A Commander’s Philosophy for Success


The attainment of a high state combat readiness within the company and the promotion of a command climate where equal opportunity is exercised among soldiers usually constitute a commander’s ultimate goals. The leader, individual soldier and unit attributes are among the essential parts to be accomplished in any mission prior to the achievement of success. The command philosophy serves as a commander’s command intent which is designed to ensure that all company members understand the commander’s expectation of both company leaders and soldiers. Furthermore, the command philosophy outlines a commander’s expectations as to how trainings are to be conducted, how missions are to be executed and how normal daily company operations are to be performed.

As for the company mission of the 442nd Military Police Company for instance, its deployment shall support Army combat operations including New York State emergencies with respect to a stable method: the use of realistic, tough and battle-focused training towards the development of soldiers who are members of the cohesive and disciplined MP force.[1]

The Individual Soldier and Leader

Serving as the front liners of the cohesive unit, the individual soldier is always under the point of attack in any missions. The soldier’s quality is often determined by will, skill and morale. A soldier’s “will” is among the most significant qualities of a soldier; however, is often misunderstood.[2] Soldiers are expected to understand this concept and leaders to view and cultivate it as both individual and unit attribute. To ensure that one’s will is superior to one’s enemies, there are several attributes to be looked at: (1) the soldiers’ physical and mental toughness and (2) confidence as measured by one’s endurance and capacity to overcome physical and mental challenges of battle-focused training.[3] Such preparations shall ensure that individuals and the collective unit rise above and dominate its enemies in the battle field and accomplish the “seemingly” impossible during State and National emergencies.

Skill is measured by a soldier’s tactical and technical proficiency.[4] This includes one’s ability to shoot, move and communicate. Furthermore, skills such as land-navigation, the ability to clearly communicate with peers, subordinates and superiors, the ability to maneuver units and weapons marksmanship are also included. Both leaders and soldiers should master these skills and be familiarized with the skills of others within the unit. Moreover, a leader is tasked to teach soldiers required skills for duty positional performance and to provide them with training opportunities needed to perfect these skills.

Morale can be best measured by soldiers’ motivation. Motivation is based on the soldier’s belief with respect to the cause he is fighting for as well as his confidence, respect and trust towards his fellow soldiers, leaders and unit as a whole.[5] In order to achieve these, leaders must: (1) clearly communicate (purpose and sense of MP, U.S. Army and National Guard historical importance to the nation) (2) develop confidence towards success in the accomplishment of challenging training and (3) demonstrate trust and respect worthiness by acting consistently with respect to standards, values and professionalism of Officer corps and NCO.

The Unit

The attainment of over-all success by a company relies on a strong unit acted upon by the individual soldier. A unit’s superiority over the other which often determines the difference between failure and success can be best measured by the following: excellence, teamwork and discipline.[6] Soldiers and leaders must commit to the value of excellence in any standard operations. This includes high standard trainings which allow soldiers to excel at maximum opportunity. “Never settle for second best” implies the exertion of best efforts in any steps undertaken; that is, second place in combat always reflects defeat and worse, death of those entrusted with responsibility.[7] All undertakings may be approached from training to conducts during on and off operations and that leaders must ensure that everything is done in a timely manner.

Teamwork constitutes as the most pervasive element of a company’s culture.[8] It is the accountability of leaders to build cohesive teams. In return, soldiers must understand that the team’s overall performance defines success of units in combats and that their actions (both on and off duty) are reflected on the company as a whole. Along with this is the recognition of the soldiers’ team contribution which can be done in writing and by presenting individual commendations and awards which highlight soldiers’ service and actions towards success. This must also be presented as an over-all team performance during collective training.

The successful unit’s binding glue is discipline – one of the most valued traits as to it distinguishes an average unit from a superior one. The absence of discipline in both soldiers and units reflects unreliability. Discipline is defined as one’s ability to control actions and thoughts and one’s consistency to do the “appropriate” thing despite the consequence and cost.[9] Discipline can be achieved through: (1) clear standards communication to soldiers (2) ensuring adherence by all with respect to these standards and (3) penalty implementation to those who fail to adhere and maintain established standard. It is a part of the leaders’ responsibility to enforce standards of discipline especially to soldiers who do not possess required amount of self-discipline. Leaders must also ensure that military justice measures are carried out in an even and fair manner in cases of soldiers’ failure to follow established standards.

Leadership and Unit Spirit

The key to establishing a combat-ready unit is through effective and strong leadership at all command levels. Leadership bonds skilled warriors into a cohesive fighting force – one which is capable to deploy, fight and more importantly, win on a modern battleground.[10] Leaders should ensure that unit members are well-trained and possess requisite qualities which adhered to the “quality” of life. All soldiers must be treated with respect by their superiors in as much as the latter expects to be treated by them. A leader’s skill is measured through his ability to lead the front, one’s ability to consistently conduct training standards and one’s devotion to taking precautions and care of the soldiers.[11] A leader should practice these principles on a daily basis and that these principles should be made recognized to the soldiers. This type of leadership strengthens trust between company leaders and soldiers – a necessity towards success.

Furthermore, this promotes the so-called “Espirit de Corps”, the morale and spirit of the unit. The effects of a unit’s high spirit both in combat and peacetime is incalculable. It is in this respect that all company members should make it as a major objective. Having a “shared pride” makes soldiers feel that they are members and they belong to a disciplined unit with confident and skilled soldiers and leaders who possess the ability and will to lead any mission to success regardless of how difficult it may seem.[12]


Tara, Dawe; “Memorandum for all 442nd Military Police Company Soldiers: Command

Philosophy”: Memorandum

[1] Tara, Dawe; “Memorandum for all 442nd Military Police Company Soldiers: Command Philosophy”.
[2] Tara, Dawe; Ibid.
[3] Tara, Dawe; “Memorandum for all 442nd Military Police Company Soldiers: Command Philosophy”.
[4] Tara, Dawe; Ibid.
[5] Tara, Dawe; Ibid.
[6] Tara, Dawe; “Memorandum for all 442nd Military Police Company Soldiers: Command Philosophy”.
[7] Tara, Dawe; Ibid.
[8] Tara, Dawe; Ibid.
[9] Tara, Dawe; “Memorandum for all 442nd Military Police Company Soldiers: Command Philosophy”.
[10] Tara, Dawe; Ibid.
[11] Tara, Dawe; Ibid.
[12] Tara, Dawe; “Memorandum for all 442nd Military Police Company Soldiers: Command Philosophy”.


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