Talent: Implications for a U.S. Army Officer Corps Strategy
ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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For years, the U.S. Army has given competency pride of place in its officer development doctrine. In popular usage, competent means having requisite or adequate ability, and in a labor market context, it is defined as an enduring combination of characteristics that causes an appropriate level of individual performance. Recent operational experience, however, clearly demonstrates the need for something more than adequate or appropriate individual performance by leaders. In an era of persistent conflict, Army officers must embrace new cultures, serve as ambassadors and diplomats, sow the seeds of economic development and democracy, and in general, rapidly conceptualize solutions to complex and unanticipated problems. These demands require the Army to access, retain, develop, and employ talented officers, not competent ones. This distinction is more than a mere parsing of words. In our view, talent is the intersection of three dimensions -- skills, knowledge, and behaviors -- that create an optimal level of individual performance, provided the individual is employed within his or her talent set. We believe that all people have talent which can be identified and liberated, and that they can dramatically and continuously extend their talent advantage if properly incentivized, developed, and employed. Whether it likes it or not, the Army is competing with the private sector for the best talent America has to offer. The domestic labor market is dynamic, and in the last 25 years it has increasingly demanded employees who can create information, provide service, or add knowledge. We believe that thoughtful, evolutionary changes can produce revolutionary results. The Army can transform its officer management practices from an almost feudal employer-employee relationship to a talent-based model through a series of relatively low-risk efforts.
- Administration and Management
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations