Last Updated 16 Jun 2020

Communication in the Military

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Communication has always been important with in the military from day one. Wihtout this communication no soldier would know where to be or when to be there. When the U. S. military first began we fought in a completely different style than we do today. Back then there was alot more chivalry to war to than there is today. They stood on line with their chests out proud of what they were doing. Without communication the first rank would not know when to fire their muskets, when to take a knee, when to begin reloading their weapons and when to stand back up to take aim to start the process all over again.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary the classification of communication states it’s a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behaviour. In relation, communication is the heart of what makes the United States Army what it is today. Without Communication vital information would not be passed down from the Chief of Command to a chain of Non Commissioned Officers to the soldiers. Not to mention, innocent lives would be in jeopardy, missions would be misconstrued, and simple information from NCO to soldier would be conflicted.

Lack of communication in the army means important decision on anything would not be made. Taking from the Chief of Command, if he did communicated to his dependents on decisions such as going to war, or even making the change of declaring General Martin Dempsey chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff how could we improved the nation better yet a team; because all in all the United States army is a TEAM. Not having communication within a constituency of people creates an anarchy of chaos. The smallest amount of information is always imperative.

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For example, if a soldier goes out over the weekend and doesn’t inform anyone of he or she whereabouts and something crucial happens to him or her no one would never know because that soldier failed to communicated with his/her battle buddy more importantly their NCO. It is important to notify your chain of command where you are at all times so that they know. This is why the Army has developed the TRiPs system so that if traveling outside of the 250 mile radius of post you are required to fill out this digital form and it be approved by your supervisor before taking the said trip so that your chain of command knows your whereabouts always.

When others know about one’s location it is easier to manoeuvre to find them if anything should ever go wrong. No one wants to become a victim if something should ever go not according to plan; and that’s why it is critical to notify someone whenever going out. Communication is key due to the simple fact that if the individuals involved in the social interaction do not first form a bases of what is tolerable and what is not, how than, can they “respect” the other individual.

They next element that would be necessary for a healthy respectful relationship would be empathy. Without an empathic outlook by all parties engaged in communication, how might they respect another’s point of view? Empathy must follow communication, for empathy shows acknowledgement and understanding of what was first communicated by all parties. After empathy, the final and most important step towards respect is submission. Submission is needed to assimilate each individual into respect, not per say, for one or more individuals to dominate the others.

Lets break down these three ideals of respect, starting with communication. Communication is the very bases for respect. Without this very basic idea, an organization as prominent as the Army of the United States could simply not exist. The relationship between communication and respect is one sided. Communication can exist without respect, but not vice versa. An example of this could include two individuals fighting over the price of an item. Both individuals are communicating, but neither is respecting the other.

By any means, the bane of communication when applied to respect is miscommunication. Miscommunication in itself is the very break down of communication. Communication plays an essential role in any institution, especially in the military. The military employs two basic forms of communication; which are verbal and non-verbal. All two forms are vital to the success of the military. Without effective communication in the military regardless of the status there cannot be a positive outcome of any situation with failure to understand what is passed.

Military communication has played an important role in transmitting information, orders, and reports both in the field and at sea and between command centres and deployed units both in the field and at sea. Information is transmitted from superiors to subordinates utilizing the chain of command system. “The American Heritage dictionary of English language” defines Chain of command as a system where by authority is passed down from the top through a series of executive positions or military ranks in which each is accountable to the one directly superior.

Individual unit leaders exercise command by communicating orders and instruction of commanders to their respective units. Traditionally, military communication had been in the form of sending and receiving signals. "The first military comms tool was the communication automobile designed by the Soviet Union in 1934. The basics of the communications in the beginning was the sending and receiving of signals – which were encoded so that the enemy would not be able to get hold of any top secret communication.

Then the advent of distinctive signals which lead to the formation of the Signal Corps, this corp. , specialised in tactics of military comms. They evolved into a distinctive occupation where the signaller became a highly technical job dealing with all available communications methods including civil ones. In the modern world, most nations attempt to minimize the risk of war caused by miscommunication or inadequate communication by pushing the limits of communication technology and systems.

