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Despite the scope and speed of societal and technological
transformation, war itself will remain a constant in which life, death, and
personal sacrifice ultimately determine victory in combat. If history is any
guide, sustaining an effective military culture in this time of
transformation will require the support of timeless values and resources
coupled with an improved capacity for rapid adaptation to changing
Lt Gen Walter F. Ulmer Jr., US Army
The 21st century environment is one of unprecedented complexity, ambiguity, speed
and organizational change. Conceptual skills provide the capacity to perform
effectively in these conditions. Leaders must become versatile, flexible, adaptive and
innovative to remain effective in the new millennium. The pattern of hierarchical
leadership of the past are not well suited to the global complexity, rapid change,
interdependence and multifaceted challenges. In the information age future leaders
will act in the capacity of facilitators, coaches, designers and teachers. The new
leadership paradigm is transforming the role of followers and revolutionizing the
design of organizations for the twenty first century. A basic premise of collaborative
leadership is the recognition that no one person has the solutions. Collective action is
based on shared vision, ownership, mutual values and respect.
The technological revolution is likely to intensify. This will not only lead to new weapon
systems, but information warfare which will change the nature of war. Today, effective
leaders drive change to take advantage of emerging technology. In 2030 successful
leaders will probably need about the same mixture of tactical leaders, staff officers,
and senior decisionmakers we have today. But without changing the way they are
prepared, there will be an increasing number of tactical level commanders who are
unable to take full advantage of new warfighting technologies or cope with
increasingly complex personnel problems, staff officers who are controlled by the
bureaucracy rather than controlling it, and senior level decisionmakers who are
captives of institutional decisionmaking processes. The world is rapidly changing. The
leadership team of 2030 is being created now. It will mature over the next three
decades. What we need is a clear development concept to guide its progress toward
2030. The human dimension of warfare will always remain preeminent. War is
uncertain, mentally complex, physically demanding, and an intensely emotional
experience. Physically and mentally tough, competent and confident, highly trained,
knowledgeable and disciplined, multifaceted, adaptive, these are the characteristics
of successful leaders in the twenty first century. The question we face is how to build
an officer corps for such an environment
In any Army, in any time, the purpose of "leadership" is to get the job done. Desirable
qualities and skills may vary a bit, but the basic formula for leader success has
changed little in 2000 years. Today, we face significant challenges none more critical
than developing 21st century leadership. What issues will confront future leaders?
What qualities and skills will they need to meet the challenges? How should young
officers be prepared for leadership roles? These are tough questions that leadership
needs to consider today. Personal leadership skills will remain essential for the officer
of the 21st century. Leaders must think strategically, impart organizational goals,
foster group cohesion, enforce discipline, and make pragmatic decisions in stressful
situations. There is no substitute for hands on guidance when training, motivating, and
directing people. Nevertheless, leadership will be different in 2030.
We are getting into Fourth Generation Warfare. Armed Forces at the lowest tactical
levels have to make potentially strategic level decisions as they carry out increasingly
complex missions in a significantly expanded professional jurisdiction. In addition to
traditional warfighting, Army leaders from top to bottom must be able to deal with the
increased political and cultural complexities of proxy war, CI operations, peace
operations, forward presence and engagement, internal security and disaster
management. Our young officers are routinely thrust into volatile, uncertain, complex,
and ambiguous situations in which more is demanded of them in terms of intellect,
initiative, and leadership than was normally seen during the conventional warfare era.
If we are to produce a generation of leaders capable of operating in the 21st century,
not only must the thrust of education change but also so must the methods we use to
educate. We must introduce innovative instructional delivery methods across a range
of disciplines around analytical & critical thinking, cooperative learning, mentoring,
case studies, role playing and simulations in order to produce leaders who know
intuitively how to think and make high-quality decisions. A premium must be placed on
leader development and decision-making.
Future Warfare Trends
Neither a wise nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait
for the train of the future to run over him.
---Dwight D. Eisenhower
Key trends in military technology have the potential to dramatically alter the nature
of warfare and the characteristics of the future threat. The impact of applied
automation and computers, electromagnetic warfare, brilliant sensors, and the
other technologies signal the rise of a military-techno culture in which time, space,
speed, and other fundamental conditions are radically changed. The future
operating environment will be1 :-
Less predictable and diversity will increase both within and outside the armed
Characterised by higher political/public visibility from media presence and
speed of communications. Increased visibility may result in higher potential for
immediate interference and critical scrutiny of leader decisions and actions.
More urban rendering some weapons and equipment ineffective.
Marked by more complex chains of command.
Having information overload. Leaders will have to make decisions at all levels
and sort out critical information from high volumes of data.
All leaders should have a shared view of the goals of the mission at all stages
and have confidence that soldiers have a shared set of core values and ethics.
Levels of uncertainty and ambiguity will be higher.
