The U.S. and Canadian Army Strategies: Failures in Understanding

  • September 01, 2003
  • COL Stephen Brent Appleton

Organizational conception and business practice share much in common with military strategy. The two areas of study have had a mutually supportive relationship for decades. Particularly since the commencement of the 20th century, the business community has borrowed freely from and refined military thinking. This practice has been in large part credited with the enormous success of the industrial expansion of the United States and Canada. Many of today's multicorporations gained global prominence from adopting and employing military concepts and people. But the phenomenon has not been altogether one-sided. Since the 1970s, the military profession has, in turn, embraced organizational thinking and business practices. This paper will focus on the military's attempt to assimilate aspects of management and organizational theory, as well as business experience, to bring direction and meaning to its present and future placement in the 21st century. More specifically, the author will examine the formal strategies of both the U.S. and Canadian Armies within the context of present organizational thinking as taught by leading institutions and utilized by Corporate North America. The author will argue that the penchant of both armies to internalize business concepts and strategies has left the two nations' armies in a perilous situation pertaining to strategy formulation and direction. Using current management and organizational models, the author intends to identify the fundamental weaknesses within the two armies 'strategies. More importantly, as both armies engage enterprise-wide transformation, the author will demonstrate how this fundamental weakness in cognition and application has the very real possibility of jeopardizing the relevancy of both nations' land forces.