We all know the direction our country is headed in is unacceptable. And it keeps getting worse.

The root cause of these problems is that neither political party seems to be able to solve serious middle-class problems such as stagnating wages, rising healthcare costs, and in some communities poor public schools and lack of career jobs.

Even more deafening than the back and forth between politicians and increasingly politicized nonpolitical institutions like big business, media, academia and ­Hollywood is the lack of solutions on how to get back on the right path.

Maneuver warfare shows us a path ­forward. Favored by Gen. Alfred M. Gray in the 1980s, it has since been adopted in MCDP-1 Warfighting as the Corps’ “philosophy for action.”

According to William Lind, in his classic, “Maneuver Warfare,” “The Boyd Theory defines what is meant by the word ‘maneuver’ in the term ‘maneuver warfare.’ Maneuver means Boyd Cycling the enemy, being consistently faster through however many OODA Loops it takes until the enemy loses his cohesion — until he can no longer fight as an effective, organized force.”

Maneuver warfare defines a ­well-functioning unit as one capable of quickly cycling through the observe–orient–decide–act, or OODA, loop because it allows that unit to effectively identify problems as they arise on the ever-changing landscape and quickly try various solutions at the smallest unit level possible until problems are solved.

This seems like common sense, but it is hard to apply in reality due the instinct of commanders toward a “no defects” mentality, which causes them to centralize command and ­decision-making. Or, a lack of trust of their Marines. Both slow down the observe–orient–decide–act loop.

Only combat operation ­centers comfortable with decentralized ­decision-making will allow units to solve problems as they see fit and win the battle.

That is why local self-government is so important for a well-functioning society.

Decentralized decision-making, i.e. local self-government or market-based ­approaches, allows citizens at the most local level (state, county or city depending) to identify problems and try solutions at a small scale while taking into consideration only practical matters, not political.

Keeping the problem-solving process to the most local level possible allows citizens to tailor solutions at the smallest level possible. Successful solutions will get replicated across society and unsuccessful solutions will get discarded. Then the OODA loop repeats with new problems.

Local self-government was how the U.S. was run from 1776 to the 1960s. From 1963 to 1968, Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society programs caused an increase in federal government regulation by five times. Federal government regulation is now 18 times that of the 1950s. The idea was, “Let’s get the experts in one room in D.C., let them centralize the information, debate, then solve the country’s problems.”

That method does not work in an ever-changing complex system such as a society or a battlefield, and anyone who has worked in a combat operation center can tell you why: poor/slow information flow from the forward line of troops, decision-making by people that lack context, poor identification of the proper problems and decision-making processes more wedded to political consideration than to practical considerations.

If we want to get our country back, the only way to do it is to return to a free market at a national level, then decentralize societal decision-making to solve problems like healthcare costs, poor public schools, career jobs and wage growth for the middle and working class.

In the same way that decentralized command and empowered small unit leadership allows higher strategic goals, local self-government solving its own problems brings balance to a top heavy system, allowing our national goals (like increasing GDP, national defense, healthy culture, spiritually and mentally strong citizens, mental toughness, victor mentality) to be met as well.

Aditya Atholi served as an artillery officer with 1st Battalion, 10th Marines, and is currently a captain in the Marine Reserve. He is running for Congress in TX-01. Learn more at atholiforcongress.com.

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed and, as such, the opinions expressed here are those of the author.

Marine Corps Times welcomes submissions from readers. If you would like to respond, or have an editorial of your own to submit, please contact Marine Corps Times editor Andrea Scott at ascott@militarytimes.com.

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