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Command

Definition In military operations, the term “Command” refers to the authority that a commander lawfully exercises over subordinates by virtue of rank or assignment. This authority involves the responsibility for effectively using available resources and for planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling military forces to accomplish assigned missions. It also includes responsibility for health, welfare, […]

Definition

In military operations, the term “Command” refers to the authority that a commander lawfully exercises over subordinates by virtue of rank or assignment. This authority involves the responsibility for effectively using available resources and for planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling military forces to accomplish assigned missions. It also includes responsibility for health, welfare, morale, and discipline of assigned personnel.

Key Takeaways

  1. Command in military operations primarily refers to the exercise of authority by a military commander over assigned forces to accomplish a mission. This authority is derived from law or lawful military assignment.
  2. The essence of command lies in the commander’s decision making process, integrating information and administering various Military Decision Making Processes (MDMP), and effectively leading their troops to carry out the mission at hand.
  3. Command includes key components like the commander, staff, subordinate and supporting commanders, and other troops; all of whom coordinate to ensure information flows correctly and operations run smoothly and are planned and executed effectively.

Importance

Command is a critical term in military operations for several reasons. It primarily denotes the authority that a leader has over a military unit, making it an indispensable factor in the chain of command.

In essence, command is about decision-making, direction, and control; it determines who has the ultimate responsibility to formulate strategic plans, give orders, manage resources, and ensure the unit’s readiness and discipline. Command is not merely about authority; it also implies accountability.

Military leaders at different levels of command have corresponding obligations to undertake. Thus, command is central to maintaining an organized, efficient, and effective military force.

A clear command structure also provides a sense of order and stability, crucial during the chaotic nature of warfare.

Explanation

The term “Command” in military operations plays an instrumental role in orchestrating and coordinating activities in structured military environments. The purpose of command is to establish a control hierarchy, outlining who has the authority to give orders, who is responsible for executing these orders, and to ensure that all units are working in unison towards a shared objective. By establishing a chain of command, military operations can be planned and carried out with optimal precision, synergy, and responsiveness.

This command system is not just about giving and following orders, it’s also about making critical decisions under pressure, often in volatile and rapidly changing circumstances. Command also plays a significant role in disciplinary procedures within the military forces. It fosters an environment of discipline and respect, where each individual understands and appreciates their role within the larger operational context.

By clearly defining who is responsible for what, the command structure precisely designates accountability, ensuring that everyone is performing their assigned tasks efficiently and effectively. Additionally, the command chain is used for communication purposes, assuring that vital messages, decisions, and orders quickly reach their intended recipients without being misinterpreted or delayed. Thus, the command contributes immensely to the smooth functioning of the military, and the successful execution of its operations.

Examples of Command

Operation Neptune Spear: This is one of the most well-known military operations due to its result – the death of Osama bin Laden. The command for this operation was given by then US President Barack Obama to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Special Activities Division (SAD)/Naval Special Warfare Development Group. The command structure monitored the entire operation remotely via real-time video streaming from drones.

Operation Overlord: It was the codename for the Battle of Normandy during World War II. This operation was under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. It involved a massive airborne assault followed by an amphibious landing on the beaches of Normandy, France. The excellent command of this operation led to a successful and critical assault against Nazi-occupied Europe.

Operation Desert Storm: This was the combat phase of the Gulf War in the early 1990s. It was commanded by U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf. His command coordination with coalition forces resulted in a quick, decisive victory that expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The command was not only just about directing forces, but also involved coordinating international support, planning, logistics, and communications.

FAQs about Command

1. What does Command mean in military operations?

Command in military operations refers to the authority that a commander in the armed forces lawfully exercises over subordinates by virtue of rank or assignment. It includes the authority and responsibility for effectively using available resources and for planning the employment of, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling military forces for the accomplishment of assigned missions.

2. What are the different types of Command?

In the military, there are different types of command including, but not restricted to: Strategic Command, Operational Command, and Tactical Command. The type of command is often determined by a military officer’s rank and the scope of his or her duties and responsibilities.

3. Who can exercise military Command?

Military command can only be exercised by commissioned officers who have been assigned to command positions. This respects the principle of hierarchy and respects the formal chain of command within the military structure.

4. What responsibilities does a Commanding Officer bear?

A Commanding Officer is responsible for making key tactical decisions, maintaining the welfare and discipline of the troops under his or her command, and carrying out the missions assigned by higher authorities. They also have obligations to their superiors to report on the readiness, capabilities, and actions of their units.

5. What skills are important for exercising Command?

Important skills for exercising command include decision-making, leadership, strategy and tactics, communication, risk assessment and management, and the ability to inspire and motivate personnel. Additionally, a deep understanding of military doctrine and the capabilities of one’s forces and resources are crucial.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Military Hierarchy
  • Chain of Command
  • Post of Command
  • Command Authority
  • Unified Combatant Command

Sources for More Information

  • U.S. Department of Defense: This is the official homepage of the U.S. Department of Defense, which should provide you with authoritative information about military terms and operations.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica: This widely respected reference site often includes detailed entries about military terminology.
  • USA.GOV: As the U.S. government’s official web portal, this site can direct you to trusted resources about the military and its operations.
  • The Joint Chiefs of Staff: This is the homepage for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is composed of the highest-ranked officers in the U.S. military. They may provide detailed information about the command structure of the U.S. military.

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