Academic journal article Military Review

Leadership for the New Millennium

Academic journal article Military Review

Leadership for the New Millennium

Article excerpt

THE ARMY HAS UNDERGONE tremendous change over the past five years while simultaneously increasing the force's operations tempo (OPTEMPO) by about 300 percent. The Army will continue to change to adapt to warfare in the 21st century, and Force XXI is the process for that change. It is the Army's vision for transitioning from our current Continental United States-based forceprojection Army - capable of conducting operations in Somalia, Haiti, Kuwait and Bosnia- to a capabilities- and knowledge-based Army for the 21st century. Force XXI is the Army's process to harness and incorporate information-age technological advances. The ongoing efforts associated with the Force XXI process are well documented. Among all this change, however, there are some constants. To be successful in war and operations other than war, units will continue to depend upon courageous soldiers, excellent training and quality leadership.1 Therefore, rather than focus on what is changing in the Army, this article will address one constant of Force XXI and future warfare - quality leadership capable of executing 21st-century battle command. Because of the complex environments in which we will operate, and the wide range of missions our forces will execute, there is a greater need than ever for smart, tough, decisive commanders to lead our soldiers in war and other operations.

The Strategic Environment

The world changed dramatically after the former Soviet Union's collapse. As a result, the Army has changed and is continuing to change to deal with the new strategic environment. Our Cold War strategy of containment with large, forward-deployed forces has changed to a strategy of engagement and enlargement. Our National Military Strategy identifies three sets of tasks we must perform to achieve the military objectives of promoting stability and thwarting aggression: peacetime engagement; deterrence and conflict prevention; and fighting and winning our nation's wars. From a joint perspective, our strategic concept for the foreseeable future will remain that of overseas presence and power projection, which defines the requirements for the Army.

As a strategic service, our Army - with a greater reliance on the Reserve Components than ever before - must be capable of providing forces that can quickly deploy worldwide to fight and win our nation's wars or to accomplish various other assigned missions. This demands a high readiness state and versatility to accomplish the wide range of possible missions and to operate under diverse conditions. The Army is prepared to deploy on short notice anywhere in the world to secure national interests. As we maintain our current readiness, we are working to shape the force to meet the next century's challenges.

What has changed. Throughout history we have seen how battlefield innovations have revolutionized warfare. For example, the inventions of gunpowder, the internal combustion engine and nuclear weapons each served as a primary force for revolutionary change in the conduct of warfare. We have typically seen "energy-based" inventions serve as the basis for change, providing better ways of harnessing energy to improve weapon lethality or enhance battlefield mobility. These improvements caused major changes in how armies organized, equipped and fought on the battlefield.

Today's revolution is different. Now we are in the midst of an information-based revolution. The microprocessor is revolutionizing how we organize, equip and fight by providing new and improved battlefield capabilities. Operations Just Cause and Desert Storm gave glimpses of some powerful new capabilities the information age can provide. The future battlefield will have newer and more improved capabilities - increased lethality through improved precision; improved ability to mass effects on the battlefield from forces in dispersed formations; and an enhanced ability to find enemy forces while making our forces difficult to detect. …

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