The late Colonel John Boyd (USAF Ret.), America’s most creative military thinker, and theorist, was a self-taught mathematician and aeronautical engineer. His energy maneuverability theories revolutionized the design of fighter aircraft since the 1960s. Boyd used to drill “machines don’t fight wars, people do, and they use their minds” message into the heads of his protégés ad nauseum. Boyd’s message, which is central to understanding the Army’s fascination with the Theory of Management Science applied to warfare, which now permeates the officer corps, was that technology is subordinate to and serves people. To understand what technologies work and do not work in war, one has to first understand how people think and act when the fog, fear, and chaos of combat inhibit vigorous activity. More importantly, it is essential to understand that the very way the Army accesses, develops and promotes officers, as well as its focus on the individual is outdated. The current officer culture – its personnel system, which shapes the current officer culture, is based on an organizational model adopted between 1899 and 1904, and an officer personnel system which evolved from the need for rapid mobilization in order to fight the Soviets on the plains of Europe beginning with the passing of the Officer Personnel Act of 1947 – needs to change dramatically to be prepared to confront the challenges of the future.1
Today, nothing could be further from the Army’s cultural mind that resembles Boyd’s common sense wisdom. Technology is now an end in itself, not a means to an end. Doctrinal manuals and concept briefs even say technology – especially highly complex, expensive technology – will revolutionize the conduct of war. The historical reliance on technology as a substitute for a truly professional army is ingrained in a culture that prides itself in leading the rest the nation with its business like practices, especially in the way it manages its personnel system. The subordination of soldiers to machines has evolved over the last 95 years into individual parts of an ever-larger bureaucratic machine. The belief that machines fight wars and people are of secondary importance was exemplified by the official DoD posters commemorating Armed Forces Day in 1996 and 1997, which celebrated weapons and ignored the sacrifices and patriotism of our people. The high priests of technology in the Pentagon and industry (and their wholly owned subsidiaries in the media and think tanks) even have the temerity to construct a precisely defined vision of a high tech world in 2010. It justifies today’s obsession with “revolutionary” precision-guided weapons and all-seeing, all-knowing command and control systems.2
This chapter argues that the obsession with technology can not be disentangled from a methodical attrition doctrine that is turning the American Army into a contemporary variant of the French Army of the 1930s.3 Our heritage, dramatic events such as the Spanish-American War, and the shock of preparing World War II, along with simulation and modeling are at the root of this problem. The application of technology through an authoritarian command style constricts flexibility and saps the initiative that is needed at lower levels to practice maneuver warfare in conventional war.4 Most importantly, however, the chapter tries to relate its critique to the limitations of the management culture that now permeates today’s officer corps.5
This culture has evolved based on several complex factors, such as our tradition of improvisation in the face of war and how the officer corps conducted itself during peace, that led to and forced two dramatic organizational and personnel revolutions in the U.S. Army, transforming the Army and its personnel system into a “technical system.”6 Two periods, Secretary of War Elihu Root’s reform of the War Department in 1899-1904, and General George Marshall’s transformation of a scattered force occupying small posts into an army capable of fighting a global conflict from 1940-1947, are in fact, what prevents today’s culture from achieving effective reform. What has to occur within the next few years is not a technologically driven Revolution in Military Affairs, but a true cultural revolution, where thoughts, practices and the environment molds the minds of officers who are prepared for 3rd and 4th Generation Warfare, assisted by technology.7
Instead, our current culture upholds and practices 2nd Generation Warfare doctrine. It is a linear doctrine, soon enhanced by information technology, and a culture that promotes centralized decisions, stifles subordinate independence and autonomy. 2nd Generation Warfare advocates the use of massive firepower, calling for a strictly controlled battlefield outlined by detailed graphics. For example, both the divisional and corps graphics in Desert Storm, and our emphasis on teaching checklists and lock-step procedures at our branch schools and combat training centers, confirm this fact.8
Third Generation Warfare evolved during World War I as a German idea-based reaction to the Allies’ material superiority. It relies on groups of highly trained units led by well-educated leaders trusted to make on the spot decisions in order to bypass enemy strengths and attack his weaknesses. The key to the success of this tactical and operational approach was that the Germans already possessed a culture that emphasized the decentralization and rapid decision making by its officer corps to accomplish missions.9
Fourth Generation Warfare is an extension of 3rd Generation Warfare with no limits to its depth, no front lines, with targets going beyond the traditional type, i.e. military units. Fourth Generation Warfare is irregular warfighting skills/capabilities in close quarters combat and small unit operations among state/non-state actors. In contrast to the U.S. Army’s current 2nd Generation focused doctrine, 4th Generation warfare calls for a decreased reliance on firepower/attrition in ground combat. It also decreases the reliance on deep strike/strategic bombardment in air warfare. The officer corps that operates in a 4th Generation Warfare environment must become experts in fast-transient littoral penetration operations, information war operations, special force operations, political-military operations, counter-drug/anti-terrorist/anti-nuclear operations, and be prepared for increased occurrences of urban/suburban combat.10
Future adversaries, driven by the moral forces of cultural and ethnic differences, are learning how to neutralize the technological advantages of industrial-strength, firepower intensive armies, particularly in irregular close-quarters combat in urban and suburban areas. In Chechnya, Beirut, and Mogadishu, front lines disappeared; the distinction between friend, foe, and noncombatant became vague to non-existent, and simple hand-held weapons (RPG-7s), used by well-disciplined, small irregular units, turned armored vehicles and helicopters into coffins and conventional formations into death traps. The Intifada, armed with stones, reinforced by CNN, bought more for the Palestinians than four conventional wars with Israel. The main weapons in the Ayatollah’s arsenal, when he overthrew the Shah, were the moral strength of the committed and the audiocassette recorder. While the form of 4th Generation Warfare has roots reaching back at least to T.E. Lawrence and Lettow-Vorbeck in WWI, it is still evolving and is not yet well formed or understood. One common denominator, however, is beyond dispute: the premium on INDIVIDUAL INITIATIVE has INCREASED, enhanced by information technology.11
The type of revolution that must occur, is not technologically driven, but mentally, and deals with changing the Army’s culture. Part of the revolution is most assuredly technological. Whatever technology offers us must be validated and vitalized by human nature. The Army’s culture is defined by the way it accesses, develops, and manages its officers, and enforces policies that promote the economic advancement of the individual at the cost of unit cohesion. Such practices have been passed down from generation to generation of personnel managers beginning with the management scientific revolution, or the “Progressive Era” at the end of the 19th Century.12
It is important and timely precisely because the current culture uses the interaction of technology and culture to stifle initiative.13 The ideas of maneuver warfare, particularly Boyd’s theory of operating inside the adversary’s Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action loop, provide a way out of the dilemma that has evolved from two “revolutions,” and provides the Army the foundation for the right culture to prepare leaders and units to fight on future battlefields. Boyd’s theories are grounded on an appreciation of how the mind and body act in a conflict situation. Once we understand this, we can develop a personnel system that combines the superior engineering skills of the United States to match variable technologies to historically proven invariant human capacities.
