The Hidden Cost of Down-Sizing: A Zero Defects and Risk Avoidance Mentality
MARINE CORPS WAR COLL QUANTICO VA
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This paper presents a study of the intense leadership conflict that has taken place from 1989 to the present day regarding the role of individual initiative versus centralized control. The purpose of the study is twofold 1 to describe and analyze two separate, but related leadership constructs zero defects and risk avoidance, trace their origins and their rise in the military profession, and examine their impact on todays military and 2 to contribute to an optimum solution to this conflict that can be incorporated into military culture and values through the professional military education and mentoring process. The author contends that the force reduction measures undertaken from 1989 to the present -- when examined in the context of social, economic, cultural, and technological changes in the military and in society -- have resulted in unintended and unwanted consequences in the application of military leadership. Furthermore, these leadership deficiencies have contributed to reductions in overall readiness and morale and in recruiting shortfalls. The author concludes that the Services should reexamine their educational institutions, focusing on mentoring, communication skills, and values. In addition, they should conduct an examination of doctrinal manuals, evaluation reports, and promotion and command selection boards in which the primary focus is on immediate results versus long-term, systemic programs.
- Administration and Management
- Military Forces and Organizations