"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.One must be curious to know why this term “Auftragstaktik” is 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.”
“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).
The German Army's Mission Oriented Command and Control,
Edition, January-February 1981, p 12.
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.
Richard E. Simpkin
Concept of “Directive Control” or “Mission-oriented Control”, Command from the Bottom
,Infantry, March-April 1985.