Military Leadership Essay
Richard F Natonski was the Lieutenant General in US Marine Corps. He commanded the ground combat zone and 1st Marine Division during Operation Al Fajr in order to retake Fallujah in 2004. The first battle of Fallujah, Iraq resulted in control of city to be left with foreign Muslim extremists and resistance fighters. In November, the US Coalition took the decision to undertake a follow-up campaign with the purpose to prevent outspread of armed opposition. RF Natonski carefully capitalized military strengths and crafted a strategy in a coordinated pattern to interrupt the enemy’s command, taking over the control, and clearing city from occupational forces.
Let experts help write your Military Leadership paper now!
Evidences from the second Battle of Fallujah are the clear indicator of the ways the commander has exercised principles of mission of command. According to Shamir Eitan, Al Fajr was the joint operation that involved Army and Air Force teams, SEAL Sniper team, and Navy Seebees. Shamir also highlighted that Natonski mechanized a team, understood their strengths, put his faith in the subordinates, and led them from the front. He did all what the great leaders do. The fundamental plan of operations was to clean up the area from resistant fighters and rebuild the city.
The mission command principles are exercised by US army commander to exercise authority and assure discipline within team members. According to the Army Doctrine Publications (reiterated by Shamir), one of the principles is a ‘mutual trust’. This term is very detrimental; it is primarily because it is the guiding principle exercised by all successful leaders and also a component of mission command. Leaders establish their trust in their subordinates and allow them to plan, coordinate and implement decisions in intense operational environments. Thus opportunity to take decisive actions is the outcome of this doctrine. The paper presents an insight about how effectively Natonski used the mission command principles during Operation Al Fajr and the ways it made him a successful leader.
Building of Cohesive Teams
As mentioned, after the first battle of Fallujah, the city had become source of attraction of the Iraqi resistance fighters and international Muslim volunteers. The US occupational forces decided to turn the city into a trap so that they can isolate the insurgents and clear the city. According to Shamir, joint military operation was planned by the US forces and the formation of Forces Services Support Group is the perfect example of how Natonski built the cohesive teams by using principles of mutual trust. The effectiveness of team is matchless, and people often referred the team as ‘iron mountain’ with its unique capabilities and unmatchable potential.
The operational planning team was developed immediately after the declaration of elections in Baghdad. Shamir further mentioned that as Fallujah was an insurgent base and undertaking successful elections was not possible where enemy can rest, train, rearm, and launch the attacks. Natonski mobilized Marine Expedition Unit in the west while assault to be undertaken in Fallujah. The Military force battalion surrounded the city, protected rear area and blocked the forces. The Black Watch battalion limited insurgent movement towards and from the southern regions and Brigade Combat Teams launched the attack. The task assignments, creation of disciplinary course of action and the opportunity to look at the situation and react are the opportunities provided by the leader to entire team of diverse people.
Successful leaders trust their team members and appreciate their efforts. Instead of taking all credit of efforts, the leaders appreciate their team members for achieving the desired outcomes. That is what Natonski did during second battle of Fallujah. In one of the interviews, he declared his team members as ‘heart-beat’ for entire project. They not only followed the plan but with the essence of mutual understanding and decision overcome the obstacles, took control of the South of Phase Line.
Creation of shared vision and understanding
Building of cohesive teams is not possible unless the leader has created shared vision and understanding. All team members are aware about the operation, it is the core responsibility of military leaders. It is the organizational dimension of trust. In most of the cases, usually top management is aware about the ultimate outcome of the decision. However, in this case, Natonski assured that each member of the team understands the reasons and need of undertaking the operation. Use of spirit de corps essence ties organizational members together.
Before the operation, initial training was provided to the Iraqi force in order to establish trust. They play hands-on role into the battle and worked side by side with the US military forces but their contributions were not highlighted in the battle of Fallujah. A true leader appreciates the efforts of each individual responsible for the successful execution of the mission and in one of the interviews, Natonski mentioned their performance. Although in the media, when battle was over, Marine soldiers and joint military forces were held responsible for victory but Natonski mentioned the performance of Iraqi battalion commander and appreciated him for his performance. This is what the great leaders do.
Provision of clear commander’s intent
Natonski different strategies and the successful implementation of those strategies by such a diverse team is an indicator of provision of clear commander’s intent. The principle of command considered to deal with human exploitations of the team members. In order to achieve the desired outcomes, effective relations were built with general public and with the other locals. As a result, reliable source of information was accessed to shape and reshape the strategies . The leaders have clear intent of what they are going to do and exactly how they are going to do it. There are several reliable sources that communicate the essence of effective leadership of Natonski during the second battle of Fallujah.
He assured his presence during entire operation and supported the team members in best possible way. He talked to the commanders, troops and battalion commanders regarding their feelings, understandings, and their perspectives about the situation to assure whether they are on same page or not. Thus, the essence of true leadership is depicted in his strategies and operations. Military leaders assure successful planning and device strategies in case the situation turns out differently. The joint collaborations, effective communication, and vision for the better future are the fundamental aspects that provide Natonski a clear commander’s intent . The commander collaborated effectively with the teams and his down-to-earth approach after victory, appreciation of each unit responsible for the success, and his sense of vision are the indicators of his successful role as a leader.
