Perspective Taking and the Educated Operational Level Commander
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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The complexities of problem solving in the post-Cold War era replete with irregular and asymmetric warfare leveraged by organizations of transnational extremists, many with cultural and value systems much different than our own, require a new way of thinking. The ability to plan, make decisions, and solve problems in this environment requires, more than ever before, a robust capacity for perspective taking and the ability to understand, hold, and reconcile multiple perspectives on issues. This paper addresses how the problems facing operational commanders in the 21st Century will less likely be the well-structured or tame problems associated with the Cold-War era and more likely be the ill-structured or wicked problems associated with those incurred through the militarys role in humanitarian assistance, counterinsurgencies, and counterterrorism. This paper also presents human development theories that highlight the psychosocial competencies needed to address such problems and how military culture, including the underlying assumptions for what educational backgrounds predict officer success, and a military lifestyle, including long hours, the nature of military deployments and missions, as well as off-duty social networks, including military housing environments may limit exposure to alternative and diverse perspectives. Finally, the paper concludes that it may be the limited points of view that result from traditional education and military lifestyle that work at cross purposes to the development of the skills required of our current and future operational level commanders.
- Sociology and Law
- Unconventional Warfare