Military Studies Essay

Pages: 6 (1731 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Military

Military Studies

As with any task that needs to be done, the person in control needs to have the appropriate tools to accomplish the task at hand. In military operations, the United States Armed Forces have taken this idea and applied it to military operations. In other words, the U.S. military has adopted a doctrine which allows commanders to possess, and use, the appropriate forces needed in order to accomplish a specific mission. This "Joint Forces Command," serves as the foundation of the United States' military philosophy and "the synergy that results from the integration and synchronization of Service components' capabilities under a single JFC (Joint Force Commander) maximizes the effectiveness and efficiency of the force." ("Joint Publication 3.0") in order to operate efficiently, Joint Forces need to perform a number of specific Joint Functions, or activities and capabilities which are vital to successfully performing an operation. Two of the more important Joint Functions are "command and control," and "intelligence," which help the Joint Forces Commander integrate, synchronize, and direct joint operations.

If joint functions are to be effective, they must work in conjunction with each other both supporting and aiding each other. Normally the Joint Forces Commander decides which joint functions to employ and how they will be used in conjunction with each other. "Command and Control," or C2, "encompasses the exercise of authority and direction by a commander over assigned and attached forces to accomplish the mission." ("Joint Publication 3.0") the JCF uses C2, which includes many different tasks, to direct the joint forces used in the operation. In accordance with C2, the JFC must establish and operate a joint forces HQ, organize all subordinate forces, plan and issue orders, establish appropriate command authorities, assign tasks and operational areas, prioritize and allocate resources, manage risk, assess progress, coordinate and control joint capabilities, synchronize and integrate joint operations, and finally to conduct any type of public affairs activities such as interviews and press conferences.

The "Command and Control" function is a necessary part of joint force operations as it gives the commander both the authority as well as ability to accomplish an operation. An effective commander is able to motivate and direct individuals and groups to accomplish a specific mission. Commanders also must possess the ability to control their forces in order "to compute requirements, allocate means, and integrate efforts [so that the commander may] acquire and apply means to support the mission and develop specific instructions…." ("Joint Publication 3.0") in other words, effective command and control gives the JFC the ability to put the right forces in the right place at the right time.

It is vitally important that a commander is aware of the operational environment at all times; this means having as much information about the situation as possible as fast as possible. This information is called intelligence and it includes the collection, processing, analysis, and distribution of information as well as counter-intelligence activities, or the stopping of the enemy from gathering information about you. Intelligence is an essential function for a commander because it provides information that is "integrated, evaluated, analyzed, and interpreted," in order to identify enemy positions, capabilities, as well as to decide "which forces to deploy, when, how, and where to deploy them, and how to employ them in a manner that accomplishes the mission." ("Joint Publication 3.0")

If a Joint Force Commander is to be effective and successfully complete a mission, they will need not only the authority and ability to call upon and employ the necessary forces, but the information necessary in order to know what forces to call upon and how best to employ them to complete the mission. C2, or "Command and Control" is a function which allows the JFC the authority and ability to employ forces in the most effective and efficient manner. It is a system which gives complete control of all forces to the JFC, with the added ability to assign duties and designate authority to accomplish those duties. But in order for a commander to effectively integrate the proper forces, synchronize their tasks, and direct joint operations they must have the proper information necessary to make those decisions. A JFC must have as much information about the enemy so that they may deploy the most effective forces at the most effective time. Intelligence and Command and Control are two important functions for a JFC in a Joint Force Operation.

Question #2

Because the nature of war entails a great deal of personnel fluidity, militaries need to have an organized operational structure in place in other words, because the individuals involved in warfare are constantly replaced, due to death and injury, there must be a basic structure in place that ensures replacements will follow the same fundamental decision making process. In the more than 200 years of its existence, the United States Army has developed a standardized planning and decision making model for conducting operations; called the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP). Unfortunately, the other branches of the service developed their own distinct model, independently of each other. For example the U.S. Navy's model, called the commander's estimate of the situation (CES), is much different from that of the Army or Marines. While they all share certain commonalities, their differences made it difficult to conduct joint operations efficiently and effectively. In the 21st century, the U.S. military has asserted that "We cannot win the ongoing war against asymmetric threats such as terrorism without fully synchronous joint operations." (Anderson, 2003, p. 11) Therefore, the Armed Forces of the United States have developed the Joint Operation Planning Process in order to have a system in place that can facilitate a structure for the planning and use of joint military forces under a single commander called the Joint Forces Commander (JFC).

The Joint Operation Planning Process (JOPP) is based upon the U.S. Army's Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) and the two are extremely similar. Both contain a seven step process by which a commander and staff should conduct the planning and execution of a military operation using military forces. The steps in both processes are: the receipt or initiation of the mission, a mission analysis, course of action (COA) development, course of action analysis, course of action comparison, course of action approval, and finally, orders production. But the MDMP had been developed in order to aid the decision making process of army commanders in a battlefield environment. This meant that the system was rigid and inflexible and has been described as a "…detailed, deliberate, sequential, and time-consuming process used when adequate planning time and sufficient staff support are available to thoroughly examine numerous friendly and enemy course of action (COAs)." ("FM 101-5") on the other hand, the JOPP is described as a "set of logical steps to examine a mission; develop, analyze, and compare COAs; select the best COA; and produce a plan or orders." ("Joint Publication 5-0")

While these definition may seem similar, the difference is in the intent. The MDMP was developed over decades in order to create a strict set of functions that a commander was trained to perform. The idea was that all commanders, no matter the individual, would use the same decision making process and do the same thing. The MDMP was developed to create conformity in the way commanders would act, to get them all to do the same thing in the same situation. In this way the Army could be ensured that their commanders would all perform the same task the same way and that there could be better control over the outcome. But in the modern world, military commanders need more flexibility, especially because of the necessity for joint force operations. The Army's MDMP, while a good start, was too constrictive and did not allow for an individual commander to use joint forces. It also restricted the number of options a commander had to initiate, plan, and execute a mission as the MDMP was limited to the Army's traditional equipment and forces. When the U.S. Military finally accepted the necessity of joint operations, the MDMP was simply too confining and restrictive for the forces of the other branches of the military. A new, more flexible operating procedure was required, one that allowed the individual commander to tailor the forces and operation to the situation they were facing.

Where the MDMP sought conformity, the JOPP allows for much more initiative and resourcefulness on the part of individual commanders. The JOPP also focuses much of its energy on the keeping up with the continually changing interactions between command levels rather than attempting to maintain unchanging interactions between those levels. But most importantly, the MDMP limited itself to only the Army and its forces while the JOPP is specifically designed to use all military forces as part of a joint effort. The Joint Operation Planning Process is best described as the rules for a team effort, a system by which all branches of the United States military can operate in conjunction with each… [END OF PREVIEW]

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