More difficult to distinguish friend from enemy; military from civilian.
Focus on knowledge. Most valuable asset in the 21st century is the knowledge
worker(Drucker). Wealth is moving from industry to knowledge and services.
How can we leverage this growth in knowledge?
Impact recruiting specially officers. Outsourcing will increase dramatically,
Contractors will be conspicuously present in the battlefield.
Interwoven with continued technology growth. Use of computers, cellular
phones and internet will continue to grow exponentially. How can we use these
digital systems for leadership development?
Fourth Generation Warfare
Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe.
For this would only cause resistance.
Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
Just do what needs to be done.
Never take advantage of power.
Generations of War2. First Generation war was fought with line and column tactics.
The First Generation battlefield was usually a battlefield of order, and the battlefield of
order created a culture of order in state militaries. Second Generation war was
developed by the French Army during and after World War I. It dealt with the
increasing disorder of the battlefield by attempting to impose order on it. Second
Generation war, relied on centrally controlled indirect artillery fire, carefully
synchronized with infantry, cavalry and aviation, to destroy the enemy by killing his
soldiers and blowing up his equipment. Third Generation war, also called maneuver
warfare, was developed by the German Army during World War two. Third Generation
war relied less on firepower than on speed and tempo.
Fourth Generation Warfare(4GW)3 has changed everything. It pits nations against
non-national organizations and networks -- including oppressed ethnic groups, mafias,
narco-traffickers and extremist quasi-relgious cults. 4GW is the chosen weapon of the
weak, the downtrodden, the criminal and the fanatic. Its evolutionary roots may lie in
guerrilla warfare, the Leninist theory of insurrection, and old fashioned terrorism, but it
is rendered more pervasive by the technologies that the age of computers and mass
communication has provided.
It uses all available networkspolitical, economic, social and military to convince the
enemy’s political decision makers that their strategic goals are either unachievable or
too costly for the perceived benefit. It will be nonlinear, possibly to the point of having
no definable battlefields or fronts. The distinction between "civilian" and "military" may
disappear. Tactically, fourth generation war will be fought in a complex arena of low-
intensity conflict, include tactics/techniques from earlier generations, be fought across
the spectrum of political, social, economic, and military networks, be fought worldwide
through these networks and involve a mix of national, international, transnational, and
subnational actors.
Leadership Imperatives4. What do we need to do to prepare our leaders for this
4GW? How can we provide the requisite education and strategic decisionmaking
competencies to successfully accomplish these missions? Given its expanded
jurisdiction, what should the armed forces as a profession be doing in terms of
education, ethics, oversight, and credentialing. Proficiency in 4GW requires leaders to
be able to operate comfortably in a decentralized organizational structure, lead in the
absence of SOPs or regulations, understand and thrive in a chaotic environment.
They also need to not only process a vast quantity of information rapidly but
discriminate between what information is relevant and what is not; then form logical
decisions. There are several new sciences that would form the foundation for the
reform of our current officer education system. Complexity, Chaos Theory, Network
Science and Information Technology should be an integral part of the core curriculum.
These changes point to another of the dilemmas that typify Fourth Generation war:
what succeeds on the tactical level can easily be counter-productive at the operational
and, especially, strategic levels. For example, by using their overwhelming firepower
at the tactical level, soldiers may in some cases intimidate the local population into
fearing them and leaving them alone. But fear and hate are closely related, and if the
local population ends up hating security forces, that works toward our strategic defeat.
That is why in Northern Ireland, British troops are not allowed to return fire unless they
are actually taking casualties. The Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld argues
that one reason the British have not lost in Northern Ireland is that they have taken
more casualties than they have inflicted
As former Commandant of the U.S. Army War College, Major General (Retd) Robert
Scales pronounced during a recent testimony before the US House Armed Services
Committee, “So far we have spent billions to gain a few additional meters of precision,
knots of speed or bits of bandwidth. Some of that money might be better spent in
improving how well our military thinks and studies war in an effort to create a parallel
transformational universe based on cognition and cultural awareness. Today’s junior
leaders require a robust ability to understand and effectively influence individual and
group dynamics across a wide spectrum of cultures. To arm junior officers and provide
them the tools needed to succeed as platoon leaders and company commanders as
well as negotiators and village mayors, Army training and education must provide
them an advanced understanding of human dynamics. One way to fill this new
requirement is to establish a voluntary graduate level education program, possibly a
partnership program with local universities, which provides young officers the
opportunity to study these critical skills while simultaneously acquiring the necessary
military skills they receive at training institutes. War is a thinking man's game and only
those who take the time to study war are likely to fight it competently. Soldiers need
time for reflection, time to learn, teach, research and write. In this new age of warfare
we must do more to prepare soldiers to think as well as act.”
Officer education and training for Fourth Generation war must be based on quality, not
quantity, at every grade level. The rule should be, "Better no officer than a bad
officer." Training Institutions must constantly put students in difficult, unexpected
situations, then require them to decide and act under time pressure. Schooling must
take students out of their "comfort zones." Stress, mental and moral as well as
physical, must be constant.
Generation X Leaders
Generation Xers5, born between 1960 and 1977, appear to have a skeptical outlook
on work, yet they possess certain qualities that are in high demand by today’s
organizations. As a rule, they are flexible, action-oriented, independent, self-directed,
technically competent and comfortable with the constantly changing nature of work
today. They strive for a healthy balance among work, life, and relationships.
Sometimes interpreted as lacking respect, they are often unimpressed with status and
authority. They are financially savvy, fascinated by the possibilities of technology, and
represent a culturally diverse population.
Members of “Generation Y, are born between 1978 and 1984. This generation seems
to thrive on challenging work and creative expression, loves freedom and flexibility
and hates micromanagement. They are fiercely loyal to managers who are
knowledgeable who act as caring coaches who can mentor and help them achieve
their goals.
Leadership Implications. 25 years ago, TISC0/TELCO was considered the most
valuable Indian corporation, whose primary assets were steel/vehicle factories.
Today’s most valuable corporation may be Infosys, whose most valuable assets go
home every night. Organizations that want those human assets to return every
morning must pay attention to the work environment and their leadership practices.
Research shows that “respect for differences in people” is one of the most important
qualities of a successful leader.
Today’s younger workforce embraces a style of leadership that emphasizes the power
of collective responsibility, cooperation among diverse individuals, sensitivity toward
others, and equal participation by all regardless of their authority or position.
Traditional “top-down” notions of leadership are least appealing to this group of
Americans. Leonard Wong, in his study Generations Apart: Xers and Boomers in the
Officer Corps, deems direct leadership by senior leaders as the main stopgap in
mitigating the Xers’ (junior officers) aversion to hierarchical leadership. Senior leaders
play an important role since the younger force desires interaction with senior
leadership. A vital step building this relationship might begin with how we look at
mentoring. Wong concludes that the heart of the problem is that “today’s senior
officers do not understand today’s junior officers or their perspective.”
Senior officers
would be advised to talk with (not to) junior officers. Mentoring should not be
synonymous with performance or mandatory periodic counseling, but senior officers
(not necessarily in the chain of command) taking interest in the lives of junior officers.
Of course, junior officers will be guarded at first, but once they see that the senior
officer is not doing this just out of concern for the mission or even the unit [but concern
for the individual], they will begin to search out mentors.
A Captain (now Major) used to be merely a small cog of a much larger wheel and
contact with a senior officer was rare. Today, a Major can be the pseudo-mayor of a
town. E-mail and the Internet keep these junior officers well informed of issues and
well connected with peers and senior officers. As a result, junior officers now interact
much more with senior officers because the unstable world situation demands it and
advances in technology allow it. This increased interaction serves to highlight any
generational differences between the ranks and often results in debilitating conflict
within the Army. Senior officers are aware of the issue. No wonder the Vice Chief of
US Army in a message to field commanders stated :
I need your help in convincing these young warriors that there is a bright light at the
end of the tunnel. Listen to their concerns, and let them know what we are doing to
address them. We know that many of their concerns are similar to those
we had as junior officers; so share with them what it was like when you were a
captainwhen you stood in their shoes and faced similar hard career decisions.
Contemporary Civil Best Practices
What determines your destiny is not the hand you’re dealt ; it’s
how you play your hand. And the best way to play your hand is
face realityto see the world as it really isand act accordingly.
Jack Welch, CEO General Electric
Peter Drucker, the writer, management consultant and university professor whom the
Harvard Business Review calls the "Father of modern management”, defines eight
practices he's observed which separate a successful leader from an ineffective one.
He writes,
They ask: "What needs to be done?"
They ask: "What is right for the enterprise?'
They develop action plans.
They take responsibility for decisions.
They take responsibility for communicating.
They focus on opportunities rather than problems.
They run productive meetings.
They think and say "we" rather than "I."
According to Drucker, the first two practices provide the necessary information, the
next four help convert knowledge into effective action and the last two ensure that an
entire organization feels responsible and accountable.
Leaders as Businessmen. In the future, military leaders must be world class
businessmen. Force planning will require consideration of all options including
nonmilitary alternatives. Tradeoffs that must be made to optimize force structure will
be at least as challenging as those of today. Senior leaders will need an
understanding of the budget process and knowledge of cost and systems analysis.
Those officers who have force planning and budget expertise will be prepared to serve
as senior decisionmakers while those without it will be relegated to lesser roles.
attributes needed in future business and military leaders are the following:-
Leadership and professional competencies characterized by
cognitive capability to work across a variety of cultures and understand the
impact of structure and design on organizational and team development.
cognitive capability to think critically and develop and communicate a vision
that fits within the strategic context of the environments in which they
The capability to build military and civilian collaborative efforts.
Character accentuated by core values and ethical decision making.
A comfort with taking prudent risks.
Emerging Competencies
It became clear to me that at the age of 58 I would have to learn
new tricks that were not taught in the military manuals or on the
battlefield. In this position I am a political soldier and will have to
put my training in rapping-out orders and making snap decisions
on the back burner, and have to learn the arts of persuasion and
guile. I must become an expert in a whole new set of skills.
- George C. Marshall
Leaders now must deal with an entirely new set of intellectual, cultural and equipment
challenges that were not present even a decade ago ago. These challenges plus the
advent of digital information systems that allow communications at rates and to places
never before possible and way more data than a normal human can deal with, all
require substantial changes in the skills required of leaders as well. Traditional
leadership techniques and practices simply will not suffice in years to come. Leaders
must therefore be able to think on their feet, make rapid and accurate decisions, take
the initiative, be more aware of their capabilities and adapt instantly to rapidly
changing even chaotic situations using divergent thinking to process enormous
amounts of information to reach an acceptable solution that will deal effectively with
the circumstances.
Figure 1 compares traditional leadership skills with those required for success in the
near future6.
Figure 1. Skill Comparison
Figure 2 below gives out the emerging competencies expected out of next generation
Figure 2. Emerging Competencies
We should be very circumspect of our ability to identify an adequate list of
competencies applicable to a rapidly changing operational environment The danger of
Adapting to/managing/creating change
Tolerance of othersviews
Leading with speed
Communications skills
Creating of new knowledge
Risk taking and management
Leveraging technology
Continuous learner
Honesty and integrity
Trust, loyalty, selflessness
Energy and enthusiasm
Team builder
Cultural sensitivity
Developing others
Cutting Gordian Knots
Mental agility
Critical thinking
Holistic/systems thinking
Thinking across boundaries
Cognitive understanding
External awareness
Communications skills
Negotiations skills
Political acumen
Building coalitions
Building consensus
Building social networks
Taking the risk to step
beyond own organization
Creating the Next Generation of Leaders:
Emerging Competencies
prescriptive lists is that they create the impression that success can be assured by
mastering specific competencies. The lists of leader competencies are actually too
comprehensive. The more we try to describe and prescribe a list of defined, specific
competencies, the more we lead away from the agile, adaptive, self-aware leader we
US Department of Defense summer study titled “The Military Officer of 2030.” wisely
determined that outside of a short list of universal beneficial leadership traits we
simply do not know the specifics of the kind of leader we will need in 30 years. It is
unwise to attempt to predict the specific traits that will be required. According to the
study group, the correct organizational response under such uncertain conditions is to
build in as much variation in skills and attributes as tolerable. The idea behind this
approach is that with variation you likely will have some in the inventory with the skills
needed at any critical point in time, and this gives the organization a population with
which to adjust.
We might well be better served by stating that what we really need are leaders who
are adept at learning almost anything very quickly, or skilled at recognizing patterns
and converting abstract knowledge to action appropriate for a given situation. Leaders
need to inspire soldiers and also be able to address the public and the international
community through the unblinking eye of the television camera. We must focus on
how to think and not what to think.
Adaptability and Agility
The challenge for Army senior leaders is to build agile, perceptive Army to deal with
both existing and emerging threats. One way to do that is to minimize bureaucracy.
Another is to keep the Army exceedingly close to the soldier and junior leaders in
every possible manner. The third is to listen to voices on the front line in shaping Army
strategy; after all, they are usually the first to see emerging threats and shifts in the
evolution of war. The fourth is to protect the mavericks, those who often drive you
crazy with out-of-the box ideas. The fifth is to promote people who support reinvention
and innovation and back them up with rewards.
We also should create Adaptability. It is defined as the process by which individuals
and groups decide rapidly, almost instinctively, to changes in their situations.
Adaptability is a cognitive quality. It cannot be assured by technology alone. Modern
technology increases the tempo of war, but it does not assure adaptability.
Adaptability has little to do with weapons, munitions, vehicles, platforms. Adaptability
and agility are closely related. Both lead to changes in missions, plans, procedures,
and outcomes, but adaptability is not constrained by a time dimension. Individuals,
groups, and institutions can and most often do adapt slowly to changes. Agility, on
the other hand, implies a rapid adaptation to changes in the situation. It is this need
for rapid, almost instantaneous changes that govern military operations.
Culture Change
In any change effort, culture plays a vital role, either as a facilitator or a barrier.
Leaders must learn to harness the positive dimensions of a culture in the change
efforts. Culture is a long-term, complex phenomenon. Individual leaders cannot easily
create or change culture. It is part of the organization. It influences the characteristics
of the climate by its effect on the behavior and the thought processes of the leader.
