Book Review: Field Command by Charles "Sid" Heal If you have not gotten this book...GET IT!

Field Command

Field Command is the single most important book written for law enforcement on strategy and tactics, mission planning and decision making under pressure. The author takes the principles of warfare and translates them to the law enforcement roll of protecting and serving society. The tactics and principles discussed in the book are sound. The leadership and command and control methodologies stem around the need for a much, much higher level of professionalism and critical skills development and a clearly defined mission and intent from law enforcement agencies. It is known throughout law enforcement that we do not study our own law enforcement history nearly enough. We do not understand and apply strategy and tactics nearly enough. We do not train nearly enough. Our focus is indeed on protecting and serving but our methods and tactics have us responding with emotions verses sound tactics. Field Command discusses crisis and its complexities and offers much needed guiding principles on command, operations, Intel gathering, logistics and communications as well as the strategy and tactics that work and have been proven over time to those who practice an adaptable mindset.

In the book "Field Command" Sid Heal discuses the principles of war; Maneuver, Objective, Offense,Simplicity, Economy of force, Mass, Unity of command, Surprise and Security and how they translate to law enforcement. He also discusses a 10th very important principle "Legitimacy." '"While it would be nice to use these nine principles as a checklist or formula, they are by no means sacred. Over the years, strategists have suggested a number or others, at least one of which is worthy of discussion here because it so strongly applies to law enforcement tactical operations. The principle of legitimacy is sometimes called the "10th Principle of war." It identifies the absolute necessity of maintaining the confidence of the community of the lawfulness and morality of actions. The U.S. military learned the significance of this principle the hard way when they lost the support of the American people for the Vietnam war and ultimately withdrew. The lesson should not be lost on domestic law enforcement who are constantly scrutinized as a matter of course." The moral dimension of conflict is often forgotten in law enforcement efforts to deal with crisis and the principle of LEGITIMACY is one we should never lose sight of, if we are to keep the support of those we serve. The author ensures that this principle is intertwined throughout the book as it discusses the other nine principles and the decision making required when dealing with crisis.

The book also describes the differences and importance of training and education: "Because contemporary law enforcement is so well-trained there is a tendency to confuse how well we do something with how much it contributes to a solution. Training and education are not synonyms, however. The essential skills for working in crisis conditions are myriad but relatively easily taught and learned. the knowledge and understanding of what is actually unfolding are far more complex and require an understanding of the factors and influences involved and how they interact." An understanding of this is very important to our development and hence our readiness for handling crisis situations.

Strategy and tactics are often times confused in law enforcement and Field Command gives a simple and effective explanation of these concepts: "'The most critical element of any plan is the scheme that it describes. To a greater or lesser extent, every plan attempts to maximize the likelihood for success by focusing effort, affixing responsibility, distributing authority and allocating resources. Depending on the scope of the plan, it may be broad and far reaching or tightly focused and detailed. Plans are wide ranging in application and/or far reaching in the future are said to be "strategic." Conversely, those that are more narrowly focused on specific near-term objectives are "tactical." It has been said that "tactics win battles but strategy wins wars." Accordingly, successful operations will require both."

In closing "FIELD COMMAND" is packed full of great information and a book highly recommend to all of those in law enforcement and for those wishing to understand the difficult mission law enforcement has while they protect and serve. The balance of legitimacy and winning at low cost takes much effort and continued learning, unlearning and relearning. This book not only shows the how too, it also will help you in understand the all important WHY behind the the methods discussed.

I want to also take the time here to thank the author Charles "Sid" Heal for his dedication and service (LE 33years and Military41 years) and for providing law enforcement with this very important book and study on tactical science. It is much needed in law enforcement and will make us more effective as well as save lives!

Here is the link to the book

Stay Oriented!