Initiative and Intent: Are We Headed in the Right Direction?
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This monograph examines tactical initiative and the types of information the commanders intent should provide to guide it. initiative became increasingly important beginning in the l8 Century as the dispersed, fast-paced nature of the modern battlefield forced commanders to decentralize their decision making. Concurrent with this trend toward decentralization, commanders began using a statement of intent and intentions to clarify their plan and provide direction for initiative. Historically, the doctrinal emphasis on use of the intent statement has varied in proportion to the prevailing thoughts on decentralized command and control. The current swing is toward decentralized operations. Yet, since the commanders intent regained prominence in U.S. Army doctrine in 1982, the content and utility of the intent have been the center of many debates. The utility of the commanders intent has always been to provide guiding information for initiative, However, all of the current debate on intent centers entirely on what information the intent should supply rather than on the information initiative demands. This monograph examines the issue from the demand side. Ultimately, it seeks to determine if the emerging doctrine on the commanders intent supplies the information demands of initiative. The monograph begins by developing the doctrinal and theoretical framework for initiative to establish the information needs of initiative. A discussion of terms, definitions, and other doctrinal concepts serve to clarity the type of initiative the intent guides. Toward this end, the monograph uses several hypothetical situations help to broadly illustrate the different circumstances requiring initiative and to determine the types of information necessary to guide initiative. Then, doctrinal and historical antecedents validate these categories of information.
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