While strategic leaders focus their attention on organizational culture, they are also
responsible for the climate of the organization over which they exert the most direct
The evolution of today’s culture to future army culture and how to facilitate these traits
are given in Figure 3 below.
Desired Skill Set of an Adaptive,
Desired Skill Set of an Adaptive,
Self Aware Leader
Self Aware Leader
Comfortable with being uncomfortable
Comfortable with being uncomfortable
Adept at handling massive amounts of
Adept at handling massive amounts of
Possesses technical savvy
Possesses technical savvy
Able to devise creative solutions
Able to devise creative solutions
to complex challenges
to complex challenges -
Able to interact with indigenous
Able to interact with indigenous
Understands 2
Understands 2nd
nd and 3
and 3rd
rd order
effects of actions
effects of actions
have global implications
have global implications
Imbues Warrior Ethos
Imbues Warrior Ethos
trust and confidence of Soldiers…
trust and confidence of Soldiers…
Future Army
How to do it
Stress innovation
Stabilization and unit
manning will achieve
“what right looks like”
Army training ests need to
also become centers of
experimentation evolving
tactics and techniques
Risk aversion
Prudent risk-
Contributions need to be
highlighted and rewarded
Evaluation reports need to
focus on short term as
well as long term
contributions to the larger
organization up to the
Army level
Feedback loops
Rank equals
Change is
= adherence
to process
Change is
evolutionary = as
long as objectives
are achieved
Figure 3. Evolution of Culture
As the general became more and more bound to his office, and,
consequently, divorced from his men, he relied for contact not upon the
personal factor, but upon the mechanical telegraph and telephone. They
could establish contact, but they could accomplish this only by dragging
subordinate commanders out of the firing line, or more often persuading
them not to go into it, so that they might be at the beck and call of their
superiors. In the World War nothing was more dreadful to witness than a
chain of men starting with a battalion commander and ending with an
army commander sitting in telephone boxes, improvised or actual,
talking, talking, talking, in place of leading, leading, leading.
Generalship: its Diseases and their Cure by Maj Gen JFC Fuller
The new society -- variously called information society, knowledge society or
networked society -- is marked by four key structural changes reshaping leadership :
rapid and far reaching technological changes, especially the digitalization of
information and communications technology (ICTs); accelerated globalization; a shift
toward knowledge as the central factor of production ; and more distributed, less
hierarchical organizational forms with greatly accelerated movement within and across
organizations and sectors. In this highly dynamic environment, leadership innovation
and adaptability are critical, especially the leader’s capacity to channel the right
knowledge to the right people at the right time in the right place.
Leadership in the Digital Age needs new attitudes, new skills, and new knowledge
gained through unique professional experiences. In reality, leaders must consider a
system's capabilities and limitations. A leader should stay abreast of technology
trends. Major newspapers such as the Hindu feature good technology columns, and
the Internet sites like Wikipedia provides answer to most of the questions. These must
be utilised.
Advances in communications and computer technology are fueling a revolution in
civilian and military affairs. Military operations within the information domain will
become as important as those conducted in the domains of sea, land, air, and space.
The importance of leadership and individual initiative in both capturing technology and
exploiting it in combat environments cannot be overemphasized. Synergies created by
the use of advanced battle command and control systems, satellites, unmanned aerial
vehicles, stealth technology and precision-guided munitions let military forces reach
adversaries with fast, efficient accuracy.
These technologies are a double edged sword. The savings in time and cost that they
afford may be offset by losses in trust and effective communication. The rapid pace of
operations in today’s military poses challenges for decision-makers whose ability to
sift, digest, synthesize, and transform such information and communication into
knowledge, sound decisions, and productive action is severely taxed. Those
challenges are magnified by the difficulties of coordinating and managing at a
distance. Computers can increase the prospects for over-centralization,
micromanagement, and impersonal leadership. The tendency toward
micromanagement discourages initiative, decision-making and organizational
commitment. E-mail, for example, speeds communication, facilitates time
management and can enable extensive sharing of information in a short amount of
time. But, it can diminish human interaction, be impersonal, entice the micromanager
and place new demands on organization members for mutual trust, information
accuracy, and discretion in use of data.
Leaders must balance the need for physical presence with the need for speed and
dispersion and choose their medium accordingly. Instead of having one or two
channels of communication, leaders now must choose among several different media
for communicating orders and intent. New choices require leaders to practice and
refine new skills. Electronic communications increase commanders' span of control,
but the inspiring and motivating effect of physical presence is diminished.
