The Engagement of Military Voice
Allen, Charles D., Coates, Breena E., Parameters
Distinctive operational competencies from the civilian and military sectors provide usable knowledge to both. (1) When military voice (in the form of counsel, advice, guidance, and suggestions) is given appropriate credence, unique capabilities flow easily back to the civilian leaders of the armed forces. When voice and counsel are muted or constrained, the information flow will entropy and valuable knowledge will be lost. Using military experience as case studies, this article discusses the principal form of error occurring due to the principals' ineffective engagement of the military voice. This is referred to as "The Error of the Third Kind--[E.sub.III]." (2) This article examines two sources of [E.sub.III]: principal-agent dynamics and administrative structures. We then apply the construct of organizational justice to the process associated with engagement of military voice. Providing examples of cases that examine the consideration of the military voice will inform leader-follower, advice-and-consent dynamics in the private and nonprofit sectors of enterprise.
Knowledge Transfer and Sharing
It is important for the public administration community--academic scholars as well as civilian and military practitioners--to take account of, understand, and appreciate the realities of leader-follower relationships with respect to voice dynamics. The military is the largest public-sector organization in the United States in terms of personnel and funding. There are over 1.5 million active-duty service members and 800,000 supporting civilians, with defense accounting for more than 50 percent of discretionary funding in the federal budget. As a public entity, it has significant impact on a number of the managerial and operational aspects of other organizations. In diplomatic and security endeavors, the military is the globe-spanning arm of the nation vis-a-vis its operations around the world. It often plays a critical role in terms of its contributions to best practices in public and business administration, as well as a number of other disciplines. It experiments with new technologies and innovates. The military has a strong training and educational component that develops its professional personnel (officers, senior enlisted, and civilians) throughout their careers. The organizations in the military are heavily invested in after-action-reviews (AARs). The AAR tools of the military are arguably among the best of their kind when it comes to "organizational learning." (3)
The military's distinctive competencies set it apart from ordinary organizations and establish it as unique. From the revised resource-based view of the firm presented by organizational researchers Jay Barney and William Hesterly, the distinctive competencies of valuable, rare, inimitable, and organizationally integrated (VRIO) capabilities of the firm are necessary for competitive advantage. (4) Transferring this concept to the military, we see that it has distinctive capabilities unmatched by other organizations. These are:
* Rare and Inimitable Operational and Tactical Planning Expertise: This competency is found in the military's unique ability in technical planning and executing operations. When given an assignment, the military will invariably perform the task with unmatched and inimitable efficiency and effectiveness, which can be challenging for any large organization. (5) This expertise is developed through education and deliberate practice in the application of military force to achieve task, mission, and policy objectives. As noted by civil-military relations scholar James Burk, the military exercises professional jurisdiction "defined by the boundaries of the domain within which expert knowledge is applied" and that is acknowledged by the stakeholders in national defense. (6) The legitimacy of military professionals is derived from development of objective and abstract knowledge for the field of military science. This legitimacy derives from the Constitution and has remained intact for over 200 years. …