The Decisive Leadership Advantage: Mission Command in a Multinational Environment

  • September 17, 2016
  • Colonel Sean N. Fisher

The purpose of this research project is to examine the challenges and opportunities inherent in the practice of mission command in a multinational environment. The research paper begins with an analysis of past and recent multinational operations to emphasize the relevance of mission command in this context. The paper then transitions to an examination of three of the six mission command principles; building cohesive teams through mutual trust, creating shared understanding, and accepting prudent risks. These three principles prove particularly challenging primarily due to disparities in training proficiency, combat capabilities, and importantly cultural differences among partner nations. In examining and analyzing these challenges, this research paper advocates the importance of cross-cultural competence, places emphasis on the need to focus on capabilities as opposed to limitations among partners and allies, and addresses the importance of common doctrinal language. Addressing these three important factors through education, experience, and training better prepares leaders to apply mission command during multinational operations.