Academic journal article Military Review

Leader Development for Coalition Partnership

Academic journal article Military Review

Leader Development for Coalition Partnership

Article excerpt

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WE HAVE BEEN in action for two hours. Operation Pluto started before sunrise. Afghan police and Hungarian ISAF forces blocked the withdrawal routes to the south. Afghan soldiers, supported by Norwegian and German ISAF forces, entered from the north.

The participation of Afghan, German, Norwegian, Hungarian, and U.S. forces in the hypothetical example above illustrates that the security challenges of today and of the near future require a joint and multinational approach.

Today the military contribution to conflict resolution ranges from high-intensity combat operations to security force training to humanitarian assistance. A soldier is a fighter, diplomat, administrator, instructor, and adviser. The operational environment's demands determine the soldier's functions. He coordinates with both governments and nongovernmental organizations. His missions are complex. The location of his employment is uncertain. Preplanned operations change rapidly. Environmental and cultural conditions differ dramatically. The time available for predeployment training is limited, as is mandatory training time for leaders.

Training future leaders for every kind of operation is impossible. Therefore, mandatory training must be prioritized to keep predeployment training a matter of quality, not quantity, given the short training time available.

Given the above, we must ask:

* What leader capabilities are required in the 21st-century security environment?

* What knowledge and skills do young leaders need for success in a multinational operational environment?

The U.S. Army and the German Army have a long-standing tradition of cooperation. Although the two armies are different, the challenges their leaders face are similar. This article discusses leader development and leader ship training and education in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational environment.

U.S. Army Leader Development

Global trends indicate that it is unlikely that a nation or social collective will attempt the unilateral use of power to further its interests without one or more negotiated partnerships or coalitions. However, both U.S. Army and joint doctrine and German Army doctrine acknowledge there are times where each will, and that retaining the capability to do so is essential. Other than U.S. domestic operations that will always be U.S. only, the preference is for coalition partnership. Coalitions are not new. Environmental conditions dictate the characteristics and purposes of such partnerships. Today the signs point to a future of vacillating partnerships of convenience with the high probability of a shift in coalition power bases.

Although each nation has its best interests at the forefront of its decision making process, the advent of new technologies is moving information at ever-increasing speeds, creating change dynamics that result in higher than acceptable risk levels. The greater the information complexity, the greater the need for specified capabilities, combined with national will, to achieve strategic aims. Like information power, the social group that possesses the high-demand capability will dictate the coalition leadership terms to the other partners. Incumbent upon all potential partners is the need to develop leaders adept at negotiation and the ability to understand foreign cultures rapidly. The rate of adaptation must keep pace with or exceed the rate of change.

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The goal of U.S. Army leader development is to create the conditions for the development of leaders who can lead complex organizations successfully. The Army does this through a balanced approach in the three components of leader development: training, education, and experience, as articulated in the Army Leader Development Strategy. Today's operational environment influences how the Army addresses each component. …

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