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Field Command by Leslie A. Pray

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Leslie A. Pray
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Field Command

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Book review

Ever wondered about the difference between a sector of fire and a field of fire?  How about command and control, information and intelligence or drifting standards and creeping missions?   Is time on your side?  What is key terrain and how do you recognize it?  Should a tactical intervention always be considered a last resort?

What would we think of a doctor who had the latest and most sophisticated MRIs, CAT scans and X-rays but without the knowledge to interpret and understand them?  Sadly, that is the state of many tacticians in contemporary law enforcement.  It is somewhat ironic that in the most technologically advanced period in history the most conspicuous capability gap appears to be a lack of knowledge of tried and true scientific principles that can be dated back thousands of years.

This book is a first of its kind in that it introduces and explains more than 250 time-tested, tried and true tactical concepts in an easy to understand format tightly focused on domestic law enforcement applications. Critical concepts like initiative, tempo, speed, friction, fog, and surprise are explained in detail. Commonly confused terms with distinctly different meanings and applications, such as; fields of fire vs. sectors of fire, situational awareness vs. common operational picture, main effort vs. focus of effort, centers of gravity vs. critical vulnerabilities, proximate causes vs. root causes, and many others are both defined and compared for easy understanding.

The book is formatted to be used as both a text and a reference. For example, no footnotes are used to facilitate continuity and an easier style of reading and each of the principles is bold-printed and defined when first introduced. Many of the concepts are amplified with endnotes that provide the historical context of how they were discovered or determined. The concepts and principles are taken from tactical texts and military field manuals but are presented in scenarios that commonly confront law enforcement officers. The book includes more than 40 illustrations to elucidate and amplify key concepts and includes both a comprehensive index and "concept glossary" to facilitate reference and research.

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