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Transforming Command: The Pursuit of Mission Command in the U.S., British, and Israeli Armies Hardcover – January 26, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Security Studies (January 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804772029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804772020
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,230,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Shamir's historical analysis of mission command's conceptual underpinnings provides excellent context for practitioners seeking to understand the complexities and efforts required to adopt, adapt and practice mission command."—Brigadier Chris Field, Australian Army Journal

"Transforming Command is a worthy addition to the military professional's library, especially with mission command being the subject of much attention in the Army . . . In the complex environment that U.S. soldiers face today and in the future, a more decentralized organization with empowered leadership at all levels will be necessary. Reading Transforming Command is a good place to begin making this a reality."—Major Dan Leaf, Military Review

"Eitan Shamir has created an important book that skillfully dismantles popular mythology in favor of cold, hard facts about the resistance in the West's military establishments to badly needed change in the way they develop and cultivate leadership. This authoritative study should be required reading for all NATO officers."—Colonel (ret) Douglas Macgregor, author of Transformation Under Fire: Revolutionizing How America Fights

"This book clearly illustrates the important role that Mission Command plays in effective military operations. [The] comparison of the United States, British, and Israeli Armies in adopting Mission Command and [the] observations on their cultural differences were compelling."—Martin E. Dempsey, General, United States Army

About the Author

Eitan Shamir is a Research Fellow at the Dado Center for Interdisciplinary Military Studies, Israeli Defense Forces, and teaches in the Security Studies program at Tel Aviv University. His military experience includes service in the IDF's paratroops brigade and as a reserve officer in the IDF's Organizational Psychology Unit.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard Staats VINE VOICE on March 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Eitan Shamir has put together a wonderful case study of the rise of Mission Command.

Mission Command has become all the rage in the US Army. Over the past dozen years in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, senior Army leaders have noted the tremendous and incredibly powerful flood of good ideas that arose from soldiers on the tactical edge. The generals are keen to capture the lessons and institutionalize the power of encouraging junior leaders to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative.

What Eitan Shamir points out is that the roots of Mission Command stretch back to the Wehrmacht in inter-war Germany. The Germans constructed a command philosophy that allowed for individual commanders to take advantage of the local situation while conducting Blitzkrieg.

Eitan Shamir then traces those doctrinal concepts through to Israeli conflicts during the past twenty years. Israel is a small country that is often out-gunned and facing forces larger than Israel's own. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have had to rely on initiative to provide a combat multiplier.

One of the nice things about Transforming Command is that Eitan Shamir talks about the practical limits of the theory. After the large armored engagements in the 70s, the IDF faced a "CNN war" against the Palestinians. Under those circumstances, a single, overeager soldier can create an international incident that is broadcast around the world. The IDF had to resort to a very tightly controlled philosophy of command.

Eitan Shamir points out the limits of Battle Command.

Gary Klein has written extensively about how experienced decision-makers are able to quickly orientate and then act based on pattern matching and internal simulation. Dr.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By madmicah on August 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really great book -- well crafted and well-written analysis of C2 autonomy, in theory and in practice. Some elements of his look at the US seem a little incomplete, especially early on in the book, and not as in-depth as the look at the Brit, German, and Israeli experiences....
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Milo Jones on March 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you have an interest in understanding or implementing Mission Command in either a military or civilian context, Dr. Shamir's text is essential reading. It is also an important text from the point of view of military culture, as it looks at differences in how three different military cultures "interpret, articulate, and exercise the command function".
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