Command has long been a major concern for military historians and security studies scholars. Focusing on the divisional headquarters and one staff procedure, the ‘decision point’, this paper analyses the transformation of command in the 21st century.
It claims that in contrast to the 20th century, when forces institutionalised a relatively individualised, even ‘heroic' system of command, military decision-making in the 21st century has become an increasingly collectivise, professionalised practice. The Decision Point demonstrates this distribution of command authority very well.
In order to increase the tempo and accuracy of decision making in a complex environment, the Decision Point has been a bureaucratic means by which the staff anticipate and automate command decisions, directing and channelling their commander along pre-conceived courses of action. Through the Decision Point, decision-making authority is now increasingly shared by the staff.
About the Speaker
Professor Anthony King is the chair of War Studies in the Politics and International Studies Department at Warwick University. His most recent publications include The Combat Soldier (Oxford, 2013) and (ed.) Frontline (Oxford, 2015). He is currently completing a book on divisional command entitled Command: the twenty-first century general (Cambridge, 2018). He has acted as a mentor and adviser to the British Army and the Royal Marines for a number of years.