The Role of Leadership in Self-Synchronized Operations - Implications for the U.S. Military
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Network-centric warfare has emerged as a key element of military transformation. Many systems needed to support network-centric warfare are technologically mature, but network-centric warfare also requires changes to processes and culture. This paper examines self-synchronization a key component of network-centric warfare and the role of leadership in self-synchronized forces. It identifies three leadership skills essential to self-synchronized operations the ability to delegate authority, the ability to communicate a clear commanders intent, and the ability to tolerate risk and argues that these skills are at odds with the leadership philosophy currently valued in the U.S. military. Using operation ALLIED FORCE, it evaluates why recent joint force commanders failed to demonstrate the leadership skills required by self-synchronization despite operating in a technological environment capable of supporting network-centric warfare. Operation ALLIED FORCE demonstrated the disparity between the leadership skills currently valued in the U.S. military and those required for success in self-synchronized operations. The analysis discusses the reasons for the disparity and presents implications for the U.S. military. It concludes that future multinational operations may impose constraints that preclude self-synchronization and network-centric warfare, and that the culture change envisioned by advocates of network-centric warfare must include realignment of leadership skills to match those required in self-synchronized operations.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics