Riding two horses: Command and control in crisis management scenarios

Hoiback, Harald (2001) Riding two horses: Command and control in crisis management scenarios. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Literature about command and control, i.e. the direction and coordination of military forces, traditionally deals with technology and procedures. The underlying domestic conditions, including cultural, personal and political relations, are rarely the focus for command and control theory. This thesis' main assumption is that the conceptualising of command and control has to take such underlying conditions into account. At times, especially in crisis, some fundamental preconceptions are in conflict with each other, causing dangerous friction. The thesis analyses two instances, where several tacit, but still fundamental, assumptions were at loggerheads. The study is based on theoretical 'nuts and bolts', provided in the opening chapter. The first case, the appointment of General Foch as 'strategic director' of the allied forces in 1918, involves coalition warfare and looks at the conditions that hampered the realisation of a much extolled principle in command and control, 'unity of command'. In March 1918, the 'luxury' of having several armies present in the field, without any central military authority, became too expensive, as the Germans threatened to destroy the allied forces piecemeal. The thesis shows how internal British disagreements over strategy initially weakened the British Expeditionary Force, and then how Field-Marshal Haig made matters worse by relentlessly fighting for his prerogatives as their supreme commander. The thesis also shows how Haig after the was, forged his own account of the incident, to disguise the intolerable 'surrender' to a French general, and how this sham has coloured historians' accounts of the episode, until today. The second case analyses how Norway tumbled uito war in 1940. The Norwegian government had a tacit, incoherent and ill-coordinated plan for how they should once again keep Norway out of war. Parts of the plan were secret, even to the generals, as it probably had to be given Norway's status as neutral. The problems of secrecy were enhanced by the fact that some of the precautionary measures run counter to common military sense. As a consequence, the de facto decision to resist German aggression was in fact taken by a rather insignificant colonel. The case demonstrates how the underlying conditions of command and control, and not the actual directives from the government, which have traditionally been the historians' focus, determined Norway's destiny.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Military studies
Date of Award: 2001
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2001-73412
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/73412

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