In the preface to the Army’s Operating Concept, General David Perkins, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, counsels that as the Army prepares for the future, “We must not be consumed with focusing solely on avoiding risk, but build[ing] leaders and institutions that recognize and leverage opportunities.”1 Indeed, the complex world in which the future force will operate demands that the junior leaders of today—the Millennials—be developed into tomorrow’s future leaders capable of exercising aggressive, independent, and disciplined initiative. Today’s Millennials, however, are coming out of an American society that has become increasingly uneasy about potential danger and progressively intolerant to risk.
The United States finds itself in a presidential election year that will certainly result in new priorities and policies. By the time this article is published, the world will know the results of the March madness primary elections and caucuses. Currently, the nation is choosing between two Democrat and three Republican candidates, with a real possibility of having contested conventions in both parties come July. National security policy and the employment of the nation’s Joint Force are perhaps the most sacred responsibilities of the commander in chief, and a central theme in the run-up to the July conventions. Army leaders are interested in the variance among the candidates’ national security policy positions and their potential implications on land forces.
Because the U.S. military's long-held advantage in physical capital and equipment is waning, cutting-edge human capital management is more critical than ever before. The authors of "Starting Strong" argue that by gathering detailed information on the unique talents possessed by each newly commissioned Army officer, as well as on the unique talent demands of each Army basic branch, the Army can create a "talent market" that identifies and liberates the strengths of every officer, aligning each with the career field where they are most likely to be engaged, productive, and satisfied leaders. Strong evidence demonstrates that this talent-based approach better aligns officer talent with occupational requirements while simultaneously increasing individual branch satisfaction.
America’s efforts in the war on terror have been substantial and sustained, with more than four trillion dollars spent, two and a half million military members sent into harm’s way, and nearly 7,000 service members losing their lives over the past 15 years. To date, however, few studies have sought to measure the effectiveness of those efforts. This study empirically assesses the extent to which US efforts in the war on terror have achieved the government’s objectives and concludes those endeavors have been largely ineffective.
Discussions of an emerging practice of “gray zone” conflict have become increasingly common throughout the U.S. Army and the wider national security community, but the concept remains ill-defined and poorly understood. This monograph aims to contribute to the emerging dialogue about competition and rivalry in the gray zone by defining the term, comparing and contrasting it with related theories, and offering tentative hypotheses about this increasingly important form of state competition. The idea of operating gradually and somewhat covertly to remain below key thresholds of response is hardly new. Many approaches being used today—such as support for proxy forces and insurgent militias—have been employed for millennia. The monograph argues that the emergence of this more coherent and intentional form of gray zone conflict is best understood as the confluence of three factors. Understood in this context, gray zone strategies can be defined as a form of conflict that pursues political objectives through integrated campaigns; employs mostly nonmilitary or nonkinetic tools; strives to remain under key escalatory or red line thresholds to avoid outright conventional conflict; and moves gradually toward its objectives rather than seeking conclusive results in a relatively limited period of time. Having examined the scope and character of gray zone conflict, the monograph offers seven hypotheses about this emerging form of rivalry. Finally, the monograph offers recommendations for the United States and its friends and allies to deal with this challenge.
The U.S. defense export system needs further major reforms to reduce inefficiencies and weaknesses. Although the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) do help prevent potential foreign adversaries from using U.S. arms against the United States and its allies, the Regulations, as enforced, can weaken U.S. national security in other important ways. For example, by excessively impeding defense exports, the ITAR makes it more difficult for U.S. firms to sustain core U.S. defense technological and industrial advantages, decreases U.S. military interoperability with allies that purchase ITAR-free weapons from other sources, and generates other undesirable effects for the U.S. Army and U.S. national security.
Experience from Afghanistan and Iraq has demonstrated the vital nature of understanding human terrain, with conclusions relevant far beyond counterinsurgency operations in the Islamic world. Any situation where adversary actions are described as “irrational” demonstrates a fundamental failure in understanding the human dimension of the conflict. It follows that where states and their leaders act in a manner which in the U.S. is perceived as irrational, this too betrays a lack of human knowledge. This monograph offers principles for operating in the human domain which can be extended to consideration of other actors which are adversarial to the United States, and whose decisionmaking calculus sits in a different framework to our own — including such major states as Russia and China. This monograph argues that the human dimension has become more, not less, important in recent conflicts and that for all the rise in technology future conflicts will be as much defined by the participants’ understanding of culture, behavior, and language as by mastery of technology.
American security policy rests on a three-legged stool consisting of defense, diplomacy, and development. As President Obama implied in his May 2014 speech at West Point, the United States is in the midst of a resurgence of diplomacy and development, as it seeks to leverage diplomatic influence, foreign aid, and multilateral institutions to solve the most vexing international security challenges. However, the dramatic rebalance toward diplomacy and development over the last several years has largely has failed. Rhetoric, official strategies, and actual policies have all aimed at rebalancing the three legs of the foreign policy stool. However, several factors point to a continued militarization of U.S. foreign policy, including funding levels, legal authorities, and the growing body of evidence that civilian agencies of the U.S. Government lack the resources, skills, and capabilities to achieve foreign policy objectives. Continued reliance by senior decisionmakers at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue on the U.S. military in the development, planning, and implementation of U.S. foreign policy has significant implications. Foremost among them is the fact that the military itself must prepare for a future not terribly unlike the very recent past.
Armed unmanned aerial vehicles—combat drones—have fundamentally altered the ways the United States conducts military operations aimed at countering insurgent and terrorist organizations. Drone technology is on track to become an increasingly important part of the country’s arsenal, as numerous unmanned systems are in development and will likely enter service in the future. Concerned citizens, academics, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, and policymakers have raised questions about the ethical consequences of drones and issued calls for their military use to be strictly regulated. This level of concern is evidence that the future of drone warfare not only hinges on technical innovations, but also on careful analysis of the moral and political dimensions of war. Regardless of whether drones are effective weapons, it would be difficult to sanction their use if they undermine the legitimacy of U.S. military forces or compromise the foundations of democratic government.
The main focus of this monograph is to synthesize the top research on leadership and leader development and to highlight the needs for developing individuals committed to careers of service across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The foundation for the research is based on ideas drawn from leadership and management literature, government doctrine and reports, think tank studies, and case studies. The Army has long sought to be innovative in its leader development. Most recently, the Army’s Human Development White Paper supports TRADOC Pamphlet 5250301, The U.S. Army Operating Concept, “Win in a Complex World” document (2014), by emphasizing the Army’s desire to become the nation’s leader in “human development.” In short, the Army Operating Concept requires that emerging leaders must understand the political-social-military environmental context, the defense-diplomatic-development (the 3-Ds) policies of the U.S. Government, and their roles as emerging leaders and followers in a variety of operational settings. Collaboration, not just within the Army, but across government agencies will be crucial to success in this complex operating environment.