Chain of Command?

There used to be somethng called the "Principles of War" which were taught and believed in the US Army.  These were earthy bits of wisdom mainly derived from Napoleon’s "Maxims."   Really broad concepts that needed to be considered in planning anything were among the principles.

-The Mission


-Economy of Force




There were a good many more.  All had a basic idea associated with them.

One of the more sacred among these "principles" was that of

"Unity of Command."  This carried with it the idea that in any endeavor there should be one authority who could coordinate the efforts of all to ensure that things do not "fall through the cracks," that school buses are not left to drown when they are needed to save the poor for example.

We have been "at this moment" for a week now.  Where is "Unity of Command" at this late date?

Can anyone tell me that?

As a troglodytic old soldier I count the following "stovepiped" chains of command:


-Louisiana and Mississippi state government, which at least in the case of Louisiana MAY include its National Guard since it is written that Governor Blanco declined to surrender control of the Louisiana Guard (correctly, I believe).  It certainly includes the State Police.

-The "active duty forces."  This is LTG Honore’s command. (and no more) The 82nd (part), the 1st Cav. (part), some US Marines, some Navy, maybe the out of state parts of the National Guard.  (does anyone know if these non-state units were legally brought into federal service?) If not, then their states are paying them and they are not "active duty forces," and therefore not under Honore.

-New Orleans and other municipal authorities with their police and fire departments.

-The FBI and other federal police.

Maybe we need Napoleon, or perhaps Honore to sort this out.  Maybe Stonewall Jackson?   Heavens!  Not that.

Pat Lang

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5 Responses to Chain of Command?

  1. CK says:

    Napoleon had the virtue of not being part of a kakistocracy.
    He also had the luxury of having professional military men not perfumed princes under his command. Other than that it is pretty much the same as always.

  2. manowar says:

    Now I know how the Army of the Potomac felt after the first two years of the War.

  3. Pat Lang says:

    My great-granfather was in the the 2nd Vermont but he knew who Jackson was. pl

  4. angela says:

    Well if you can’t have unity of command, perhaps the next best thing is that if you encounter individuals who appear to have the qualifications and resources to do things then let them do it.
    If you’ve got thousands of experienced individuals with boats make sur they have enough water and food, let them go in. if you’ve got a thousand fireman get them in the vicinity, don’t train them in public relations.
    Redundancy and duplication were not the biggest problems, lacks were and people defending turf. We have the technology to easily put into place “swarm” allocations where needs and resources are listed and individuals connect them.
    The simple fact of the matter is vast resources were refused, yet most of them would be better to have out there than lost, barefoot dehydrated, elderly citizens groping blindly. Most experienced cops could have brought some in, supplied others and set up some order.

  5. RJJ says:

    From California energy crisis to elections to Iraq to NO —
    The Texas Mafiosi exploit bureaucratic turpitude to generate (or aggravate) chaos, under cover of which they pillage.
    Everybody stands around in the fallout fascinated — wondering what went wrong, and why people aren’t more outraged, and what the media sluts and paid provocateurs said about it today.
    NO is a metaphor for what is happening to the whole country. We are in the midst of a political catastrophe, and nobody knows what the hell to do.
    Anything good on the movie channel?

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