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Does Military Culture Adequately Prepare Senior Leaders to Provide Clear Objective, and Useful Strategic Advice?
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
Current and past military commitments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and Vietnam have been influenced by military advice to civilian leaders over the past 60 years. This study examines whether todays military processes and culture adequately prepare senior officers to render clear, objective, and useful advice to their civilian leaders. The study develops and analyzes a profile of senior U.S. military leaders along five dimensions physical, experience, military mindset, Western mindset, and personality. The basic profile indicates that most senior leaders are elderly, white males who are successful tactical professionals selected overwhelmingly from the core of each service. They generally feel a profound sense of responsibility to defend the nation, which manifests itself in risk averse behavior when estimating threats to the nation, resulting in a strong inclination towards maintaining a strong extant military. They tend to have Orientalist tendencies and are endowed with a strong desire to control any situation they are a part of, focusing on direct solutions. Senior leaders are almost exclusively logical, principled decision makers who are good organizers. They work well within hierarchical organizations, tend to avoid organizational conflict, and are resistant to change. To overcome any negative consequences of the characteristics associated with this profile, the study recommends that senior leaders first become self-aware of the inherent constraints to behavior and action that the profile suggests. This will help the leader to consider the implications of his personal biases before thinking about solutions and making decisions. Second, the monograph recommends that senior leaders surround themselves with a diverse group of advisors who think both similarly and differently from the leader. By surrounding himself with a diverse staff with varied backgrounds, the senior leader will expose himself to different views, allowing innovation to take place.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE