Quote Originally Posted by 82redleg View Post
As I read that paragraph (and I fully admit to reading the snippet posted here and not going back to the manual), I understand it to mean that, if a commander is assigned an AO, and decides not to further assign responsibilities for portions of that AO to a subordinate, he/she retains responsibility for all the coordination required in controlling that AO (clearing fires, tracking movement, etc).
However, my belief -- and fear -- is that some (that 10-20%...) will latch onto the words "Further, commanders must control all parts of their area of operations not assigned to subordinates..." and overdo it. Some will take it to mean they must literally control the entire area by occupation. Others will be excessive in their exercise of control authority by insisting on excessive coordination or adherence to their restrictions and tactical direction. I have it on good authority that is occurring and that some are being quite rigorous in their exercise of 'control' (that wording makes me a master of political correctness... ).

'Control' the verb is overly loved by too many in the US Army -- it leads to micromangement, reluctance or even refusal to delegate and / or to trust subordinates and increases the societal tendency toward risk aversion. I do not question the necessity for use of the word but know that overuse of the word and the concept can lead to the inadvertant stifling of initiative and innovation. I'm firmly convinced that its employment in doctrine should minimal and quite specific.

I fully realize that no doctrinal pub can account for all possibilities for misuse but I do strongly believe two things in this regard:

- The proliferation of terms, be they shorthand, slang or whatever should be avoided as such terms have a way of making their way into publications, largely written by Snowbirds, Blackbirds and civilian writers who hear but do not always understand the context. This proven tendency can create confusion and can among other things provide the unwary latitude for unwise directives and measures.

- The current trend toward ever more wordy manuals can also lead to such confusion as the critical points often become physically separated and lose impact.

I know there's little hope in educating the 10% -- my concern is to keep it at that level or lower if possible instead of allowing, even encouraging, it to hit the 20% level.

I'm also concerned that while adaptation to the current fight is certainly necessary, such adaptation excessively pursued can lead to blinders for other fights in other times and places against far different opponents. I saw many bad habits acquired by the US Army (and Marines) in Viet Nam. Some -- too many -- of those one war peculiar and undesirable traits are still around. My hope is that the potential for even worse habits from the current wars not get embedded to our future detriment.