Accession Number:



Averse to Initiative: Risk Management's Effect on Mission Command

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,05 Jul 2016,25 May 2017

Corporate Author:

US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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Risk aversion and micromanagement are perceived inhibitors to full adoption of mission command. They stand opposite to two of mission commands guiding principles exercise disciplined initiative and accept prudent risk. Two decades of commentary and research indicate Army culture as the root of these issues. Considering the amount of similar dialogue and because this dialogue has spanned decades, the question arises whether something besides cultural issues is affecting mission command. This analysis seeks to answer the question, does risk management produce unintended consequences on mission command Army doctrine and regulation is compared with decision making theory to determine whether Army risk management produces risk averse and micromanaging behavior. Doctrinal review explores risk management application and interaction with mission command and operations doctrine. Specifically, it explores opportunity and uncertainty concepts associated with risk and common to all publications to see if inconsistency in application produces micromanaging and risk averse behaviors. Decision making theory heuristics offer baselines to compare Army doctrine and regulation against. This comparison provides alternative views to risk management, and explains how inconsistency in Army risk application inhibits mission command. This analysis shows risk management regulation and doctrine prescribe hierarchical-based decision making inherently counter to disciplined initiative, and utilize a risk-averse approach to decisions. Decision making theory heuristics support these findings.

Subject Categories:

  • Safety Engineering

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