Managing Transitions: Examining the Institutional Army's Transformation Following the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom
US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States
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This study provides a comparative analysis of the US Armys post-Vietnam transformation with an examination of the Armys recent transformation during the initial phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The research will identify those senior leaders whose constructive and positive civil-military relations enabled their service in managing transformation, which created agile and adaptive teams that were capable of adjusting to change. Additionally, effective transformation was built with sound doctrinal underpinning that informed the organizational structure and training initiatives that endured through the next war. The results of this monograph will show that the senior leaders who managed the post-Vietnam transformation were more effective in managing the reform efforts than the leaders who managed the defense transformation efforts in the early part of the Twenty-first Century. The post-Vietnam reform was developed with a solid doctrinal underpinning that informed the organizational structure and training initiatives that endured through the duration of the transformation and were implemented during the next war. The initiatives were built in a mutually supporting manner, which reduced multiple adjustments and kept the cost down as the Army completed the transformation. In contrast, the defense transformation of 2003 contained dysfunctional civil-military relations that consisted of micromanagement and an over-reliance to transform at all cost. In that environment, the Army failed to refine the capabilities-based network-centric doctrine to reflect the changing nature of war in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The flawed doctrine contributed to the continued investment and mismanagement of reforms like Future Combat System FCS, Modularity and Army Force Generation ARFORGEN.