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The Case for Cascading Strategies

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Technical Report

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Air University Maxwell United States

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Sun Tzu advocated three maxims for understanding the reality of a situation before entering into conflictknow yourself, know your enemy, and know the environment. While it can be argued that the reality of the world environment has always been volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous VUCA comprised with wicked problems, the continued economic and social integration along with rapid advancements in technology reducing space and time ensures the indeterminate longevity of these challenges. In order to effectively maneuver and succeed in this environment, senior military leaders have expressed the need for capable strategic leaders. General John Jumper averred that leaders require deliberate development to grow into the responsibilities required of senior institutional leaders and commanders.This concept of deliberate development should also hold true for developing strategy competency, as simplicity of the environment decreases and becomes more complicated and complex as one rises in the hierarchy of the organization. Additionally, missions at the tactical level can have global impact. Therefore, understanding strategy is critical for those in leadership positions within the military, as they are the key agents for enabling strategy and understanding the direct, secondary, and tertiary impacts of strategy implementation not only on the battle field during conflict, but also within an organization during peacetime. Strategy skills require development at the most basic level, which translates that officers should be exposed to basic strategy skills upon entrance into the Air Force. While education and training are required, application is just as important and must be done in parallel. This paper will make the case that intra-organizational unit cascading strategies are critical for bridging strategic guidance and campaign plans within the military enterprise to enable a more adaptive and agile military force.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Psychology

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