Tactical Leader is a community of practice for military professionals interested in the study and practice of war at the tactical level.

A Call for Mastery in the Tactical Level of War

A Call for Mastery in the Tactical Level of War

My experiences during nearly four years at the National Training Center, in both the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and as an Observer Controller/Trainer, have heightened the sense of urgency that I feel in regards to pursuing my own self-development and training. I have come to realize the many aspects of combined arms maneuver to which I need to devote more study and practice to truly master my craft.

I am not alone. The extent to which many tactical leaders experience failure during rotation at the NTC is deeply unsettling. It is with this mindset that I read (then) LTC John Rosenberger’s ‘The Burden Our Soldiers Bear: Observations of a Senior Trainer' in a 1995 CTC Quarterly Bulletin.

The issues that US Army brigades experienced in 1995 are much the same today. The example COL Rosenberger provides of a typical brigade-level attack or defense could very well have been written today with unnerving accuracy. After fifteen years of fighting in a COIN environment, our ability to conduct combined arms maneuver at the Battalion- and Brigade-level remains unimproved from 1995. On the reason for brigades’ shortcomings in 1995, Rosenberger asserts “We, the officer corps, particularly battalion and brigade commanders and staff officers, are incompetent. We do not have the skills and ability to synchronize and apply the capabilities of the combined arms team at the right time and place to achieve the outcomes we expect.” Many would assert that this damning statement is valid today, though the reader is encouraged to make his/her own conclusions.

To win in combat, we must master the science of warfighting. We cannot accept anything less of ourselves and our tactical leaders. Read COL Rosenberger’s observations and use them as a call to arms against those forces in the institutional, operational, and self-development domains that would leave us anything less than experts in our craft!

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you mastered the science of warfighting at the tactical level? What are the gaps in your development and what is your plan of attack to bridge them to prepare you for combat?
  2. Have the you and the members of your team mastered the individual- and collective-tasks necessary to successfully synchronize all elements of combat power at the right place and time on the battlefield? What is your team's training plan to achieve mastery of the science of warfighting?
Mission Command and Detailed Command: It's Not a Zero-Sum Game

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