Unity of command

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The term unity of command refers to the principle that a subordinate should have one and only one superior to whom he or she is directly responsible. That means, on a hierarchic tree, there should be only one in the absolute command.

Unity of command is an important principle of an Incident Command System.

“Unity of command” is a concept that, if followed, can be a significant asset to victory. This has been proven in warfare throughout history.

To have a unity of command means to have a single, supreme, commanding authority. It means having one commander to govern all of the “forces fighting toward a common goal (army.mil).” Imagine a giant concrete block, weighing a few tons, blocking a road off. A dozen men approach the block separately, they try to move the block. Some man attempt to use ropes and wedges, others try to grease the road and slide the block, a few men try teaming up, and all of the men exhaust their energy, strength, and recourses in the process.

What if one man had been chosen to lead in the removal? What if one man had led all of the men to force the rock in one direction? Unity of command is logical, but it also cooperates with other principles as well. The unifying of command, under a single leader, simplifies the situation of the forces (simplicity). It also sustains objective; having a single leader limits the objectives of uniting forces. With several leaders there are several personal, national, and international agendas being brought to the plate. A single commander will at least limit these objectives, and will likely pressure the supreme commander into naming a select objective, or two, that will benefit the cause.

The unity of command principle is not only hypothetically sensible, but it has been proven that, throughout military history, unity of command has been indeed valuable.