Decentralized control by disconnected decision makers is different from decentralized
control by connected decision makers. Being connected is not enough. To be an
effective communicator in each mediumvoice, video, graphic image or texta
leader must have certain skills. For example, voice radios require the ability to
communicate without nonverbal cues. Since almost 90 percent of human
communication is nonverbal, developing this skill requires time and training. Using
video teleconferencing may solve some of the nonverbal communication issues, but it
also requires diverting bandwidth resources from other uses
Equally important is that IT hasten the day when the authority of the military
commander could be questioned on the battlefielda development with potentially
disastrous consequences. Instant communications by soldiers from future battlefields
raised a question. Newsweek asked years ago, “if soldiers can phone mom or the
local newspaper from the middle of the battlefield, what are the implications for
maintaining military discipline or secrecy?” To answer such concerns some
commanders will attempt to restrict the use of these communications devices. But is
this realistic? In a democratic country can one expect to isolate forward-deployed
troops from contact with their friends and families, especially when they may have
grown up in an environment of instant communications gratification?
Finally, the inculcation of the revolutionary technologies into the armed services might
create a generation of “console warriors” who wage war without ever confronting the
deadly consequences of their actions. Statesmen and soldiers should not assume that
such combatants will automatically share the military’s traditional values that restrain
illegal and immoral conduct in war.
The technology genie is out to stay. Leaders must learn to use technology or risk
being used by it. Information technology is no silver bullet for instant battlefield
success. Nothing will replace a leader's ability to think critically or inspire and motivate
through physical presence. However, in our effort to capture the leading edge of the
information age, it is important to remember that at night, in the rains, attacking uphill
in the mud, it is the quality of the leadership, not the speed of the processor, that will
carry the battle.
Education and Training
The professional Army officer must of course be firmly grounded in the fundamentals
of tactics, technology, and leadership. These are clearly the basics. But integrated into
officer development we also need a more holistic educational approach that imbibes a
notion of "lifelong learning" to the profession. Greater fusion between education and
training is needed. Young officers leading tactical units deployed far from higher
headquarters are making decisions that have far-reaching strategic implications. While
wars have become more complex, responsibility for those who fight them has
increasingly slipped down the chain of command to junior personnel. Yet these young,
inexperienced leaders have little time to prepare themselves to make strategic
As Army transforms to meet emerging security challenges, and we ponder new
weaponry, formations, doctrine, and training, it is imperative we also examine our
approach to educating our officers. The Armed Forces should place a higher value on
education and on its officers who are educators. One easy and clear way to
demonstrate this would be by increasing the value it places in instructer assignments
in training establishments. Of the 34 corps commanders who led the American Army
to victory in World War II, 31 had taught in the Army school system. They were able to
apply the professional knowledge they had developed over years of teaching into the
practical business of raising a force, training troops, and leading them successfully in
The Army should consider a broader approach to officer education and
professionalism strategy, as indicated in figure 4 below7. As an officer rises in rank,
his training requirements decrease, while his corresponding education requirements
Warfare is becoming more complex at lower and lower
levels, and our professional military education system must
continue to evolve to develop the thinking warriors the future
will require. I understand that the way your career timelines are
managed now, we can not just add more educational
requirements without relieving some of the other demands on
your time. I think eventually reconciling this tension between
professional education and other assignments required
for career development is going to require a fundamental
reassessment of what an Army career means and how
success is measured.
Congressman Ike Skelton
Remarks to Space & Missile Defense
Symposium and Exhibition Dinner,
Association of the United States Army
(8 December 2004)
Figure 4. Training and Educational Development
Every military leader, particularly those who practice the art of war, must be given
every opportunity to study war. Every soldier, regardless of grade or specialty, should
be given unfettered access to the best, most inclusive programs of war studies. And
every soldier who takes advantage of the opportunity must be recognized and
professionally rewarded for the quality of that learning8.
We must also foster distance learning, which allows us to amplify and proliferate
learning. Distance learning technology permits students to learn in groups, in virtual
seminars, even when on the job in some distant places. Officers should join a web
based community of learners from the moment they join the service. The military has
too few learning resources to train and educate its leaders adequately. The new
learning environment should center on the student, not the institution, with every
learning opportunity crafted to ensure that the right methods are used to give the
military learner just what is needed when it is needed, in a suitable blend of on-site
and web-based instruction. We must do everything possible to enable learning. First
preference should go to learning at home over the Web. Schools must monitor and
assess the quality of student work while minimizing the time spent in distant
classrooms. The creation of websites like and by junior officers of US Army to share their experience and
knowledge of OIF and OEF are well known. In spite of availability of all the hardware
and army Intranet connectivity our use of these tremendous resources is poor. There
is no distance education worth the name. Use of web pages of Cat A Establishments
to disseminate knowledge is missing.
Isolated efforts have been put by enterprising individuals. In Army’s Eastern
Command website on Army Intranet a huge knowledge portal named Eastern
Command Knowledge On Line has been established which is available to anybody
connected in army intranet. 16 GB of e material have been kept under different heads.
