Military Review English Edition July-August 2014 | Page 16

direction by the commander using mission orders to enable disciplined initiative within the commander’s intent to empower agile and adaptive leaders in the conduct of unified land operations.”4 Strategic understanding can underpin the exercise of mission command yet need not be limited by it. Mission command is constrained by the term mission. Missions, for the most part, are designed to support war efforts. Thinking about how one’s mission fits into a war is not just helpful; it is necessary. War is about much more than the tactical fight. This essay will demonstrate that all Army leaders—including junior officers—must develop their strategic understanding. It will describe how to implement a strategic studies education program for junior officers that is consistent with the Army’s strategic landpower concept. The Need for Strategic Understanding The security environment is characterized by exponential growth in digital capabilities and capacity. Mobile phones are prevalent on battlefields across the globe. The powerful communications reach and embedded cameras in cellular phones have enabled a proliferation of civilian journalists and novice war correspondents. The numbers are staggering: in a New York Times editorial, Pico Iyer notes, “10 percent of all the pictures ever taken as of the end of 2011 were taken in 2011.”5 Steven Metz of the U.S. Army War College writes that wars are now “live cast,” and “made available to a global audience in real or near real time.”6 Thus it appears that landpower is headed toward the same level of scrutiny that instant replay provides to professional sports. Every war fought on land will be on display, subjecting junior officers to greater examination than their predecessors. British General Sir Rupert Smith described this new paradigm as “war amongst the people.”7 In this context, the U.S. Army contributes to shaping the security environment by regionally aligning forces. Regionally aligned forces are units assigned or allocated to combatant commands or those prepared for regional missions.8 Tactical units are to develop sustained relationships with geographical combatant commands, enabling greater cultural specialization. For example, an article in Parameters by Kimberly 14 Field, James