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Enhancing the Strategic Capability of the Army: An Investigation of Strategic Thinking Tasks, Skills, and Development

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Technical Report,01 Apr 2013,30 Jun 2015

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Army Research Inst for the Behavioral and Social Sciences Fort Belvoir United States

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The U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences ARI conducted research to support the identification and understanding of strategic thinking requirements and development in the Army. Army leaders are given immensely complex and dynamic missions that have serious implications. The research revealed clear indications that Army leaders felt underprepared for the challenges they faced. The recognition that tactical and operational environments are converging with strategic environments points to the need to identify and develop strategic thinkers. The Army culture is not fully supportive of strategic thinking development. Creating a climate in which important aspects of strategic thinking e.g., reflection, learning, questioning are valued and promoted is crucial. Developing a shared lexicon for strategic thinking and adopting a common set of strategic thinking KSAs would aid in developing strategic thinking. Furthermore, the Army needs to ensure strategic thinking is developed earlier. Talent management practices could also be utilized to ensure selection boards value important strategic thinking developmental experiences. Further, strategic thinking assessments could be developed for promotion, selection decisions, and self-development. Finally, strategic thinkers must be placed and utilized in assignments that leverage strategic thinking.


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