How to STRUCTURE Your Military Unit to be More Effective

Today, I want to share some helpful advice I learned from one of my former Battalion Commanders about how to structure your unit, so you can be more effective as a leader.

This advice could be applied to any unit, from the team level up to the company level.

It works best at the company level, because you have adequate personnel to make it possible.

It’s really designed to help you be effective and efficient at the same time.

It will help you establish defined roles so you can work smart.

The one thing my former Battalion Commander taught me was to have a future operations, current operations and logistics cell in your unit.

Here’s the breakdown of how it could work:

# 1 Future Operations Cell – This cell is responsible for future planning.

They are responsible for mission planning, writing OPORDs, MDMP, TLP, risk assessments, etc.

They typically focus on things that are 30 days out and longer.

Plus, they are the strategist.

They formulate the plan from start to finish.

Yes, they may have other responsibilities as well, but their primary focus is planning for future ops.

In most cases, this is done by an officer, normally the S3 or commander (depending on the size of the unit).

# 2 Current Operations Cell – This cell is responsible for handling the tasks at hand.

At the company level, this would typically be the 1SG and Company XO.

If a last minute suspense comes down the pipe, this cell handles it.

And, if something goes wrong, they fix it.

If their is an issue, they make it right.

Their primary focus is the day/week at hand, executing the plan that the planning cell created.

# 3 Admin/Supply/Maintenance Cell – This cell is responsible for the admin, supply and maintenance; all of the behind the scenes stuff that is needed to ensure the mission gets done.

At the company level this would include the Supply Sergeant, XO, Maintenance NCO, and AGR Staff.

Additional Thoughtsefficient

Many of you reading this might say, “we already do this.”

Each person in our unit has their own responsibilities and should be already doing this.

I don’t disagree with you.

That being said, I think your unit could be at least three times more effective if you sat down with the people in your unit/section and actually talked about this concept with them.

Clearly define roles so everyone knows who is responsible for what.

Ask questions and clarify everything so it makes sense to everyone.

Just assuming people already know this is a big mistake.

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Real World Example

Here are a few real world examples about how you might be able to make this work:

Company level – At the company level, the Company Commander is the future operations cell.

They handle all aspects of mission planning.

The 1SG handle the current operations.

Finally, the Company XO, Supply Sergeant, Maintenance Sergeant and AGR personnel handle the logistics cell.

Platoon level – At the platoon level, the Platoon Leader is the future operations cell.

They handle all aspects of mission planning.

The Platoon Sergeant handles the current operations and most of the logistics cell.

To work smart, the PL and PSG could appoint several other folks to help out with the logistics cell (in addition to relying on the Squad Leaders).

Squad level – At the squad level, the Squad Leader is the future operations cell.

They handle all aspects of mission planning.

The Team Leaders should handle the current operations, once the Squad Leader develops the plan.

Finally, the Squad Leader and Team Leaders could appoint someone to help out with the logistics cell, to assist them.


Military leaders need to work smart!

Structuring your unit with a future operations, current operations and logistics cell will give everyone clear boundaries so you can focus on the most important task at hand.

The Army is a team effort and no one person can do all of these things effectively.

Take the time to educate your team members about their role and how it fits into the bigger picture.

It will be time well spent.

What do you think?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

Do you have any added tips?

I look forward to hearing from you.

3 thoughts on “How to STRUCTURE Your Military Unit to be More Effective”

  1. This is a quality breakdown of duties and responsibilities. The important thing to remember is that everyone is aware who is responsible for what and reports to that person. Also it's always good to have a few people who can step in as back ups or assistants for some of those positions.
    Maybe the supply side of the house is a disaster and you need to put a quality NCO with your XO to help sort out the mess in the short term.

  2. In any leadership role, such as Platoon Leader or Company Command, you do need to ask yourself “why you are doing what you are doing.” Knowing why we are doing anything gives it that much more meaning. Also, if you are to effectively lead, you need to know why you are doing something to convey it to your team or unit.

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