Bridging the Gap in Strategic Leader Development

  • Lieutenant Colonel Nelson G. Kraft

The 2013 Army Leader Development Strategy (ALDS), coupled with recommendations from the 2013 Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) Leader Development Task Force Final Report, provide an excellent road map to develop leaders for the future. However, there is a challenge in the development of strategic leaders that neither the ALDS, nor the CSA’s task force take into account; the time it will take to develop a strategic leader before the ALDS and CSA’s task force’s recommendations are fully implemented. In essence, a gap of time exists where strategic leaders remain underdeveloped. Bridging this gap is crucial for the Army in order to have strategic leaders in the near term. Additionally, a distinction between senior and strategic leaders and their development is needed to bridge this gap and improve leader development for the Army leadership that will face the challenges of the twenty-first century. This paper offers a strategy to fill the near-term gap in the Army’s development plan for strategic leaders serving at the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel and recommends a way ahead to improve the development of officers in the same ranks that have not been earmarked for service as strategic leaders.