Developing Air Force Field Grade Officers for Joint Leadership

By Magruder, Lt Col Daniel L., Jr. | Air & Space Power Journal, Spring 2018 | Go to article overview

Developing Air Force Field Grade Officers for Joint Leadership


Magruder, Lt Col Daniel L., Jr., Air & Space Power Journal


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed or implied in the Journal are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government. This article may be reproduced in whole or in part without permission. If it is reproduced, the Air and Space Power Journal requests a courtesy line.

With the centrality of airpower in contingency operations, it is puzzling that more Airmen have not served in joint leadership positions throughout task forces and combatant commands. From Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan, partnered and enabled operations are catchphrases used to articulate current military action. The phrases are intended to capture the partnered, enabled operations the coalition is conducting against our enemies. Other than "train, advise, assist, and accompany" operations, American airpower has been the dominant form of direct influence in current military operations. For both, force finally counts. However, what our partners do on the battlefield is up to them to decide-a task for which American military ways and means are not ideally suited to directly influence. Critical warfighting functions that enable our partners' ground scheme of maneuver in current campaigns grind to a halt without airpower. These critical war-fighting functions are: intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and target development, mobility of troops and material around the battlefield, combat search and rescue, medical evacuation, precision strike, and ensuring air superiority. Because Airmen already perform extraordinary heavy lifting in current conflicts, it is reasonable Air Force officers should gain experience necessary for joint, strategic-level leadership. The historical record shows otherwise.

The epitome of joint, strategic leadership is embodied in the command of a joint task force or a geographic combatant command. Even if the Goldwater-Nichols Reorganization Act was designed 30 years ago to foster joint-mindedness, many issues remain unresolved. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) commissioned a "Joint Forces Next" initiative which reviewed the training, education, and experience required to lead in the future. Gen David L. Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, made joint leadership development a top priority and stated his intent is "that we can step in, and not only support, but lead any of those operations."1 Other senior officers think the Air Force has a problem since "our best and brightest are able to offer only tired and uncreative strategies is not as important as what we need to do now."2 While tides may have changed recently at the senior levels, in decades past, the Air Force has a troubled record developing joint force leaders.3 Until 2013, the service that prides itself as "strategic" has only fielded seven combatant commanders since 1947.4 Therefore, it could be productive to ask how the Air Force prepares field grade officers (FGO) for future joint leadership roles?

This article argues that the Air Force does not sufficiently develop FGOs for joint leadership roles.5 It begins to explain why the Air Force needs-but has not developedmany FGOs who become leaders within the joint community. At field grade level, the net must be broadly cast because we cannot predict who will develop into joint senior leaders. This article does not cast blame outside the Air Force, but it does highlight internal challenges. It may be underwhelming to some, but it does not advocate for Air Force leadership of current operations. Instead, it is inward looking, meant to spur productive discussion within the Air Force about our institution's role in developing FGOs as joint leaders for the nation.

Does the Nation Need Joint, Strategic Air Force Leaders?

While some may argue that the nation is better served by drawing on the talent in the Air Force, many do not agree with this proposition. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Developing Air Force Field Grade Officers for Joint Leadership
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.