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Why Is KM Important to the Army?
Soldiers on battlefield sharing information.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

“Here, the only strategy that can mitigate the impact of surprise is knowledge of the past, an understanding of the present, and a balanced force that is willing and able to adapt in the future.”

Joint Operating Environment (2010)

AOKM enhances mission command, facilitates the exchange of knowledge, supports doctrine development, fosters leaders’ development, supports lessons learned, supports training and enhances professional education. Ultimately, KM enables the Army to become an adaptable organization that is able to learn and change. The Army’s strategy focuses on advancement in a culture of innovation rather than survival in a culture of compliance. It is committed to looking at every relevant source of knowledge rather than only what the Army already knows. Knowledge flow and capture leading to continuous improvement and diffusion across the force, collaboration, and standardization of knowledge products and process will allow the Army to gain the shared understanding needed to be adaptable.

“The challenges of future armed conflict make it an imperative for our Army to produce leaders and forces that exhibit a high degree of operational adaptability (TP 525-3-3 2010).” Mission command is an evolved concept that will enable adaptability in the force. It has been the Army’s preferred style for exercising command since the 1980s, and in 2008, was integrated into the Army’s concept of full-spectrum operations. The evolved concept of mission command encompasses both the Army’s philosophy of command aimed at adapting and achieving advantage in complex and uncertain OEs, and the integrating function that combines the capabilities of all warfighting functions to accomplish the mission.

“Military operations are human endeavors characterized by the continuous, mutual adaptation of give and take, moves and countermoves among all participants (FM 6-0 2011).” The participants that are able to adapt and learn more efficiently will create advantages that can be exploited. The Army has moved towards mission command as the means to be more adaptable and able to execute in a decentralized manner. One of the key enables for an organization to learn and adapt is through the use of knowledge management.

Effective knowledge management enhances the shared understanding of an organization. The command and staff possess a shared understanding of the OE and mission that allows for a synergy of effort between commanders, staffs, and subordinate commands. The knowledge management processes enhances mission command’s ability to use mission type orders to promote initiative within the commander’s intent. If done properly trust is built within the organization, shared understanding is generated, and the people and organization will learn.


Last Reviewed: August 8, 2012

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