Beyond Airmindedness: Managing Regional Affairs Strategists for Joint Strategic Effect
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB
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In 1997, Department of Defense DOD Directive 1315.17 directed the military branches to establish Foreign Area Officer FAO programs to meet service-specific needs. The Joint Staff updated and enhanced this guidance in 2005, at which time the Air Force committed to the dedicated development of Regional Affairs Strategists RAS. Although the services received additional direction on how to manage their FAO programs in the 2007 DOD Instruction 1315.20, the DOD did not prescribe a standardized program for training and utilization. As such, the Army and Air Force pursue two different FAO utilization designs single track and dual track. This study analyzes how these different utilization models affect the ability of political-military practitioners to transfer salient information back and forth across multiple social domains, spanning from local language networks all the way to military and government domains. Interviews were conducted with fifteen political-military practitioners in order to describe the differences in quality and application between the Armys single-track utilization design and the dual track used by the Air Force. When framed in the context of organizational innovation as pioneered by John F. Padgett and Walter W. Powell, the comparison between single-track and dual-track designs yields numerous strategic implications. To this end, three well established mechanisms of innovation offer a useful lens to compare and contrast how FAO and RAS utilization affects their ability to leverage strategically important context overseas by linking multiple social domains.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations