Posted: February 17th, 2022

Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan

Analytical Essay Using the Principles of Mission Command


When it came to combat, Operation Anaconda was one of the most challenging battle. Over 50 American troops were wounded, and eight military men were killed in a bloody conflict won by the American forces (Kugler, 2007). Generally, the survivors of fights are well-versed in approaching and winning such battles. A lesson learned from this combat was better to equip, train, and organize American troops for future expeditionary missions more efficiently. The same scene might elicit various responses and interpretations from people (Kugler, 2007). As it turns out, the material is interpreted differently by post-facto observers and periodicals alike.

As a consequence of the data and interpretations being at odds, unique and in-depth knowledge of the Shahikot valley conflict was developed. Because “truth” is an individual’s perspective, the lessons learned and the battle’s outcome will remain disputed. The Anaconda operation’s mission command is examined in this study by looking at numerous possible command choices.


Worldwide, military leaders use precise command and mission command to provide adequate military services. The specific character of activities inside the army environment provided by mission command led to beneficial patterns of military history. Since the early 1980s, the army has preferred this idea of command as a vehicle for exercising command (Kugler, 2007). This is shown by the German concept of Afghanistan, in which duty-bound officers did all they could to take advantage of the situation. This concept resulted in army commanders operating efficiently and effectively, allowing them to complete their duties. As a result, the notion of mission command is highlighted in this article as the foundation for updated and unified operations for war-fighting function duties.

Mission command may be defined in terms of the general character of military operations. The framework and application of this doctrinal principle give a foundation for people to find the supplied answers to the numerous obstacles encountered during the conflict (Masougkas, 2018). The mission command was adopted during the ground operations, encompassing the six principles.

The common understanding principle

In the long run, common understanding as a mission concept contributed to the victory in Afghanistan. From a leader’s viewpoint, the basis of establishing a team is developing a common notion. Only when all group members are aware of the team’s goals and objectives can the team be united. To help achieve the intended condition, the JTF (Joint Task Force) worked closely with five senior-ranking liaison (LNOs) officers (Masougkas, 2018). The liaison officers (LNOs) were utilized to complete the functional tasks, including resilience development, sustainability, maintenance, and retrogression and recovery. The JTF (Joint Task Force) used a variety of unit progress measures to help in the evaluation of development and mission accomplishment. JTF’s (Joint Task Force) goal was also accomplished via panels, control teams, and functional boards (Masougkas, 2018). The committees included a variety of ideas such as automated command systems, rehearsal concepts, and landscape, stroll to assist in process tracking and comprehension. Transitioned base camps, material handling, and the pace of operations were among the other measures considered (Masougkas, 2018). JTF (Joint Task Force) implemented various handbooks and standard practices as a leader to ensure shared knowledge and continuity.

Creating coherent groups

One of the strategies used by the mission command was to create cohesive teams via mutual trust. Only when cohesive and trustworthy teams can work effectively and as a unit can the huge leadership challenge be met. A methodical strategy was utilized to acquire the Brigade Combat Team’s confidence (Spidahl, 2017). No one commander had authority over the various military units throughout the operation. According to CJTF Mountain (Chairman Joint Task Force), the Anaconda region had few hostile forces. The commander went on to laud the troops for their courage and teamwork. The US fighters were able to demolish and remove adversaries on the hills and valleys thanks to General Tommy R. Franks. The commanders gave multiple base camps and material caches, which added versatility.

Furthermore, the Joint Chiefs of Staff failed to persuade commanders to assist and operate in a friendly environment without creating a distraction. To create a coherent and collaborative atmosphere, the Joint Chiefs of Staff deployed senior-ranking liaison officers in different units, made correct interpersonal ties, and routinely visited the on-site. As a result, the senior officers reaffirmed their commitment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, instilling trust and confidence in the commanders. The interpersonal technique helps achieve the needed organizational view and fulfill the president’s objective. This was achieved because the Joint Chiefs of Staff paid regular visits to the partners, subordinates who could identify the duties needed to be completed.

The staff, commander, and accountable leaders brainstormed many potential sources of worry. As a result, they created processes and guidelines that coordinated regional orders throughout the whole ecosystem. The officers collaborated to successfully prepare the airlift, which was highly burdened in the war process, thanks to CJTF Mountain’s (Chairman Joint Task Force) information and appraisal of the Khowst-Gardez area. The Marine Corps, for example, was the JTF’s component. The Navy took over customs, while the Air Force took over contracts. Consequently, functional responsibilities were given to other organizational departments depending on their strengths.



