The One Thirds Two Thirds 1/3 – 2/3 Rule for Military LeadersBy
The One Thirds Two Thirds Rule is an important rule for military leaders and for people planning military missions. The 1/3 – 2/3 rule states that a military leader should not spend more than 1/3 of the time allocated to accomplish a mission with the planning phase. For instance, if your unit has a mission to accomplish six days from now, you would want to finalize your plan by the end of day 2. This gives your subordinates 4 days to do their planning and resourcing and get ready for the mission.
This is a simple rule that gets violated all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been give an OPORD or mission to accomplish with little or no time to plan. And worst of all, in many cases my boss knew about the mission for days or even weeks beforehand. By the time I learned about the mission, I almost had to “wing it” and “shoot from the hip.” Of course, I got the job done, but it would have been a much smoother process if my boss followed the one thirds two thirds rule.
I’ve also been guilty of violating this rule myself. As a Company Commander, sometimes I didn’t give my subordinates enough time to plan and get ready for missions. Every time this happened, the mission did not go the way I wanted it to. I think there is a valuable lesson to learn from that.
The moral of the story is that you need to follow the one thirds two thirds rule whenever possible. If you are in charge of others, you need to be an information sharer, not an information hoarder. Whenever you find out about a mission, send a Warning Order immediately to the people who will be assigned the mission. Share the information that you do know. Start your military planning immediately and finalize your game plan as quickly as possible so your subordinates will have time to do their own mission planning.
Even if your plan isn’t perfect, that’s okay. It’s better to have an 80% solution ahead of time than it is to have a perfect solution too late. Do the best you can. Develop the best plan you can with all of the information you do have, and push the orders out to your subordinates as quickly as possible. As you get additional information you can push out FRAGOs as needed.
In summary, the One Thirds Two Thirds Rule is a military rule for mission planning. Military leaders should never take more than 1/3 of the allocated time allowed to plan for a mission. That way their subordinates have 2/3 of the available time to do their mission planning and accomplish the mission. I hope that helps. What are your thoughts?