The Past – The Amateur and Militia
There are four important periods that influence today’s officer culture. It is important to briefly describe the accumulative effect on today’s culture prior to presenting the adjustments to the current culture necessary to prepare the Army for the synergistic 21st Century. Also, it must be noted that each period is not distinct, or sequential, but overlap and influence one another. The first was the nation’s and the Army’s reliance on expansion and improvisation to fight wars. The period occurred from the establishment of the Continental Army under George Washington up to the Korean War. The second period was General Emory Upton’s and Secretary of War Elihu Root’s attempt to professionalize the Army beginning after General Upton’s visit to Germany in 1876, and as a result of the near disaster as the Army failed to effectively mobilize to fight the Spanish-American War in 1898. The third period began in World War I. Remarkably, World War I left an implant on the officer corps that would impact today’s culture. Furthermore, General George C. Marshall’s reactions to the expansion caused by World War II influenced the third period, which saw dire results in Korea and Vietnam. The fourth period was the Army’s reaction to the Vietnam War, and its dramatic reforms in the 1970′s and 1980′s, which effected almost every aspect of the Army except the officer personnel system. A fifth period must occur at the turn of the 21st Century that combines technology and the best lessons on how to prepare the leaders and soldiers of the Army to fight in the next century.
The first period was significant because it has left the Army with the traditions of anti-intellectualism, anti-professionalism on the European model, and a belief that when war came, the Army would draw on its frontier roots in order to improvise to overcome the adversity created by the crisis of war.
Ironically, at the end of the Revolutionary War, officers of the United States Army adopted their former British adversary’s aristocratic tradition. Attempts to change this mold by no other than George Washington was met by resistance from both Congress and the people themselves, who feared domination of the government by a professional class of officers. Washington proposed forming a professional cadre of officers and regiments in a standing Army. When Congress voted his proposals down in favor of state militias, Washington remarked, “the Jealousies of a standing Army, and the Evils to be apprehended from one are remote, and in my judgment, situated and circumstanced as we are, not at all to be dreaded.”14 Based on this decision passed by Congress, the Army would continue to react to wars as if it were an unnecessary passing phase, instead of acting as a professional force preparing for future conflicts.
U.S. Army officers would continue to cling to aristocratic notions about leadership the remainder of the 18th Century and the entire 19th Century. The Army’s officers were not united by a tradition focusing on professional matters. The United States and its new government were protected from professional adversaries, apart from some excursions and conflicts with the British Navy, by two of the largest moats in the world — the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Also, the United States government could virtually ignore its Army because it was not severely challenged by a social revolution as governments were in Europe. As a result, Army officers faced a range of militarily backward Indian tribes, and were under not pressure to develop a high level of proficiency. U.S. Army traditions expected officers to serve as models of courage and honor; they did not have to be particularly competent. An excess of either “cleverness” (intelligence) or zeal was bad form. The minuscule Regular Army officer corps would expand when necessary to conduct a war, and temporary officers were appointed. The primary qualification for a temporary commission, as well as for accelerated promotion in the Regular Army, was political influence, which more often than not, did not rely on professional competence. There was almost no socio-political homogeneity in the officer corps, and little possibility of building common professional views. Again, the Army’s police mission and the country’s incredible size influenced this with officers scattered in small posts throughout the country, and later after the Spanish-American War, in the Philippines.15
Officers in the peacetime Army in this first period spent many of their days in these isolated locations on recreation, sport, and social activities. Official duties occupied but two or three hours per day, and, with notable exceptions, there was little emphasis on study of leadership and other aspects of warmaking as in the German and French armies. “For example, Patten’s Army Manual of 1864 devoted only eight pages to the organization of the army, regiments, and companies, and to the duties of officers in peace and war. On the other hand, the manual included more than 200 pages describing and illustrating 154 forms required by the Subsistence, Quartermaster, and Adjutant General departments. The tradition of according high priority to complex record keeping has been a persistent distraction, even during combat, throughout the history of the Army.” As a result, when the Army was not chasing bands of Indians or bandits, it turned to the timed honored tradition of “looking good at the cost of being good.”16
The small regular Army and its officer corps reacted to the War of 1812 and the Mexican War with improvisation and a reliance on the militia. The former conflict involved a British military who’s primary focus was on fighting Napoleon and France in a continental war, while treating the American theater as a side-show. The latter war pitted the American Army against the colorful, yet poorly trained Mexican Army and its incompetent leadership; this allowed the Regular Army to win all of the battles prior to having to rely on arriving Volunteer Regiments. The Mexican War was also the first test for graduates of the new United States Military Academy (or West Point), where many were cited for bravery. To many officers and prominent civilians, the engineer focused curriculum with its emphasis on the details of minor garrison activities, instead of studying the art of war, was validated by the performance of its new officers in the Mexican War. Even the shock of having to create a “modern Army” for the American Civil War failed to wake up the officer corps to the need for professionalism.
As a result of the “victories” in these two wars, lessons regarding poor performance were largely ignored, with the small Regular Army continuing to rely on both a politicized officer corps, educated largely in engineering at West Point, and a state militia system. The militia system resembled more of a social club than a ready reserve. It was hoped that time would allow both to rapidly expand to meet the demands of a war. That war was the Civil War, and the condition and size of the Regular Army prevented it from putting down the Southern rebellion early, thus failing to prevent a long and bloody conflict. The Army of the frontier and its officer corps were only prepared for police work. The officer corps had to move from one that concentrated on the small unit level — i.e. the army of the frontier fought Indians on the western plains, bandits and an occasional excursion into Mexican territory — to one that had to learn the intricacies of large war similar to ones fought in Europe during the 19th Century. The cost of the Army’s attitudes and traditions against professionalism lengthened the war and caused unnecessary casualties at the cost of officers learning their trade. The only lessons the Army seemed to learn from the “last of the old, and the first of the new wars,” were again the wrong ones, as the Regular Army immediately returned to chasing Indians in the West and most of its veterans returned to civilian life.17
Writers after the Civil War (and even among historians up to the 1980′s) have garnered from the Civil War, the use of attrition warfare – Ulysses S. Grant was a butcher, while Robert E. Lee was a maneuverist.18 Nothing could be further from the truth. Civilian officials and officers misinterpreted Grant’s 1864 campaign against Lee in Virginia as one that seemed to focus on sheer attrition. They failed to look at the operational brilliance of Grant’s plan for finishing the war. In shear numbers, Grant took substantial losses during his drive toward Richmond, yet Lee, who was on the defensive, lost a greater percentage of his army in killed, wounded and captured. Grant achieved his goal. He tied down Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia, rightfully perceived as the Confederacy’s military center of gravity. As a result of taking away Lee’s offensive ability by constantly pounding him in Virginia, Grant freed up the remaining Union Armies to conduct mobile campaigns.19
Despite the success of Grant’s strategy, the focus afterwards remained on the defeat of Lee and his Army. Later writings focused on the attritionist approach and material might which Grant had available to push Lee to capitulation at Appomattox. The attrition theme is reflective in the strategy employed in all wars afterward-long build-ups, and train-ups, thorough preparation to conduct an overwhelming campaign. Despite an attempt by a few to move toward a standing professional Army, the evolving strategy of fire-power intensive attrition, easily adaptive by an amateur officer corps and its masses of conscripts, was coming in line with emerging business management techniques at the end of 19th Century.20
The Second Period – Upton and Root
The first reformer to attack the militia and frontier myths of improvisation was Major General Emory Upton. He was a prominent advocate of military professionalism, whose 1878 manuscript, The Military Policy of the United States, became “the bible of emerging American” military professionalism.21 His ideas were no secret, nor were these ideas confined to the narrow circle of professional soldiers. Upton was commissioned in 1875 by Secretary of War William W. Belknop to visit Europe and Asia and report on “the organization, tactics, discipline and maneuvers of the Armies of Italy, Germany, Austria, Russia, France and England.” Upon his return Upton published his reports and widely circulated book entitled The Armies of Asia and Europe in 1878. In his book Upton, impressed by the German military system, pleaded for the creation of an efficient, well-trained American regular army “free of the evils of favoritism,” a force capable of facing the best European army.
Upton advocated an officer corps similar to the German officer corps, examinations were used to determine entrance into the officer corps as well as for promotion, and officers were given professional education based on the model of the Kriegsacademie in Berlin. He advocated a general staff, staff-line officer rotation, and compulsory retirement for age. He also wanted the Army to create professional regiments employing a regimental depot unit replacement system. While the European army example was one reason to change, the mechanization of warfare and the growing great power rivalry proved equally convincing reasons to build a more effective army.22
To accomplish Upton’s goals, major cultural changes had to take place, and they would have to be tolerated by the Government, as well as by half of the officer corps that occupied the staff bureaus in the War Department. To accomplish Upton’s reforms, the Government and officer corps had to plan for the long-term commitments of men and resources, and this ran counter to the popular confidence in improvisation and heroics, so much a part of the American militia tradition and myth. Also, to build this professional Army, officers were convinced that they needed to control access to and mobility within their officer corps, privileges which politicians were reluctant to concede. To the soldier, the politicians’ insistence upon accountability was a clever way to defend the home turf or the pork barrel; to politicians it was the essence of democratic institutions to totally control the Army and keep its power to a minimum by preventing its officer corps from becoming true professionals on the German model. This denial of professionalism would not be challenged again until the Army entered the Spanish-American War. The emerging theories of management science would provide the politicians a comfortable replacement for solving the question of military professionalism.
The Army, and the War Department (today’s Department of Defense) were exposed to the theories of management science and the organization model of bureaucracy in 1899. As a result of the chaos within the War Department during the Spanish-American War, President McKinley appointed Elihu Root as Secretary of War. When the new Secretary of War Root made much needed changes to the War Department in 1899-1904, he adapted tenants of management science and the bureaucratic organizational model, as well as pushing for reforms advocated by Upton, such as a General Staff on the German Model.23
Secretary of War Root introduced the management science used by the Pennsylvania Railroad into the Army and the Navy. In the 1890′s the Pennsylvania Railroad was larger than the Army, Navy and Marine Corps put together. The politicians, and the public at large, looked at the cultural prestige of these first great businesses as having the answers at solving any problem, including military ones. The managerial revolution was embodied in the railroads and was the driving force of Root’s reorganization.24
The so-called management science is based on philosophical assumptions called “ethical egoism” that regards as true and proven that individuals are motivated by self-interest – variously packaged as positive incentives of money, pleasure, advancement, distinction, power, luxurious prestige goods and amenities or negatively as self-preservation. Accompanying management science is another philosophic assumption that only the individual person is real and those social entities is “merely” built up out of them.25
Root also brought with him officers who rode the wave of the “bureaucratic revolution” sweeping the country at that time. Army reformers felt in order to pass-on their desired changes through Congress; they needed to ride the “Progressive Era.” The new Army and its new officers would base their efforts on the thesis that “military problems, like corporate and public problems, could be solved through effective organization and management.” This effort internally was just a larger reflection of the “era’s general groping towards a satisfactory expression of the bureaucratic method of administration and control.”26
Root’s reforms did eliminate serious defects that plagued the Army, yet by viewing and understanding the longer lasting impacts on professionalism wrought by these reforms, we can understand why the Army has only implemented minor reforms on itself in the last fifty years. The larger and longer cost of transforming the Army officer corps from a profession with in an institution to a “specialized work force” can be assessed by viewing this transition from an organizational prospective. Our Army’s personnel system has evolved and currently provides an example of what Samuel P. Hays has called a “technical system” – a centralized bureaucratic mechanism for molding “highly specialized individuals” into a “coordinated work force.”27
The legacies of this culture had its immediate effect in World War I. It was management science, explicitly Taylorism, led the Army to change from a unit-based system for replacing casualties, as advocated by Emory Upton, to an individual replacement system. By the middle of the Korean War, based on the belief that it was one of the reasons behind its victory in World War II, the Army had enough computer power to treat every soldier as an individual item of inventory in order to implement an individual rotation policy. Root’s reforms, while dramatic, contradicted what Upton had advocated when mixed with the emerging culture of management science. It did not deliver the professional Army based on a European model, but one based on the American ideas of an Army, which revolved around the advancement of the individual.28
Root’s reforms paid short-term dividends, as America was able to mobilize and deploy an army to fight in Europe in 1917. The new General Staff advocated by Upton, and pushed by Root in the General Staff Act of 1903 made this possible. However, with the closure of World War I, American traditions of resistance toward a standing army and needed professionalism again took hold. All that remained of Root’s ambitious reforms was a War Plans division and smaller versions of the General Staff system that had filtered down to battalions, which consisted of specialized sections involving personnel, intelligence, operations and logistics. Stern selections and separate career paths within the staff were also abolished. The American model was a watered down version of the German model in order to create fairness for the individual officer and eliminate the perception of elitism. Thus, the American version of the General Staff eliminated the very items that made the German model so successful strenuous entrance requirements and cohesion.29
At the end of World War I, the Army once again returned to its to time honored practices of politically appointing and promoting officers, as it shrunk twenty-fold to 14,000 officers and 120,000 enlisted men. While Root’s reforms were effective in centralizing the staff bureaus at the War Department, the Army suffered the inter-war years with branch infighting that in effect stifled and reversed the progress began by Root. Of all the modern armies of the time, the U.S. Army did little or no innovating in the inter-war years to prepare for the next war. The wishes of Upton — to transform the officer corps into one that mirrored the techniques used by the Germans — was washed away by the Allied victory in World War I.30
The Third Period – The Hand of George C. Marshall
The officer corps did walk away from World War I with three practices that would be passed on, solidified in the inter-war period, and almost impossible to break traditions in light of the victory in World War II.31 First was an authoritarian style of leadership. The rapid expansion of the Army in size and in responsibility for officers was beyond the competence of most individuals. Adapting an authoritarian approach was secure and hid the flaws as rapidly promoted pre-war regular officers had to direct the operations of thousands of amateurs led by amateurs.32 The next legacy was the Army’s adaptation of a doctrine of intense supporting firepower from the French. The doctrine was refined and called fire and movement tactics, and relied on the simple process of one unit firing, while another moves forward, supported by massed indirect fires. The tactics of fire and movement warfare are largely linear, and parallel to the proven business practices of the day, were centrally controlled.33 Finally, shaped by a force structure that limited the Army to 89 divisions, the Army institutionalized the practice of using individual replacements from World War I. The Army went into World War I planning to use unit replacements with one division in the United States supporting two divisions in France, but by the time units were committed to the fighting in 1918, attrition occurred so rapidly, that enough time did not exist to train new units to replace existing units.34 Instead of using the inter-war period to study the lessons from World War I to improve on replace these legacies, the Army officer corps sat stagnant under a strain of no money, and a public and Congress that drifted into isolationism.
Entering into World War II, Marshall was forced to create an Army from scratch. His accomplishment of creating a victorious Army from amateurs, equipping, training, and moving it overseas to fight and defeat the Axis powers left a lasting impression in his mind; he would not allow the Army to exist in a state of unprepardeness. He felt the officer system that existed prior to World War II was to blame, and rightly so, the officer system had regressed to one that did not rely on evaluations or examinations to determine entrance into its ranks or potential for command. Short of committing a capital offense, poor officers could not be dismissed from service. For example, he had to relieve 500 hundred senior field grade officers and general officers, which were incapable of assuming field commands because they were too old, and replace them with younger officers.35
Immediately after World War II, Marshall and other senior Army officers began to examine what it would take not to repeat the mistakes that occurred at the beginning of the Army’s expansion for World War II. Marshall was concerned with preparing the Army for an immediate confrontation with the Soviet Union and its allies on the plains of Central Europe. The Army would not have three years, as it did at the beginning of World War II to build-up and train-up for war.
As a result of testimonies by such prominent generals as Marshall and Eisenhower before Congress, as well as the mood of the Country, which held the view that everything that came out of World War II was sanctified by the glow of victory and moral purity of a crusade against evil, the Officer Personnel Act of 1947 (OPA) was passed. It was the first piece of significant legislation effecting officers that came out of Congress since the passing of the Navy Personnel Act of 1916.36 OPA would come to signify the faulty perceptions of senior leaders who considered the status of the United States to be superior to any future opponents. Thus, we could afford to be revolutionary in our pursuit of personnel laws and policies that favored the individual and bucked time proven measures that advocated cohesion.
OPA included three parts. First, it significantly increased the size of the officer corps at the middle and senior grades. Marshall felt that it was necessary for the Army (the entire military) to be able to expand fast to fight an all out land war in Europe. Second, OPA adapted the use of the “up-or-out” promotion system, where, if an officer was passed over for promotion, he was forced out. This aspect, in Marshall’s eyes, would prevent the stagnation of the officer corps by maintaining a “youthful and vigorous” corps of officers. Finally, to ensure that a steady stream of officers was maintained to keep “up-or-out” working, a 20-year “all-or-nothing” retirement was implemented. Congress also had some play in this aspect of the measure to ensure, not only officers, but all service members would receive compensation for their services, as well as easing their transition into a civilian career.37 The passing of OPA also appeared to Congress and the public of emphasizing the importance of the individual and fit the backlash of anti-militarism that swept the country after World War II.38
OPA had several flaws, when combined with the culture of management science that had been emerging since the turn of the century, which would riddle the Army with problems under the stress of combat. OPA institutionalized individual competition in “up or out” and set in stone the “all or nothing” twenty year pension. This stood in contrast to the military cultures of successful armies that emphasized powerful intrinsic rewards in a community of shared effort. The value pattern of the new officer corps would require that all gratification come from institutionally rewards of money, prestige, and power. A culture based on system analysis of tangibles could not understand any rewards that came from solidarity and were deemed irrational and suspect.
