Infantry Drills

4-20: Mission Command

Previous: Section II: Planning Considerations

4-20. Stability tasks tend to be decentralized in nature, over extended distances. As such, Infantry unit activities will consist largely of independent small-unit operations conducted across an assigned area of operation. Units must conduct these operations with consistency, impartiality, and discipline to encourage cooperation from unified action partners for a cohesive effort.

4-21. Stability tasks, more so than offensive and defensive tasks, present a unique challenge. Where offense and defense typically focuses on the defeat of an enemy force, stability focuses on the people. In setting the tone for planning, the Infantry leader provides—

  • Understanding.
  • The intent and planning guidance.
  • Concept of operation.

4-22. The platoon leader must clearly understand mission, situation, commander’s intent and he must ensure his subordinate units understand as well. He must plan for continuous operations, and, as with offense and defense, planning and preparation time is often limited. The plan must facilitate adjustment based upon changes in the situation. Additional considerations and activities include:

  • Civil-military operations (CMO).
  • Civil affairs operations.
  • Military information support operations (MISO).
  • Rules of engagement. (Refer to chapter 1, section I of this publication for more information.)
  • Rules of interaction, which include:
    • Persuasion.
    • Negotiation.
    • Communication skills.
  • Task organization, which includes:
    • Augmentation. Required individual augmentees and augmentation cells to support force-tailoring requirements and personnel shortfalls. Augmentation supports coordination with the media, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, other multinational forces, and civil-military elements. Analyses of METT-TC drive augmentation.
    • Liaison. Task-organized small liaison teams to deal with situations that develop with the local population. Depending the situation requirements, unit ministry, engineers, MISO, civil affairs, counterintelligence, linguistics, and logistics personnel may be task-organized to make up these liaison teams. These teams can free up maneuver elements (may require security from platoon) and facilitate negotiation. Negotiation teams must have linguists and the personnel who have the authority to negotiate.
    • Operations with outside agencies. Includes other U.S. armed services or government agencies as well as international organizations (including nongovernmental organizations, coalition, and United Nation military forces or agencies). Coordination and integration of civilian and military activities must take place at every level. Coordinating centers such as the civil-military operations center are designed to accomplish this task. These operations centers should include representatives from as many agencies as required.
  • Media. Soldiers must be aware of current media reports from about the area and be willing to work with journalists in efforts to promote good relationship and combat false information. Involvement with media should be coordinated under public affairs guidance.

Next: 4-23: Importance of Understanding Culture

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad