Gustavus' orders are a model of which a modern staff officer might be proud, the paragrahps numbered, each short, crisp, and embodying one specific point; the whole in a logical sequence that is reminiscent of modern practice--information as to the enemy, intention of the commander, and method of execution first, then administrative arrangements and finally intercommunication.(Contrary to what some SAMS essays might claim, this format was not invented by the US Cavalry.)
We should note that Gustavus' writing was clean, simple, and to the point, unlike much military writing today. Some might attribute the decline in writing quality to the rise of bullet-points and cartoonish graphics in Microsoft PowerPoint, which is ubiquitous in the military.
However, Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Gen. James Mattis and other senior military leaders have led a revolt against PowerPoint. According to Gen. Mattis, "PowerPoint makes us stupid". Moreover, Brig. Gen. McMaster reportedly banned PowerPoint within his command, believing that it inhibits clear thinking and communicating.
Indeed, the lack of clear written communication has helped contribute to less-than-stellar performance on the battlefield on at least one occasion. During the Lebanon War of 2006, several Israeli commanders had difficulty understanding orders from their headquarters. Some Israeli generals issued orders which blatantly parrotted buzz-words from Effects-Based Operations manuals (which were rarely understood in the IDF). As a result, Israeli units were given directives to "freeze operational space" and to "cause distress" within the enemy.
I have no idea what "freeze operational space" means. I challenge Dan Halutz to explain this one to me.
The IDF should have stuck with doctrinal terms--"attack", "defend", or "seize"--which are defined in doctrine manuals and easily understood. This is particularly important when troops are in combat with the enemy--a confusing and chaotic prospect to begin with.
It's what St. George would do.