Command Culture: Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940, and the Consequences for WWII

command culture the book

I thought this was a fantastic book Command Culture: Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940, and the Consequences for World War II not only the historical analysis of United States and German Armies during WWII and what made them execute in combat but how the training, eduction and selection of officers effected their performance. The books explains the importance of things like mutual trust and auftragstaktik (mission oriented command system) that led to an understanding and acceptance of the need for decision thresholds to be fixed as far down the hierarchy as possible, and for freedom of action at the front line so needed for an effective and fluid observation, orientation , decision and action cycles.

In Command Culture, Jörg Muth examines the different paths the United States Army and the German Armed Forces traveled to select, educate, and promote their officers in the crucial time before World War II. Muth demonstrates that the military education system in Germany represented an organized effort where each school and examination provided the stepping stone for the next. But in the United States, there existed no communication about teaching contents or didactical matters among the various schools and academies, and they existed in a self chosen insular environment. American officers who finally made their way through an erratic selection process and past West Point to the important Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, found themselves usually deeply disappointed, because they were faced again with a rather below average faculty who forced them after every exercise to accept the approved “school solution.”

With a little thought on how the concepts can be adapted and applied, this book would help shape and reshape any organizational culture needing to be able to make decisions in rapid and evolving situations. Would be a great resource for developing police and first responders organizations with a culture to deal with crisis situations.

I highly recommend this book