Command and Control: US Army Staffs and the Operations Process
US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States
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The analysis of US First Army staff during World War II demonstrates how a staff effectively supports the commander in commanding and controlling large formations. Staffs and their organization have developed and adapted to the changes and growth in warfare over time. Since its beginnings, foreign thought, often French and Prussian, heavily influenced the US Armys doctrine of staff organization and operations. One can trace our modern staff organization to the lessons learned by the American Expeditionary Force during WWI. During the interwar period, the US Army captured these lessons in doctrine that the First Army used to overcome the challenges and friction it encountered while preparing and directing operations in the Western European Theater. First Army staff effectively assisted their subordinate commanders, staffs, and units and informed the many organizations and units outside their headquarters. Additionally, the staff officers showed a willingness to be adaptable and flexible by creating and modifying organizational structures to overcome challenges. Finally, this study highlights the importance of staff officers recording not just their final products, but also captures their actions in creating those orders and briefings for future study and analysis.