Command and Control of Joint Air Operations through Mission Command

  • Lieutenant Colonel Trent R. Carpenter

In order to effectively command and control (C2) joint air operations in a contested and degraded environment, the concept and principles of mission command must be instilled into the U.S. Air Force and joint C2 culture. To do this, the operational and tactical level commanders must build a vital foundation of trust. Operational level commanders must create a shared understanding of campaign objectives and accordingly provide well-defined, clear intent which guides tactical level commanders in exercising disciplined and educated initiative. Furthermore, the use of mission type orders will facilitate decentralized execution and initiative in conjunction with assumption and acceptance of prudent risk. It is also critical to develop and employ an effective C2 architecture to lead joint air operations through mission command. However, it is even more critical for commanders to develop and employ a philosophy that enables a vital culture of trust, without which, mission command and effective joint air operations cannot succeed.