All Rand Reports, US Army Field Manuals, US Joint Doctrines, US Navy/ Air Force/
Marine Corps Doctrines, Newport Papers, UK and Australian doctrines, important
publications from US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute and National
Defence University, Relevant dissertations from US Army/Air /Naval War Colleges and
National War Colleges and important periodicals like Joint Forces Quarterly,
Parameter, Military Review, Armor, Australian Defence Forces Journal along with
archives are made available. Though College of Defence Management. Precis could
be put in the knowledge bank DSSC and Army War College précis could not be put as
they are all restricted. That the first précis of DSSC précis list is Administration of
Civilians in Armed Forces and except few précis all other précis are given to foreign
officers is another matter. Dissertations in all Cat A Establishments are available in
soft copy form. All Cat A establishments have respective web pages in Intranet. It
takes hardly any effort to link up these dissertations. Same is applicable for journals
like Pinnacle, Army War College Journals and other periodicals. The availability of this
knowledge portal is not known to the environment, usage is a much later issue. Indian
Armed Forces have to come out of their marked anti intellectualism, else events will
soon overtake us.
Some Questions
The Army is changing and we need to consider the impact these changes have on the
leadership environment Answers are needed for several pertinent questions including
what is now being done that is relevant to the development of the new competencies,
can this be done better, what must be put in place to ensure that the newly salient
competencies are developed in a timely and efficient manner and how can new
policies regarding career planning and advancement ensure that such development
takes progress in this area?.
Some of the pertinent questions on leadership development that merit immediate
attention are9 ;-
Cooperation and collaboration are becoming more important daily. Global
competition have different ways of thinking. None of us is as smart as all of us!
But what is the right mix ?
In business, the question of who is most influential on your corporation : a team
or single leaders, was answered in favour of teams 60%. How do we build
teams in Army?
Leadership is an action verb. It is not enough just to have great thinkers. Need
to have people who have great ideas and then do something and make things
happen. How do we best promote and apply these great ideas?
Three pillars of leader development (operational assignment, institutional
training and self development) are not the same size. Self-development needs
to be made larger. How can we best implement self development?
The key is the feed back to leaders in the Army, during counseling and
assessment, especially at the lower levels where we don’t do so well.
Feedback mechanism is important to get leaders back on the main course. We
do a poor job of providing feedback, counseling, and assessment. The system
has to give objective feedback. How can we improve our feedback systems?
Leadership science must translate to others skills; this transfer is the art of
leadership. Art is to visualize, describe, direct, and lead. We are getting sub-
optimal blend of art to science. Problems of combining the art and science of
leadership are compounded because there is now less opportunity to
experience leadership and we need to accelerate the growth of leaders. How
can we provide leadership experiences?
Army After Next Leaders will have access to more decision relevant
information than ever before, but there will be too little time to consider it
sufficiently……Subordinate leaders will need experience and expertise
currently enjoyed by their superiors. ….Part of the leader development
solution will require us as individuals and the Army as an institution to
discern and enable new methods. They may require us to alter or give
up some long held and cherished cultural sentiments.
Brigadier General Huba Wass de Czege
(U.S. Army Retired)
The explosion in information technology and the digitization of the future battlefield
create an environment where knowledge is a key driver of leader effectiveness. Tacit
knowledge is made up of the intuitions and automatic strategies, or reactions that are
built through years of experience and expertise. These new cognitive capacities are
radically different. Adaptability and flexibility will be key qualities that distinguish the
effective officer of the future10.
While the Army Leadership will remain formally hierarchical in responsibility and
accountability, its practice will become more collective. As information complexity
increases, the demands of the strategic environment will require the shared, “real
time” input of interacting top leaders. Commanders and staffs must trust subordinates,
decentralize appropriately and develop work-around procedures in case of
communication or data-processing failures. Information technology can help only if
leaders are willing to use it. Leaders must consider limitations and the dangers of over
reliance on computers. Lack of understanding leads to technophobia, in which a
natural resistance to change stifles creativity and innovation.
Just as you cannot learn to swim through a correspondence course, you cannot know
soldiers and soldiering from a textbook. As much as they help, you do not learn that
from leadership manuals either. You gain soldiering intuition by sleeping on the
ground, in the winter, when it’s raining, and taking turns with your men on sentry duty
at odd hours of the night. Few opportunities reinforce intuition better than drinking a
tot of rum with a lot of wise JCOc/ NCOs and being smart enough to take notes on
what they tell you. Army could best meet its challenges by taking on more of the
characteristics of a “learning organization”. This means a greater emphasis on
individual assessment, feedback, experimentation, coaching and mentoring. The
LEADERSHIP acronym can be defined as Learning, Experience, Adaptability,
Dialogue, Education, Responsiveness, Synergy, Humility, Intellect and Prompt
The question is will the leadership competencies and the leader development systems
that have worked in the past continue to work as well in the future? The answer may
be yes, with some evaluation, streamlining and possible additions
1. U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. U.S.
Army Research Institute, ARI Research Note2000-08, Thinking Strategically About
Army Strategic Leadership : Revolution or Evolution, Leadership Seminar,2000.