Another aspect from management science built into OPA was the notion of the officer as a general manager, whose competence did not have to be anything in particular, other than management itself. Marshall and other generals also believed that the best way to prepare for war was to make every officer a “generalist.” Those who had risen rapidly in the outset of World War II had held a variety of positions in the pre-war Army. Marshall, and succeeding Chiefs of Staffs of the Army began directing personnel managers to formulate Army policies that moved officers around frequently, so they received a lot of experience in a multitude of positions, always emphasizing the need to prepare for more responsibility at the highest levels of command. They also began to send instructions to promotion and selection boards to look for a wealth of experience at numerous positions and duties. When the next war came with the Soviet Union, and Army once again expanded to millions, its officers would have limited experience in a wide variety of jobs to lead the new formations.39
Division of labor so beloved of management of science applied through the bureaucratic organization declared the functional specificity of the general manager to be general management – organization, communication, goal setting, division of labor, delegating, motivating through management of incentives and punishments, and recruiting. “Merely technical” competencies could be delegated. “Merely technical” has meant specifically military competencies like understanding the art of tactics – maneuvering combined arms units under fire – and making decisions. There is a great deal to study and practice at every level of the military that is specifically military in its content. These skills and competencies are perishable, like a surgeon’s skills. Yet, based on the drive to create “generalists” and the results of the Doolittle Board, which stressed more equality in the way the Army conducted its personnel business, “career equality” became the newest tradition in the Army personnel business.40
“Career equality” meant that every officer would get an equal chance with the same amount of time at “critical” positions. Under the rigid management system that would evolve from 1947 to present day, it would be essential to give officers the “right” jobs to get promoted. In fact, “career equality” combined with the bloated officer corps, undercuts readiness. No officer spends enough time with troops for real trust based on going through strenuous missions or training events together to develop between leader and led. Well-founded trust is the best kind of vertical cohesion, and structurally, by the policies developed to support “career equality” and “up or out” promotion system, the Army prevents it from forming. Personnel managers and senior leaders regard too great an emphasis on such specific military competencies that relate to gaining proficiency in the art of war, as “unfair” and impairing “career equality” for the bloated ranks of the officer corps.
The first test and failings of OPA and its influence on Army personnel policies relating to the individual and fairness occurred under the test of combat in Korea. At the Chosin Reservoir in Korea in the first week of December 1950, the Army’s 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT) of the 7th Infantry Division was destroyed. The specifics are all that more horrifying with one in ten of the RCT’s 3300 soldiers coming out capable of continuing to fight. Furthermore, not one organized unit was able to function after the 7th Infantry was evacuated from Wonsan. The RCT, and most of the division for that matter, would have to be rebuilt because all of its artillery, vehicles, and crew served weapons were left behind as were nearly half of the troops, captured, dead, and wounded. On the west side of the Reservoir, in the same terrain, with the same equipment, against the same ratios of Chinese troops, as well as fighting in the same horrible weather, the Marines fought their way out of the Chinese envelopment. They brought out almost all their artillery and vehicles, all of their wounded. Their losses were bad at 50%, but only two companies out of the two regiments in the 1st Marine Division had ceased to function as effective combat units. The division would be rebuilt in a short time and act as the 8th Army operational reserve within weeks of its evacuation from Wonsan.41
The principle difference did not lie in training, it did not lie in institutional pride, or from the Chinese massing on the Army unit while ignoring the Marine unit – they attempted to encircle both formations with equal sized forces and intent – it lie with the differences in personnel policies. The Army assigned officers to battalion and above on the basis of career “equality.” Most of the officers the Army assigned had not held previous commands, and had served lengthy times on higher level staffs or as aid-de-camps. Only one in four of the Army battalion commanders had previous combat commands. In contrast, the Marines assigned senior combat commands to officers who had previously commanded in combat at the same or next lower level. Three of four of the Marine commanders at battalion level and higher had previous combat experience in command.42 Combat in command in war, and combat training in peacetime are not “general management.” At Chosin, the Marine officers had specific technical competencies that the Army leaders did not. It is not that the Army didn’t have leaders who had them, it’s that the Army didn’t assign them to command. Equality in policies was not the only practice that hampered the Army throughout the Korean War.43
Despite the uproar from many veterans who had served in front line infantry units in World War II on how worthless the individual replacement system was, it was again put into practice in Korea. By the Korean War the Army had institutionalized the practice of rotating individuals, instead of units into combat based on the theory of mechanical metaphor. Individual soldiers had become technically trained in specific tasks and had become regarded by personnel managers as replaceable parts under the policies of “equality.” There was nothing equal or fair about sending individuals to war with strangers. General Donn Starry USA (ret.) relates how in Korea “these new replacements would arrive in the evening with supper, and leave in the morning in body bags when breakfast arrived.”44 This could be even worse in regard to new officers arriving with only their seventeen weeks of training they had received prior to leaving the United States. What occurred in Korea, but tended to be overlooked after the war because stabilization allowed firepower and technology to hide the weaknesses of these policies, was that a small unit has to be stabilized and trained together for a long period. The emphasis learned at business schools regarding the mechanical metaphor is even more worthless, because everyone needs to know everyone else’s job, they need to know what soldier or leader can do the job; they can read the others mind, and give you the end result or solution before the leaders ask.45 By the end of the Korean War some senior leaders began to see the weaknesses in these policies of equality, more so the larger evolution of the management culture.
