Many armies fail because they put all their emphasis into creating a plan that becomes useless ten minutes into the battle."
Colonel Kolditz says, "Over time we've come to understand more and more about what makes people successful in complex operations." He believes that plans are useful, in the sense that they are proof that planning has taken place. The planning process forces people to think through the right issues. But as for the plans themselves, Kolditz says, "They just don't work on the battlefield." So, in the 1980s the Army adapted its planning process, inventing a concept called Commander's Intent (CI).
CI is a crisp, plain-talk statement that appears at the top of every order, specifying the plan's goal, the desired end-state of an operation.
The CI never specifies so much detail that it risks being rendered obsolete by unpredictable events. 'You can lose the ability to execute the original plan, but you never lose the responsibility of executing the intent," says Kolditz.
Commander's Intent manages to align the behavior of soldiers at all levels without requiring play-by-play instructions from their leaders. When people know the desired destination, they're free to improvise, as needed, in arriving there.
I could spend a lot of time enumerating every specific task, but as soon as people know what the intent is they begin generating their own solutions."
- "Schwerpunkt (II)"
- "Auftragstaktik" ("Auftragstaktik encourages commanders to exhibit initiative, flexibility and improvisation while in command. In what may be seen as surprising Auftragstaktik empowers commanders to disobey orders and revise their effect as long as the intent of the commander is maintained.")
- "Parte I - os alicerces da guerra relâmpago (Blitzkrieg)"
These leaders developed a military cultural norm that supported and expected decisive action by subordinates in the face of uncertainty or ambiguity.
of the operation and must be understood two levels below the level of the issuing commander. It must clearly state the purpose of the mission. It is the single unifying focus for all subordinate elements. It is not a summary of the concept of the operation.
Its purpose is to focus subordinates on what has to be accomplished in order to achieve success, even when the plan and concept no longer apply, and to discipline their efforts toward that end."