2. Col T.X. Hammes, USMC, "The Evolution of War: The Fourth Generation,"
3. Harold A. Gould and Franklin C. Spinney, “Fourth-Generation Warfare Is Here,”
Defense Week (October 15, 2001). This article is also on the website.
4. Capt Robert Kozloski, USMC, Leadership for the Fourth Generation:
Preparing Leaders to Out-Think Our New Enemy, June 2005.
5. Leonard Wong, Generations Apart: Xers and Boomers in the Officer Corps,
Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2000.
6. Sharon L. Riedel (U.S. Army Research Institute), Ray A. Morath and P.
Timothy McGonigle (Caliber Associates) , Training Critical Thinking Skills for Battle
Command: ARI Workshop Proceedings, 5-6 September 2000, U.S. Army Research
Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. Alexandria, VA: U.S. Army Research
7. Lt Col Paul J. Reoyo, United States Army, Professional Education: Key to
Transformation, USAWC Strategy Research Project, 09 April 2002 .
8. U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. Leader
Development: The Officer Perspective. Alexandria, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute,
November 1999.
9. Henry A. Leonard . . . [et al.], Something old, something new : Army Leader
Development in a Dynamic Environment, RAND Report MG-281,2006, available at
10. Lieutenant General William M. Steele and Lieutenant Colonel Robert P.
Walters, Jr., .21st Century Leadership Competencies, Army Magazine, August 2001
11. Col P K Mallick, Challenges of 21st Century Military Leadership How Do We
Train, Defence Management, October 2002.
Published in Defence Management, September 2006 issue.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Posing the most serious challenge to international security today, fourth-generation warfare (4GW) uses all available networks – political, economic, social and military – to convince the enemy's political decision-makers that their strategic goals are either unachievable or too costly for the perceived benefit. It is rooted in the fundamental precept that superior political will, when properly employed, can defeat greater economic and military power. 4GW does not attempt to win by defeating the enemy's military forces. Instead, combining guerrilla tactics or civil disobedience with the soft networks of social, cultural and economic ties, disinformation campaigns and innovative political activity, it directly attacks the enemy's political will. Over the past 50 years, 4GW has defeated superpowers in Vietnam, Somalia, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Chechnya. Each time, using protracted campaigns, the insurgents defeated the will of the enemy rather than his military. In sum, 4GW is political, socially (rather than technically) networked and protracted in duration. It is the antithesis of the high-technology, short war the Pentagon is preparing to fight.
The Army, as an institution must face up to the new challenges of the 21st century and transform professional education with the same urgency and energy it is applying to develop the Objective Force. The post Cold War expansion of the Army's professional jurisdiction has created a gap between the knowledge that officers receive during their professional military education, and the professional knowledge that they need to effectively complete the missions they are being assigned in today's complex environment. Traditional warfighting proficiency must be combined with these additional skills if our Army is to remain the world's premier fighting force. Technology alone cannot fill the gap or provide the dominance required to win. This paper looks at the strategic environment, and emerging challenges that demand changes in the officer professional military education system. It examines the Army's current approach to officer education, and makes recommendations to bridge the gap between the Army's professional authority and the level of professional knowledge they have to apply to their work.
  • Army Research Institute
  • Ari Research
Army Research Institute, ARI Research Note2000-08, Thinking Strategically About Army Strategic Leadership : Revolution or Evolution, Leadership Seminar,2000.
This article is also on the www.d-n-i
  • A Harold
  • Franklin C Gould
  • Spinney
Harold A. Gould and Franklin C. Spinney, "Fourth-Generation Warfare Is Here," Defense Week (October 15, 2001). This article is also on the website.
USMC, Leadership for the Fourth Generation: Preparing Leaders to Out-Think Our New Enemy
  • Capt Robert Kozloski
Capt Robert Kozloski, USMC, Leadership for the Fourth Generation: Preparing Leaders to Out-Think Our New Enemy, June 2005.
Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • Timothy Mcgonigle
Timothy McGonigle (Caliber Associates), Training Critical Thinking Skills for Battle Command: ARI Workshop Proceedings, 5-6 September 2000, U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. Alexandria, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute.
Something old, something new : Army Leader Development in a Dynamic Environment
  • A Henry
  • Leonard
Henry A. Leonard... [et al.], Something old, something new : Army Leader Development in a Dynamic Environment, RAND Report MG-281,2006, available at RAND URL: 10. Lieutenant General William M. Steele and Lieutenant Colonel Robert P.