvious that any sub unit level commander has to adapt his unit to fastmoving fluid situations. Employing the sub unit or a unit is much easier under the instructionsfrom higher headquarters but what will happen when the communication is lost and the sub unitcommanders (say lieutenants and captains) need to act without detailed orders from superiors?3.“Command is based on task and situation. The task lays down the aims to be achieved,which the commander charged with achieving it must keep in the forefront of his mind. Task andsituation give rise to the mission. The mission must be a clearly defined aim to be pursued with allone's powers[...] The commander must leave his subordinates’ freedom of action, to the extent thatdoing so does not imperil his intention.”
4
The quoted statement summarises what a commander 
1
Operations of War - Volume One, GSTP 0032 
, Army Headquarters, General Staff Branch, Military TrainingDirectorate, April 2006, p 1-4.
2
Ibid.
3
Ibid, pp 32-33.
4
Richard E. Simpkin,
Race to the Swift: Thoughts on Twenty-First Century Warfare
, Brassey's Defence Publishers,London, 1985, p 228.
1
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must do in case of not receiving any further instructions from superior as a result of lostcommunication. GSTP 0032 states further: “he (commander) must not go into such details that theinitiative of the subordinates is curbed. The answer is Auftragstaktik.”
5
Thus, this specifies thenecessity of adopting Mission Tactics. The term Mission Tactics has been derived from the Germanterm “Auftragstaktik” (German word ‘Auftrag’ means task/mission and ‘taktik’ is tactics). This termdefines the essence of mission oriented tactics: “the commander only tells subordinates what tasksto accomplish, but not how to accomplish.”
6
Therefore, adopting this approach requires a deliberatetraining and a command climate based on mutual trust. If Bangladesh Army is to adopt MissionTactics then it needs to generate a new positive leadership culture vis a vis a culture of initiative,hence we must begin by creating the right frame of mind in our troops and officers. The question is“are we preparing for that?”4.The paper will discuss and examine the need for developing a leadership culture of initiative for Bangladesh Army with a view to adopting the Mission Tactics. I would, therefore,explore than define the significance of leadership based on initiative for adopting MissionTactics and relate it to the perspective of Bangladesh Army. In doing so, First, I will present theconcept of Mission Tactics and then I will list down the constraints of the Bangladesh Army’sLeadership that need to be scored to cope with the demand of Mission Tactics. Second, I wouldpropose how we can inculcate a positive leadership culture based on initiative to overcomethose constraints and facilitate adopting the Mission Tactics concept for Bangladesh Army. Myintent in writing this essay is to stir debate on this important issue. Frankly, I do not have all theanswers, just a number of questions for those of us in Bangladesh Army to grapple with. If thispaper causes other officers to think about our lack of a positive leadership culture then I wouldthink myself successful.
Aim
5.The aim of this paper is to analyse the need for developing a positive leadership culturebased on initiative for Bangladesh Army with a view to adopting Mission Tactics.
Scope
6.The paper will only discuss the mission tactics i.e. tactics carried out with missionoriented command and control and to adopt this approach why we need to develop a positiveleadership culture based on initiative. We believe that the adoption of Mission Tactics is alreadysettled in GSTP 0032 therefore, the debate whether or not the Mission Tactics is relevant for Bangladesh Army is beyond the scope of this paper.
The Concept of Mission Tactics
7.The term Mission Tactics, which is developed from German term “Auftragstaktik; is alsoadopted by advanced armies of the USA, the UK, and Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).“Auftragstaktik” was officially incorporated in German “Warmest” manual in 1888 though itsorigin can be traced back to “Prussian Military Reforms” that began in 1808.
7
Out of necessity,the Prussian Army studied the problem to rectify their acknowledged deficiencies in decision-making at the lower echelons. The Prussians then commissioned the Drill Regulations of theInfantry (1888). It stipulated that commanders should give subordinates general directions of what were to be done allowing them freedom to determine how to do it. That was the start of allowing decision making at the lower levels in the Army. It encouraged commanders to be
5
GSTP 0032 
, Op Cit, p 5-2.
6
John T Nelsen II,
 Auftragstaktik: A case for Decentralized Combat Leadership, The Challenge of Military Leadership
,p 29.
7
H W Koch,
 A History of Prussia
, pp 180-187.
2
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"thinking leaders" who can make tactical judgments on their own and who would also be lesslikely to "freeze up" when faced with new situations without formal instructions. This tactics waspracticed and advocated by two most successful commanders of German Army: Guderian andRommel. The German Army regulations describe “Auftragstaktik” as a command and controlprocedure within which the subordinate is given extensive latitude, within the framework of theintention of the individual giving the order, in carrying out his mission. The missions are toinclude only those restraints which are indispensable for being able to interact with others, and itmust be possible to accomplish them by making use of the subordinate's forces, resources, andthe authority delegated to him. Mission oriented command and control requires uniformity in theway of thinking, sound judgment and initiative, as well as responsible actions at all levels.
8
8.One must be curious to know why this term “Auftragstaktikis adopted as MissionTactics/Directive Control by armies like the USA, the UK, and the IDF despite the fact thatGermans lost World War II. One of the reasons may be that the combination of ‘Auftragstaktik’and ‘Blitzkrieg’ let the Germans win many battles fought being outnumbered. For the IDF thereason is: “At the primary or individual level there are other factors that provide IDF soldiers withhigh levels of morale and combat motivation. These are, “for each soldier, a goal, a role, and areason for self-confidence.”
9
“Indeed, the IDF’s traditional emphasis on Mission Tactics givessubordinates right down the chain of command the greatest possible freedom of action.”
TheIDF practiced successfully this approach of Mission Tactics in two of the Arab-Israeli lightningwars, in 1956 and 1967. In Mission Tactics, the military commanders give its subordinateleaders a clearly defined goal (the mission) and the forces need to accomplish that goal with atime frame within which the goal must be reached. The subordinate leader then implements theorder independently. The subordinate leader is given, to a large extent, initiative and a freedom,which enables flexibility in execution. Mission Tactics frees higher leadership from tacticaldetails. Thus, the word is something of a misnomer. It is not a tactic per se (and certainly notlimited to the tactical level). It is more of a method of leadership. So far as the leader character is concerned, initiative in a leader flows from his willingness to step forward, takes charge of asituation and acts both promptly and completely on his own authority, if necessary.
Mission Tactics, Its Components and the Role of Leadership
9.Mission Tactics is a decentralised command and leadership philosophy that demandsdecisions and action at the lowest level of command where there is an intimate knowledge of the situation and the commander's intention from the beginning of an operation. The missionorder is merely a technique that is used to implement and execute mission oriented command.Mission oriented command is based on a belief in the ability of an individual's creative action tosolve a problem without taking recourse to higher authority; the mission order is only the smallcomponent of Mission Tactics that we see in the field. But there are other components of Mission Tactics listed as following:a.Mutual trust among leaders based on each leader's intimate personal knowledge of thecapabilities of the others.b.Training and organisation in everything the army does to reinforce the primacy of the judgment of the man on the scene (decentralisation).
8
The German Army's Mission Oriented Command and Control,
 Armor, 90
th
Edition, January-February 1981, p 12.
9
Frederick J. Manning,
Morale, Cohesion and Esprit de Corps
, Handbook of Military Psychology, ed. Reuven Gal andDavid A. Mangelsdorff, Chichester, England, John Wiley & Sons, 1991, pp 453-454.
10
Richard E. Simpkin
,
 
Concept of “Directive Control” or “Mission-oriented Control”, Command from the Bottom
,Infantry, March-April 1985.
3
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