Chief of Staff of the Army General Matthew Ridgway’s dispute with President Eisenhower was over more than his nuclear deterrence policy called “New Look.” It was with the force behind the policy that Ridgway had contention. He saw the downfalls of the culture of management science, and where its new bureaucratic trained officers would lead the nation. Ridgway, who had previously served as Commander of 8th Army Korea, was a gifted and brilliant leader who understood unit cohesion and leadership. That is why Ridgway stated shortly after resigning as Chief of Staff, that one of his proudest legacies is that he protected the mavericks. Ridgway saw the blind faith in nuclear delivery systems as our first defense and security priority would create adverse conditions, situations, and circumstances when the Army would be forced to fight conventional wars. The Joint Chiefs of Staff’s focus became quantitative rather than qualitative challenge in wars, which favored the technically oriented Air Force and Navy, with the Army the low man on priorities. The Army would be forced to carry the brunt in future conventional wars. Thus, the real danger in where the “new” culture was leading the Army is that it would be committed on the assumption that means (technology) would be the basis for defining ends. Any measures would be limited to techniques for exploiting means. This mind-set was being fostered by two emerging focuses of the culture of management science: technology over strategy, and management over tactics.46
As a result, the culture of management science and its love for technology, analytical comparisons and quantitative measures would get us into Vietnam; it would keep us there while the emerging class of officer technocrats sought “silver bullets” to change our status and improve our role; and, it would not let us pullout honorably when so-called doctrinal measures proved erroneous.47
Many of our so-called experts do not have a clue as to why we lost Vietnam. The answer lies in three phrases: lack of professionalism, misdirected personnel policies, and the culture of management science. General’s Ridgway and Gavin recommended an enclave concept, which would ironically later serve the basis for “Vietnamization.” This proposal called for securing and defending key areas, and only counteracting when U.S. forces could gain an advantage on U.S. terms and with minimum casualties, results may have been different.48
Again, it was not that the Army did not have officers that possessed tactical and leadership skills, it did, but its personnel policies emphasized constant rotation so every officer would get a “fair” chance at command in combat to enhance his career progression. The pursuit of “equality” overrode the obvious need to maintain command and unit cohesion. Vietnam came to be seen as many as a passing phase to advance one’s career based. From the very introduction of combat units in 1965, and even before with advisors, rotations of individuals for twelve months became official policy with no chance of building the necessary experience to win the war over a lengthy period of time, involving the right strategy and doctrine. We entered Vietnam with the mechanical approach, employing World War II era doctrine emphasizing firepower, with manpower restricted by the ever-evolving personnel polices shaped by the culture management science.49
With the entrance of Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense in 1960, management science ruled supreme with the implementation of System Analysis into all decision-making processes that bound the military on and off the battlefield. McNamara not only furthered the bureaucratic traits within the officer corps, he institutionalized them. His solution to any problem was the use of system analysis and cost-effectiveness comparative analysis. He arrogantly commented to senior officers “I am sure that no significant military problem will ever be wholly susceptible to purely quantitative analysis. But every piece of the total problem that can be quantitatively analyzed removes one more piece of uncertainty from our process of making a choice.”50
The impacts of such tools as OPA 47, the emphasis by Maxwell Taylor on the corporate officer, and McNamara’s institutionalization of system analysis began to transform the officer corps to such a point that even such high ranking civilian members of the government such as Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissenger noticed “a new breed of military officer emerged: men who learned the new jargon, who could present the system analysis arguments so much in vogue, more articulate than the older generation and more skillful in bureaucratic maneuvering.” Yet, Dr. Kissenger also noticed the downfalls of the “new breed,” while “on some levels it eased civilian-military relationships; on a deeper level it deprived the policy process of the simpler, cruder, but perhaps more relevant assessments which in the final analysis are needed when issues are reduced to a test of arms.”51 This meant the new culture had a hard time placing tangible measurements to the study, planning and execution of war, and the necessary assets to effectively conduct war, such as the maintenance of unit cohesion.
Another example of the influences of management science on personnel policies was the implementation of the “infusion program.” The introduction of Army combat personnel from the United States was initially conducted as units. Out of fear that entire units would rotate at the same time, units were stripped of part of their personnel upon their arrival in Vietnam. New personnel with different departure dates were “infused” into the unit, so while the unit stayed, its personnel parts constantly changed, terribly disrupting unit cohesion.52 Commanders and staff officers saw the destruction caused by these policies, but few spoke out. One of the reasons was the control the “technical” and centralized officer management system had over officers.
The officer personnel system’s most distinguishing feature used to control its environment was the use of a vastly inflated, negatively focused evaluation tool called the Officer Efficiency Report or OER. The Army has been using some type of written evaluations since the early 1800s. The written evaluation report has been the only tool used to evaluate the performance and potential officers. In 1881, upon the founding of the School of Infantry and Cavalry (the future Command & General Staff College) at Fort Leavenworth, reformists called “Uptonians,” after General Emory Upton, attempted to implement the use of formal and objective examinations using the Prussian military as a model. This move was severely resisted by most of the officer corps using the cry that the practice was “undemocratic” and unfair. In reality, it was because the majority of officers, except for graduates of West Point, were largely uneducated, especially in the art of war. Examinations would expose the weakness of the officer corps and the Army in the knowledge of their profession to Congress as well as the public. This further tradition of resisting professionalism and intellect remained until after World War II, where once again the only tool comfortable for use for officer evaluations, was a subjective one.53
The Officer Efficiency Report Series 67 was standardized in July 1947 in line with the reforms being pushed by Marshall that would culminate in OPA of 1947. The Army has gone through 10 versions of the OER since 1947 to present. Because of its combination to support an “up or out” promotion system, the OER has always been prone to inflation by officers wanting to project their subordinates as the best, or because the “raters” or “senior raters” did not have the moral courage to face their officers with average or below OERs that would destroy the careers. The OER fit perfectly into the culture of management science stressing equality, where generalist officers were measured by how well he pleased the boss. It was his boss or rater that made or broke his career. 54
The OER was and is now used as the main tool on promotion and selection boards. During Vietnam every job had to receive a perfect OER to get promotion or selected to schools such as C&GSC or the war colleges. As the OER continued to gain strength it could be used in one or two ways. It could be used to damage an officer’s career or even end it. An officer with strong character and who posed a threat to a commanding officer could be sabotaged. The other way was to advance a favorite of the “brass” rapidly up the ranks or into the right “job.” In both cases writing an OER became an art to the career minded officer, on how to employ the right words in the right places to make a point.55
The results of the OER façade as a tool of careerism, which did not create professionalism, became apparent to the members of the officer corps. “There is now a total disbelief in the system and a concomitant question regarding the integrity of all of us who continue its use.”56
To the casual observer and many officers, no impact could be seen on the officer corps, everything looked good. The use of the OER, both now and then, reflects poorly on the ethical strength of the officer corps, when officers cannot fairly access performance and potential. Every officer was caught up in the scandal. With a large officer corps operating under an inflated evaluation system, anyone who tried to the use system to fairly access his officers in effect would destroy his officers.
