Advanced Approaches to Commander's Intent

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Commander’s intent is a broad description and definition of what a successful mission will look like in its end state. Complex Adaptive Systems Thinking (CAST), Cynefin Framework and Strategic Foresight strategies can help you define, enhance and understand commander's intent.

Public Affairs and Communication Strategists must be proactive to be relevant. It is vital to the evolution, sustainment and future of the field that Public Affairs and Communication Strategy officers and their teams stay current. Using the right mental approach to the operational informational environment will help professionals analyze strategies, trends and human drivers of knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and beliefs.

Thinking for the Current Mission

Complex Adaptive Systems Thinking (CAST) is about changing the way you see the world, and thus, the mission in front of you. Your plans will evolve because you are taking into account the entire environment and all of the potential consequences of reaching the desired end state.

The Cynefin Framework will help you make sense of a problem or opportunity. The framework can help you take action in the right direction that will lead to the mission's success.

Use CAST and Cynefin to reach the desired end state by taking the whole environment into account and having a clear, informed direction to solve a problem or make the most of an opportunity.

Planning Beyond the Current Mission

Know the long-term plan and make sure the current intent and desired end state support the environment you want twenty to thirty years from now. Used by NATO, strategic foresight keeps the long-term vision at the forefront of all plans, while ensuring the current mission supports those plans.

These three methods of thinking and planning keep the PA field thinking ahead, agile and relevant to the field and the command. Thinking through problems, recognizing all ramifications of actions, getting the proper inputs for a solution and working toward long-term strategies and solutions is critical to shaping and enhancing any commander's intent.

“We must also be prepared to make decisions at the speed of relevance…our strategic decision-making processes must adapt to keep pace. Senior leaders require routine access to synthesized information and intelligence to ensure their ability to see the fight in real time and seize initiative."Defense Joint Force Quarterly 89, 2nd Quarter 2018, May 29, 2018

Learn more about these methods with the resources below.

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