Response to “If Not Synchronization, What?”

by Maj Irvin E. Evans III

Synchronization is a path for moving toward the maneuver warfare ideal. Flaws emerge; but, as a way to drive home the importance of coordination, cooperation, preparation, and planning, it has merit by capturing modern battle in the mind’s eye. Unfortunately, Maj Schmitt has committed the error attributed to “synchronizationists”-limited mechanical thinking. His descriptions of synchronized planning do not reflect the techniques, tactics, and procedures being taught today. Intelligence preparation of the battlefield, matrices for battlefield operating systems, commander’s intent, and mission and main effort nesting are dynamic, enemy focused, command and staff processes that generate decisive force at the critical place and time within the constraints of politics and resources.

Asynchronous operations, while appearing worthwhile, pose significant risk. The level of operational independence where “each subordinate unit pursuing its assigned mission can act independently, operating without constraint imposed by the requirement for close coordination with other components” seems utopian. Today’s world is one of growing operational constraints-campaign design requirements, logistical shortfalls, fire support coordination, C4I, political guidance, and changing social values. Synchronization responds with a selection of tailoring devices to shape courses of action for national security interests. Where “truly asynchronous operations are no more possible than are truly synchronized ones” synchronized planning offers battlefield and campaign solutions that are realistic and within immediate reach of the joint force commander.

We applaud the brainstorming of future doctrine illustrated by the caliber of this essay; however, for the immediate future, synchronization offers the commander the most precise application of force, the best use of available resources, the highest dexterity to political guidance, the lowest force risk profile and the greatest likelihood of mission accomplishment.