The final damaging aspect of OPA in Vietnam was the size of the officer corps. From 1947 it had steadily grown both in numerical size and its percentage of the total force. By 1968, it reached an incredible 15% of the total force. Effective armies in history such as the Legions of Rome, the Germans, and Israelis have maintained an officer corps consisting of 3-5% of their total force. A large officer corps creates increased centralization, competition for critical positions under a rigorous management system and the image and prestige of the officer is defaced. During Vietnam, soldiers realized the accession and promotion standards within the officer corps had deteriorated. Other armies have only been concerned with the applicants who could meet the quality of becoming an officer, instead of maintaining quantity. If they did with less because fewer candidates met the standard, so be it.But as the deterioration of the Army continued because its institutional foundation, the officer corps rotted away through rampant careerism, a few officers took notice, and voiced their concerns.57
One of the most severe criticisms for record of both the cultural atmosphere caused by officer policies shaped by management science was conducted by the United States Army War College. The Study On Military Professionalism found that the “up or out” promotion system and the emphasis on “equality” contributed significantly to much of the undesirable and unethical conduct of officers. This report found the misconduct, leading to a lack of trust in authority, was caused by “seniors who sacrificed integrity on the altar of personal success *#133; and [junior officers] were impatient with what they perceived as preoccupation with insignificant statistics.” While Chief of Staff of the Army General William Westmoreland had commissioned the study, he and other senior officers, so conditioned by the culture of management science toward corporate loyalty, shelved the study away for thirteen years when they saw the critical results.58
The Fourth Period – A Noble Effort
Several officers who had served as junior and middle grade officers in Vietnam were determined to reform the Army’s culture of management science to one that focused on warfighting. Four significant events occurred during the 1970′s and 1980′s, together with the influx of material that enabled the Army to perform effectively in Panama and the Gulf War. Three of the events – the post-1973 “doctrinal renaissance” began by General William DePuy’s advocacy of the doctrine of Active Defense, and carried on by General Donn Starry with Army doctrine evolving into the AirLand Battle; the Army training revolution which produced realistic force on force training for Army leaders, soldiers and their units, with lessons from this training shaped by “rank-blind” and candid after action reviews; and finally, a force design evolving parallel with technologies and doctrine that included a continual development of Air-Assault doctrine began in 1963, the 1st Cavalry Division experiments in 1971-74, the 9th Infantry Division Motorized, High Technology Test Bed, and the 7th Infantry Division (Light), Army of Excellence force structure – succeeded in preparing the Army to conduct warfare with a Soviet style heavy force. The final significant event was attempts at changing the officer personnel system in light of the “all-volunteer” force, and the attempt to switch from an individual to unit replacement system. These endeavors met with mixed results.59
The Army has attempted subtly to adjust its officer personnel system since the Study of Professionalism. Three Officer Personnel Management Systems (OPMS) have evolved since 1971, 1983 and 1997 to address the management of officers. The first two focused on providing “many roads to the top” by stressing the best commanders would command and the best specialists would specialize. With minor adjustments only, the Army never enforced the philosophy behind the first two OPMS studies because the legacy of OPA and the Army “heroic” tradition continued to stress the importance of command. Another reason the two systems failed was that the Army was still effected by other factors outside the realm of OPMS, which were a bloated officer corps, and the “all or nothing” twenty-year retirement. These two factors continued to force officers up through the ranks at an incredible pace. Thus, officers were not allowed enough time to command or specialize.60 OPMS moved to eliminate any cracks in the personnel system’s authority and control by centralizing more decisions at the Department of Army level in Washington D.C.
What did occur, as the result of OPMS 71 was the centralization of selection and promotion boards in one location. In these boards, few individuals have little time to measure an individual officer’s worth in any kind of detail, especially in terms that measure strong character. Instead, the boards promote or select “strong files,” and this has provided questionable results when determining the individual officer’s professional strengths and weaknesses. Despite the failures in the arena of officer management, strides were made with unit cohesion.
By the end of the 1970′s and in the beginning of the 1980′s, Chief of Staff of the Army General Edward “Shy” Meyers began studying ways to implement a unit personnel system in the Army. Two studies occurred almost parallel to one another.
The first study, began in 1979, was conducted under the direction of the Army Inspector General developed “The New Unit Manning System.” The Unit Manning System was in effect a compromise in that officer career patterns, unlike the regimental systems of other nations, would be unaffected by this system. The unit system would only involve enlisted ranks as they began in basic training and would remain together for three years at the company and battalion level. Despite the perceived success of the Unit Manning System in the 1980′s among junior officers, seniors conditioned by the management science culture repudiated it as they refused to adopt an Army structure that could be supported by a unit system.61
The other study was more dramatic in its recommendations. Under the guidance of the commander of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) General Donn Starry, a true Regimental system on the lines of a British regimental system, was designed to fit American society in 1980. Called the Application of the Regimental System to the United States Army’s Combat Arms, it addressed the details of training, recruitment, unit rotations, and personnel management. Some senior Army leaders, the Department of Army Staff, and senior civilian personnel managers killed the plan in 1980-81 because the organizational bureaucracy refused to change the policies that directed the massive centralized individual system.62
A spin-off of the Unit Manning System was the Cohesion, Operations, Readiness and Training (COHORT) system of unit management. In the eyes of many officers and NCOs, it was a successful program. The program failed because it was evolutionary, or a smaller part of a larger individual system. It also existed in only a few of the Army’s eighteen divisions, yet COHORT units received the priority in personnel. It violated the tradition of “equality” as it created the “have and have-nots” view among divisional and brigade commanders. Beyond the institutional failure, COHORT created cohesion and better units than those filled by individual replacements.63
The COHORT model succeeded in selected artillery and tank battalions and in the 7th Infantry Division because the expectation that – even at the lowest ranks – a high degree of discipline prevailed. Every soldier knew from training, example, and peer pressure how to behave correctly in accordance with ethical and military standards. Positive motivation developed out of confidence, understanding, skills, and unanimity of purpose. A new and unfamiliar phenomenon emerged in cohesive units because of “positive leadership;” soldiers who were self-motivated, who needed and wanted to be taught and guided, not driven. Not only with COHORT, but in the entire Army, there were positive changes taking place, such as more emphasis on the study of the art of war and military history in Army schools, with the intent among some generals to break the mold of management science continually strengthened by new laws.64
Limitations were placed upon the Army by the passing of the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act (DOPMA) of 1980, and its own rigid management policies. DOPMA standardized OPA 47 across the services, and continued to hold the Army to a structure that would allow it to mobilize in case of a large land war against the Soviet Union — meaning a larger than necessary officer corps bound by the “up or out” promotion system. Despite these restrictions, which were seen as the only way of doing business by much of the officer corps, policies were implemented at lower levels to circumvent the restrictive boundaries set by DOPMA, son of OPA.