As a result military communication is more intense, complicated, and often motivates the development of advanced technology for remote systems such as satellites and aircraft, both manned and unmanned, as well as computers. Computers and their varied applications have revolutionized military comms. Fortunately military communication does not always merely facilitate warfare, but often supports intelligence gathering and communication between adversaries, and thus sometimes prevents war. Signal communication is basically a means of conveying information from person or place to the other utilizing indicators such as gestures and smoke. Signal communication or signaling has long played an important role in warfare. "This form of communication is greatly employed when troops don’t want to be heard or detected and it serves to provide a means of transmitting information from reconnaissance and other units in contact with the enemy. " The military uses signal communcations in many different ways and have done so since the beginning of the military.

Whether it be in the form of hand and arm signals within an Infantry unit to allow everyone behind them to know what they need to do at a specific time whether it be halt or stop movement, or to take a knee, to get down in the prone, to mark a rally point to meet up at. The list goes on and on and by using a signaling form of communication it allows them to do so without being heard by an enemy force that may be in the immediate area. The signaling form of communication smoke is also used by infantry units and other ground force elements to notify others what they need to do or the position in which they are in.

They use smoke to notify medevac of their position in case they have wounded or KIA within their element to be picked up. Ground troops would "pop smoke" and wait for the medevac helicopter to indicate what color of smoke that they see to know that it is they element in which they are intending to go to. Verbal communication is the most widely used form of communication in the military. This method has an advantage over the other forms of communication. It allows the person passing the information to interpret the facial expressions of those receiving the information being passed.

You can also use the web now days as a form of verbal communcation. With the addition of this tool the military has become even more effective. With this tool leaders are able to send the same message to a large group of people without having to take the time out to have a formation or a gathering of the soldiers in order to do so. This method has become the primary source of communcation within the military because of its ease and almost everyone has access to a computer and the web at some point during their duty day.

It reduces time in which it takes to get information put out and reduces the amount of time that one would waste by going to a gathering or formation. The people within the conversation is ultimately unlimited to whomever they would like within it and allows for multiple responses at one said time whenever they see the message and are able to send a response without taking them away from other tasks at hand and allowing them to efficiently transition from one task to the next.

Military Communication is a key to the success of everything that we do in the military. Here is an example of how the web can help efficiently pass along information in the Army. With communicating in the military it has to be clear and to the point because many times it has to be passed on to someone else and there can not be any confusion. Just recently I received and email.

It was to pass along what the Commander had worked out for the holiday schedule for Thanksgiving and wanted all the units to be aware of the days that we would have off and the days that we needed to post a duty also give us the days for leave that service members are allowed to take and posted a memo stating that if someone is to take leave on these dates they are not allowed to take leave for the rest of the year unless it was a red cross emergency. The purpose of this email so I can inform my team on the days that we would have off and the days allotted for leave.

My commanding officer was the sender and I was the receiver. The message was the days we would have off for thanksgiving holidays. The technology used was a milper messages which is a military personal message. All involved had positive feedback. The technology used was very appropriate due to this needed to be sent out to many units at one time rather than the commander looking up each email address and sending that out that way he could send it out to each unit and then the Commanding Officer can see to it that the message was passed to each person.

Another form of military communication is Cryptography. Cryptography is one of the most influential and important assets pertaining to government today. "Cryptography is the mathematical science of preparingcommunication incoherent to parties unintended to receive the message, or Cryptography is the study of methods of converting readable messages into guised unreadable information, unless one knows of the methods of decryption. This military comms method ensured that the messages reached the correct hands and eyes or ears.

Nowadays digital cash, signatures, digital rights management and intellectual property rights and secure electronic commerce are its new purviews. It is also being used in computing, telecommunications and infrastructure. " In essence this what this statement is saying is that when using cryptography you are required to enter some sort of passcode or password in order to access the material contained within the message. The military uses this method when it comes to almost any kind of electronically sent mail or information.

In order to access the Army Knowledge Online website which contains soldiers data and emails you are required to enter your username and password. The passwords the military requires people to use are some of the most difficult passwords to hack. All passwords must contain uppercase, lowercase letters along with numbers and special characters. Another form of Cryptography used by the military is the common access card. This card contains soldier data within a microchip that is inserted into an identification card. When using the CAC card you also have a 6-8 digit pincode that is required when acessing government computers or material.

Each soldier has a CAC card that is used to get throught the gate on each military installation. This form of Cryptography takes two essential things in the miltary and forms them both into one idea. Written communication is another form in which the military uses. The written form of communication is probably the most commonly used form of communication within the military. Military uses written communication everyday. Whether it be in the form of an email which can also be considered verbal or in the form of a Memorandum for record or a DA form 4856 counseling form. One of the most important concepts to master is expressed several ways: put your bottom line first, hook your reader, make it relevant to him/her. DA PAM 600-67 lists this concept first among its seven style techniques in Paragraph 3-1 and hammers the idea home again in Paragraph 3-2. AR 25-50 says "focus first on the main point" (Paragraph 1-45) and "open with a short, clear purpose statement" (Paragraph 1-46). " A MFR can be for the purpose of many different things. It can be used to give guidence of off limit establishments or be a directive on how a task will be carried out.

Beyond that there are even more ways a memorandum for record may be used but those are just a couple that come to mind right off hand. The DA form 4856 counseling is used amongst the Army. It gives guidence to the soldier on a monthly basis or whenever they do something negative in which his or her chain of command feels it is necessary to give the soldier a negative counseling. There are many other reasons for a counseling. They can be used for promotion purposes to give the soldier a guideline to things that he or she must accomplish in order to be recommended for promotion or reasons that they are not being recommended.

On a monthly basis the counseling tells a soldier how the soldier ultimately did for the previous month whether it be good or bad. The counseling will have special emphasis on what the soldier did well as well as the soldiers shortcomings, giving the soldier guidence on what he or she should work on the following month. The DA 4856 is an excellent form of communication between the Team or Squad leader and the lower enlisted within his or her team or squad when used properly.

Most people in the Army do not use the counseling form in the correct manner in which it was designed to be used. This is usually due to the fact that they themselves do not understand Army communication themselves or they just do not understand how the form is actually meant to be used. The Army is begining to go back to its old way and the ways that most soldiers have been brought up in the Army is in fact the wrong way leading to what is being known as Toxic Leadership and the Department of the Army is doing their best to begin getting rid of this toxic leadership.

Toxic leadership could be defined as someone that does the bare minimum or in the case of a counseling form would what is referred to as hand jamming it. Meaning that they pay no attention to their soldier but when something comes up and they do not have the counselings prepared they go back and write them and instruct the lower enlisted soldier that they are in control of to back date the form to keep them from getting in trouble as well. This form has become more and more common within the Army that is rediculous.

If someone wants to be in charge of someone they should take charge and do what they are suppose to do in that position not throwing their soldier under the bus when they think thats something they have done is coming back to bite them based on their own actions... They expect their soldiers to cover them but leadership is suppose to stick up for their soldiers not throw them under the bus. What kind of signal, what kind of communication is this to the lower level soldier? Not a good one and thats all that can be said.

To sum up this essay there are several different forms of communication within the military that all serve their own purpose to the military. There is the communication form of signal that can be used to signal different things from telling other soldiers what they should do next when in combat, to informing air support of your position via smoke or a VS-17 panel. There is the form of verbal communication which can be used to give a platoon or company of soldiers a safety briefing for the weekend, or just to put out guidence to a select few individuals within the element.

Another form of communication being cryptography. Cryptography allows one said person to send another said person a message or email or another form of typed material that you must use a passcode, pincode, or password to access. All forms of government email use this type of communication to ensure the safety and well being of the rest of the population of the United States. The last form of communication we discussed is written. Written communication is the most important and most commonly used among the military.

Written comunication can be used as a MFR or counseling session for a lower level soldier. A MFR can be used in different ways, it can be used to notify soldiers of off limit establishments or just to give guidence to soldiers on how to accomplish a said task that has been given to them. A DA form 4856 is utilized to give guidence to the lower level soldier on how well they have performed over the period of a month. Commonly known as a monthly counseling but can also be used as a negative counseling to inform a soldier of wrong doing that he or she has done to recieve the statement.

Negative counselings can be used in conjunction to ultimately punish the soldier using UCMJ action. All in all communcation is an essential part of the military. The lack of communication cause serious problems as well as just the lack of understanding the communication that has been given. Communication within the military is a must or nothing will get done, or get done to the standards anyway. It is imparative that all members of the United States military understand the importance of communication and excercises it on a regular basis on order for the military to effectively function.

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Communication in the Military. (2016, Dec 31). Retrieved from

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