critical requirement that directly impacts winning battles and preserving Marine lives is keeping officers informed of their capabilities on the battlespace. The officer must be orientated and informed of the tactical situation and other issues that will affect them. They should be told of the unit’s procedures’ vice what they learn in their formal schools, or what they read in field manuals. The SNCO lets them know what they should focus on to succeed tactically. Colonel Merritt A. Edson believed that our junior officers’ actions were responsible for our successes in the island campaigns of World War II (Leading Marines, pg. 75). But the junior officers did not accomplish this alone and heavily relied on the experiences of the SNCOs like Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone.
In addition, the SNCO must inform the junior officer on how to fight a different type of battle within the command. Often, officers are the voice of the Marines when dealing with higher headquarters. The SNCO must make them aware of the personalities, priorities, and quirks of the chain of command to best navigate those waters. For example, if the commanding officer wants the command and control systems to reflect our maneuver warfare philosophy, the officer must be informed to make decisions that focus on speed and creating tempo. The junior officer will often have doubts and questions themselves, but the SNCO must encourage them and support their decisions as best as possible. The SNCO will usually know how to accomplish a task more expeditiously than the officer, but the SNCO must not be overbearing. New officers will have to learn how to think and make decisions, and they must be given room to grow. SNCOs must recommend the course of action and explain the rationale and thought process to ensure the officer knows the why of what you are suggesting and the how. The SNCO must provide feedback and input until the officer makes a decision then violently execute the plan.