Importance of the Military History in the Military Decision Making Process Dennisse M. Vázquez Casiano
Inter-American University of Puerto Rico
Importance of the Military History in the Military Decision Making Process
Since we were children, history has been inculcated to us. Actually, history has been something that every single human being has hated at least once in their life time. However, while we were growing up we started noticing that history is a little bit more than just a course that students need to approve in order to graduate from school. While time was passing by, history classes became more and more important in every, or at least, most individuals. As we know, history is nothing else than the past, and history as at all is really important because is us, we are the past and the present, so we are history. This fact is not only true for the individual, but it is indeed for large societies as well, and of course, for the United States. An important fact about the history of the United States is that it would not have become what it is right now if it would not have been because of what we know as the military. As future officers that we are about to become, is really important to know the history of the military. The question here is why? Why is the military history so important for us? Well, this paper will let us know the relevance of studying military history for the modern military professional and into the officer’s decision making process. It is important that military officers in today’s Army study military history. Studying military history will not provide the military officers with an exact template on how to conduct warfare; however, it does offer opportunities to explore the thought processes and the decisions of commanders faced with difficult circumstances. When a leader is confronted with insecurity, it is important to be capable of creative thought and originality to defeat the enemy. You cannot begin to know about yourself, to understand the present, the way we live and why, until you understand something of your roots in the past. And that is the first fact about the importance of the military history. The only way we can understand who we are and how we got to be that way is by studying the past, similarly, the only way we can understand others is by studying their past. Studying the military history helps leaders to understand their responsibilities. In particular they will appreciate the importance of discipline and the need to build confident and cohesive teams. In addition to that, studying those past decisions that our ancestors made is a great way to make accurate decisions today. Making decisions is an important aspect of being an officer, being knowledgeable about the past or the history is a great way to make the right decision today. Decision making is knowing when, why and what to decide and understand the consequences of those decisions. In the military, making decisions is a crucial fact in order to be successful and make things happen; that is why we have the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP). The MDMP is a tool used by military personnel, especially officers to make accurate and right decisions. The important aspect about the MDMP is that it is the origin of operations. In order to develop and execute any plan or operation, leaders in the military must understand where and how to integrate and apply the MDMP in changing situations. As we saw in chapters one and two of the military history book, the history of the United States lies mostly in the decisions made by those who were involved in the military development since the beginning of the US military history. Important examples of officers in the military history are Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, characterized history individuals that made important decisions throughout the military history. Robert E. Lee is perhaps the most ironic and most widely respected of all Civil War commanders. When he decided to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, it meant the Civil War was virtually over. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson is known as the one that carried out a left flanking attack at Chancellorsville which was a major battle of the American Civil War. Meanwhile, Abraham Lincoln halfway through the American Civil War, while fighting to end slavery, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 to declare that all slaves in the Confederate States would be free. This was one of the most important decisions ever made in the United States History and was this decision the one that made the Civil War end. With those examples we can definitely say that making the right decision in the right moment is something more important that we can imagine. It is in officer’s hands to use history as a resource to provide a context that helps prepare an agile mind to make informed decisions. Studying past battles such as the Civil War and events such as The Military Revolution and World Conflicts can help leaders to understand their responsibilities. In this case, the Civil War is considered one of the most important events in the history of the United States. The war was important because it, for one, finally resolved what had been the great discrepancy in the American ideal: that a nation dedicated to the idea that “all men are created equal”. The Civil War redefined not only what it meant to be an American, but what it was that America itself meant to be and this is an example of the importance of the military history in the decision making process, because everything in life including the military is a matter of choice and making the right or wrong decision. To sum up, we can confidently say that the primary purpose and the most important part of studying military history for the officers and leaders of the United States military is to learn about leadership, command, logistics, and why some leaders throughout the history have succeeded while others failed. As future leaders we should be more perceptive and seek to learn why individuals in the military history like Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Abraham Lincoln did what they did, and why they succeeded. History is made by us, and in the case of military history, the history is made by individuals like us that were under a huge amount of pressure and in circumstances hard to deal with.
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The Civil War. (2013, December 1). In Weider History Network. Retrieved from http://www.historynet.com/civil-war-generals