The Causes of Writing Problems in the Army
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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Military writing has been criticized for being stilted, verbose, and ambiguous such poor writing is pejoratively called pentagonese or militarese. The army has made numerous attempts to improve its written communications because it recognizes that its writing problems cause loss of money and manhours as well as critical delays and confusion. However, those attempted solutions did not follow from a comprehensive study of the causes of the problems. This study identifies the causes of the writing problems of army officers. The thesis considers the effects of ability, attitude, and pressures on army writing. First, it seeks to determine whether the problems are caused by a basic lack of writing ability in the officer corps. The study then attempts to understand if the source of that cause lies in the education, either civilian or military, of the officer or if it is due to a lack of opportunity to acquire necessary writing experience in the early stages of a military career. The attitudes of the military profession are also analyzed to determine the general writing preferences and aversions of army officers and to consider whether the military evaluation system reinforces positive writing attitudes. Finally, the various pressures which might adversely affect organizational writing are examined to determine if they are operating within the military organization. These pressures are categorized as environmental, managerial, or personal, depending on their source.
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