Exercising disciplined initiative
Although the media spread rumors about the operation undertaking at Fallujah, but the teams were mobilized in an effective way under the leadership of Natonski. The team used for the battle by General Charles Krulak was ‘a three block war’. It means in one of the blocks, military forces are deployed for full combat operations. In the next unit, patrolling and in the third block, the teams are undertaking humanitarian operations. According to the sources, this is what actually happened at Fallujah under the leadership of Natonski.
As mentioned, the fundamental goal of the operation was to clarify the city from insurgents and negative forces threatening the peace of the region. The entire operation was undertaken in a disciplined way and this is because of essence of the first three elements discussed. Due to creating united sense of vision, trusting the instinct of the team members and provision of clear commander intent, Natonski assured that all the activities are undertaken in disciplined way. In southern part of the city, teams were fighting whereas in the central regions, Seebees patrolled and cleared the rubble. Whereas in the northern part, teams were mobilized to do essential tasks for the return of citizens. The stipend was equally distributed to the settlers by the military task forces and thus entire activities were undertaken in systemized, collaborative, and disciplined manner.
Accepted prudent risk
Accepting the prudent risk is related with the US Mission of Command principle in which the leader is supposed to make rational estimates, conduct risk assessment, and implement the solutions to mitigate those risks. The preplanning phase of the battle of Fallujah is an indicator of the leader’s acceptance of prudent risk. As Natonski was responsible for Al Anbar province, that is also the provincial capital. Therefore, the deliberate planning about risk calculations were already started in September 2004 . The leader accepted the risk and brought couple of battalions for the sake of regimental command element. Bringing Marine Expeditionary Unit was another risk because such joint collaborations were not done in the past. It makes Battle of Fallujah unique. Something that is not happened in the past makes it a risk and the leaders were successful in mitigating those risks. Successful military operations are the clear indicator of the leader’s risk acceptance, prior calculations, and effective strategies to achieve realistic outcomes.
Battles can be won individually. They are won with the help of joint operations, mutual trust and sense of unity within team members. The second battle of Fallujah is the clear indicator of the lessons learnt from the past, combination and cooperation of the different skilled forces, and the essence of true leadership. There are significant names within the history of Operation Al-Fajr that contributed their effective strategies and participation for the massive destruction of insurgents and clearing the city from the brutal forces. However, the name which is not evidently comes up in the researches is RF Natonski. This provides a question that whether he was a successful leader or not.
Success is measured with the degree of benefit provided by the leader to the participants. It is the degree of empathy and consideration. Wars can’t be won independently but won with the help of effective troops, their combined activities, and strength of leadership. Being responsible for the Al Anbar Province, that is also the provincial capital, Natonski identified the need for collaborative operations. He set up the team that was diverse in nature and practically implemented something that has never done in the past. Later on, after achieving the milestones, he dignified all the units and appreciated them for their efforts. Instead of taking credit, he provided all credit to the team members and highlighted their performance.
The paper presented an insight about the leadership of RF Natonski in the second battle of Fallujah. The leader is identified to practically depict the mission of command principles within entire battle and even after that. The leader developed teams with the essence of trust. The teams were diverse in nature as they belong to different US Military departments and Iraqi forces. It was identified that Natonski provided required training to the Iraqi forces so that they can join their hands with the US team members. As a result a sense of trust was established and the leader provided them an opportunity to use their skills and instincts during situational demands.
RF Natonski further demonstrated the mission of command principles by the way he exercised disciplined initiative during the battle. His prominent role in team formation and development of the independent teams for independent areas within the province, simultaneous use of different operations for different regions, and collaborations with the other teams made him a successful leader. After the execution of operation, the leader appreciated the efforts of each of the members and declared them as a reason behind success. This is what all the great leaders do.All free essay examples and term paper samples you can find online are completely plagiarized. Don't use them as your own academic papers! If you need unique essays, term papers or research projects of superior quality, don't hesitate to hire experts at EssayLib who will write any custom paper for you. A professional team of essay writers is available 24/7 for immediate assistance:
Catagnus Jr, Earl J., Brad Z. Edison, James D. Keeling, and David A. Moon. Infantry Squad Tactics: Some of the Lessons Learned During MOUT in the Battle for Fallujah. Marine Corps Scout Sniper Platoon Quantico VA, 2005.
Hollis, Patrecia S. “Second Battle of Fallujah: Urban Operations in a New Kind of War.” Field Artillery (2006): 4-9.
Shamir, Eitan. “The long and winding road: the US Army managerial approach to command and the adoption of Mission Command (Auftragstaktik).” The Journal of Strategic Studies33, no. 5 (2010): 645-672.
West, Bing. No true glory: A frontline account of the battle for Fallujah. Bantam, 2011