Twelve Principles of Command
- Objective. Always keep a clear goal in mind. Without it, the lives you lose are
- Offensive. When given the chance, attack and remain on the offensive for as long
as possible. Then enemy is weakest when backing up, and so are you.
- Unity of Command. Always know who is above and below you in the chain of command
and what they are doing. It will not only help you in times of trouble, but it will also
give you a better sense of how your mission fits into the overall picture.
- Strength. Never willingly enter battle at a numerical disadvantage. Even the
biggest, sloppiest army can defeat you.
- Economy of Force. Do not waste your effort and supplies. Use just enough of your
force to inflict the maximum amount of havoc on the enemy in the minimum amount of time.
Save the rest of your strength to exploit your gains or protect yourself from
- Maneuver. Learn the value of maneuverability. Being able to speed across the
battlefield in a coordinated wave of force can overwhelm the toughest opponent with a
minimum of bloodshed.
- Surprise. The element of surprise effectively doubles your force.
- Intelligence. Information is like eggs, the fresher the better. A good guess
might win a battle, but a bad one can eventually lose a campaign.
- Simplicity. If a plan looks messy on paper or in a computer simulation, it is too
complicated to succeed. The best plans often turn out to be ones drawn in the dirt and
explained with a few hand gestures. A good solution applied with vigor immediately is
better than a perfect solution ten minutes later.
- Maintenance of Morale. Instill pride and sense of duty, worthiness, and loyalty
into your soldiers. Keep them informed, rested, and happy. Officers should visit the front
often, not to meddle but for personal contact with the troops.
- Administration. This is the dullest, most mind-numbing of chores, but doing it
properly is infinitely better than facing the enemy without ammunition.
- Mercy. Be firm and win the day, but once the fighting is over, treat your
prisoners with respect and courtesy. Not only is it the correct and moral thing for a
soldier of the Star League to do, but once enemy soldiers hear of your merciful treatment,
they might also be more willing to surrender.
From A Primer to Tactics and Strategy, 34th Edition,
Edited by General Aleksandr Kerensky, SLDF Press, 2742