Using self-disciplined initiative

Consequently, mission leadership manifests itself via disciplined initiative in this Afghan combat. This is a critical and significant endeavor for the mission’s success. Leaders in their roles should respond quickly and effectively to accomplish the desired outcomes as specified by the commander’s aim. As previously stated, JTF (Joint Task Force) ensured that other team members were permitted to carry out well-organized efforts supporting his declarations of purpose (Rhyne, 2015). Concurrent activities between JTF (Joint Task Force) commanders and subordinates contributed to forming an environment that promoted innovation. JTF (Joint Task Force) also developed an environment that enabled other staff members to utilize and keep the initiative as a commander.

Offering a clear intent

Another factor that benefited the combat process was providing a clear purpose. The commander’s purpose for the intended military end state is a brief and unambiguous statement to assist staff focus and mission command in circumstances when the operation does not go as planned (Rhyne, 2015). The Combined Forces Land Component Commander (CFLCC) took knowledge of all ground operations via tactical control (TACON). Explicit intentions enabled US fighters to remove Al-Qaeda and other Taliban troops, reducing the insurgents’ plans. JTF was in charge of base camp transitions, retrogressions, and operation disposal (Rhyne, 2015). All of these tasks were described unambiguously from the start. The LOEs (Lines of Effort) expressed the JTF’s (Joint Task Force) objective with further directives. LOEs (Lines of Effort) worked hard to create responsive formations (LOE 4), support needs (LOE 3), and mission successes (LOE 5).




Prudent Risk Acceptance

Some of the core and critical elements of mission command include the intentional acceptance and acknowledgment of reasonable risks (Spidahl, 2017). Commanders are given the task of risk evaluations and the execution of mitigating actions on purpose. Such approaches aid in the practical completion of the operation by easing determining the vulnerabilities and the necessary remedies (Spidahl, 2017). Commanders, ideally, cannot eliminate all related hazards while recognizing and acknowledging the reasonable risk that may be necessary.

The Joint Task Force (JTF) requested a risk evaluation of every action carried out during the Anaconda operation. A risk assessment was performed at several phases for efficiency. High risks might be evaluated at the brigade level, medium risks at the battalion level, and low risks at the institution level (Kugler, 2007). As a result, the determined prudent threats were allocated to unified action collaborators and the brigade headquarters, resulting in overall efficiency (Spidahl, 2017). This approach supported a cohesive team and guaranteed active synchronization of the JTF’s capacity and desire to overcome encounters. The JTF created and formalized many processes that aided in retrogression, base camp transfer, and drawdown as part of its responsibilities.

Effective use of mission orders 

The US militants conquered and supported the airlift because of their efficient utilization of mission instructions and their willingness to take cautious risks. Furthermore, subordinates were given the option to choose whatever jobs they would be allocated. JTF (Joint Task Force) assimilated both conventional and special assignments with the assistance of reinforced regular operations (Kugler, 2007). He outlined the goals that needed to be met and the steps that needed to be taken to accomplish them. Blaber’s bold infiltration and combat control strategy was effective since they could successfully navigate for the necessary friendly actions, thanks to a clear outline. Mission command considerably aided the Anaconda’s retrogression and functioning in terms of earlier concepts. As a result of the principles, suitable organizational and functional units were established, resulting in success.


Sustainment commanders employ mission command to establish a homeostatic link between control science and command art. They combine excellent war-fighting functions to attain the required goals (Kugler, 2007). National collaborative ideas and strategic direction are employed to assert and deploy contingency actions and quick execution. Analytically, the Anaconda’s active process was helped by mission command concepts. These concepts were crucial in the successful conclusion of the Afghan war.


Kugler, R. (2007). Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan; A Case Study of Adaptation in    Battle. 

Masougkas, S. (2018). To what extent were the US Special Forces successful as a tool of the        American Foreign Policy? Focusing on the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rhyne, M. R. G. (2015). Special forces command and control in Afghanistan. Pickle Partners        Publishing.

Spidahl, S. D. (2017). The Once and Future Air Support Operations Center: A Critical      Reflection on Developments in Air-to-ground Command and Control. AIR COMMAND             AND STAFF COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States.


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