General Meyer and Lieutenant General Walter Ulmer, commander of III Corps, Fort Hood, moved to give officers more experience, while creating positive leadership environments. Command tours for commanders of battalions and brigades were extended up to three years. Furthermore, General Ulmer moved to create a positive command climate in his corps that broke the tradition of “top-down” leadership doctrine. This style had evolved since World War I, and had become the norm of the management science culture due to the Army’s perceived success in World War II. “Top-down” or authoritarian leadership requires blind, instant obedience from subordinates who were to be ruled by fear, create “Darwinian” competition among subordinate commanders, dole out information to subordinates, lie freely to them, make them lie to the senior when the truth would make the senior uncomfortable or make him look bad to his boss. This style of leadership also never takes responsibility for setting priorities, so that when anything is left undone, the senior can always find a subordinate to blame (“I told you that was top priority” – like everything).65
Some of these moves had lasting impacts as the division commanders that went into Desert Shield/Storm had a wealth of command experience at the battalion and brigade levels. Others did not last, as General Meyer and his subordinates moved on to retirement. It seemed the culture waited them out, because soon after General Meyer left the office of Chief of Staff, the new Chief of Staff of the Army General John Wickham, Jr. reversed policies that created cohesion and experience due to demands to maintain the tradition of equality that existed in personnel management.66 Soon the glow of victory and moral purity of driving the evil Saddam Hussien out of Kuwait would ironically wash away any reforms in the personnel arena achieved in the 1980′s because the foundation they rested upon was not fixed, just covered up.
The culture of management science prevents leaders from setting priorities because of the demands of “zero-defects” mentality where nothing is left to chance, and everything is seen as important, conducted to perfection. This mentality prevents reform based on historical models of proven success. Such reform requires hard choices, which in turn requires senior leaders from setting priorities toward creating an agile and ready force. The civilian authorities in the Executive and Congress can break the destructive cycle set in motion by the “can-do!” tradition. Next, if the highest officers in the Army accept every mission rolled down to them as “top priority” and do not feel safe enough to refuse missions that should be refused, then no officer should be surprised if these seniors roll them down-hill the same way-all equally “top priority.” If the National Command Authority micro-manages, how can commanders “power down”? How can anyone expect the Army to cultivate officers that operate with independence and are not “yes-men”? Congress and the service Secretaries must support the service chiefs and make it safe for them to give bad news. They must make it safe for them to reform, to tell the truth, and break the paradigm of reforms driven only by technology. It is these so-called “reforms” that retain the status quo of maintaining the culture of management science.
The Fifth Period – The Officer Corps of the Future
Even before the victorious troops returned from the Gulf War, two significant events were to impact on the post-Gulf War Army: one was the draw down of the Army in light of the fall of the Soviet Union, and the other was the development and fielding of the Army’s newest doctrine based on emerging information technology. The draw down effectively showed that the temporary fixes conducted in the 1970′s and 1980′s through OPMS 71 and 83, and by DOPMA were superficial. The larger culture shaped by the numerous traditions, specifically OPA, mentioned in proceeding pages remained. As a result, the dramatic strides attempted through the adaptation of the new doctrine will be diminished as new technologies and their capabilities are placed over old organizations and cultural practices.
The 1990′s drawdown was a catalyst, which brought out the worst of the cultural institution. The words of careerism, self-promotion, and “zero-defects” continually appear in professional journals and papers. Several officers and civilian officials blame the current state of affairs on “downsizing.” The German Army got better during its “downsizing” because it knew what kind of cohesive units it wanted, what kind of leadership practices it wanted, and how to train. Later, Hitler’s increase in the armed forces may have given the Germans the tanks and planes to carry out Blitzkrieg, but Hitler had nothing to do with the creation of the culture that practiced the doctrine of operational and tactical encirclement and infiltration, or the accessing, developing and educating of the German officer corps. And while the 1980′s were the golden age of the Army, it was not because of the Reagan budgets, but because of self-reforms in the Army coming to fruition. So the recommendations made in the follow-on pages are win-win for the Army, for its soldiers, and for the nation.
An effort called OPMS XXI is already underway to correct the deficiencies of the culture caused by both OPA, DOPMA and the Army’s own rigid management policies. OPMS XXI specializes the officer corps for the future. After officers do their time with troops, and upon being selected to major, the officer corps is then divided into four categories: Operations, Information Operations, Institutional Support, and Operational Support Career fields.67
The benefits of OPMS XXI are yet to be seen, but potential exists to put the officer corps back on the right track. OPMS XXI’s emphasis on specialization ensures that fewer officers will get “an opportunity to command.” This will be a small price to pay for the benefits of specialization, and arguments that more ex-commanders are needed for mobilization ignores the ability of staff officers and junior commanders to learn from good example. The larger benefit of OPMS XXI is the strengthening of critical staff specialties throughout the Army. Excellent officers not selected for command can pursue successful careers through repeated assignments in one of the above fields. OPMS XXI’s long term goal is to eventually have well-qualified specialists selected as general officer, destroying the myth that command experience is essential to high-level advancement. More importantly, the Army would run well without the influences of entrenched civilian bureaucrats, of obvious benefit to the functioning of units in combat. OPMS XXI is a step in the right direction, yet more remains to be done outside its boundaries such as addressing the problems caused by the “up or out” promotion system, a bloated officer corps, the “all or nothing” retirement system, and a lack of a unit personnel system.
OPMS XXI has in reality, only guaranteed that the competition will be “fair.” By moving many out of the old command track – which is now the new operational field – into the three other fields, it can once again promise all starters who reach the grade of major an equal chance to win. In this way the Army can continue to feed the “up or out” promotion system, and fill numerous jobs mandated by laws. It can also assure that few competitors will become prematurely discouraged in the race for status. As mentioned, under OPMS XXI, the symbol of status will swing somewhat away from the need to command and the “generalist” career pattern. It continues the trend of providing “many roads to the top” by increasing chances for promotion and promising all majors attendance to the Command & General Staff College, which is currently a career discriminator if an officer is not selected to attend. OPMS XXI has streamlined “fairness” by remodeling the façade of the personnel system’s customary mechanism for maintaining the tractability of the officer corps.
OPMS XXI continues to manifest the competitive ethic caused by the “up or out” promotion system and a bloated officer corps. OPMS XXI allows the organization to extract deference through competition. As did the earlier two OPMS systems, the new system uses competition more than ever as a lever, to control the career soldier. Under the culture of management science, from the very day officers receive their commissions, the Army impresses upon them the importance of remaining “competitive.” Thus, the Army encourages officers to compete against each other to survive in the “up or out” system. It uses the “competitive ethic” in an explicitly coercive manner. To become “noncompetitive” is to risk exclusion from the Army officer profession altogether. Officers have and continue to feel compelled to give careful attention to the institution’s performance cues. Certainly, the post-Gulf War draw down has made the point clear to even the least attentive.
The Army’s officer system under OPMS XXI will continue to use competition theorizing the “best” will rise to the top, and in fact it corrupts. It creates an unhealthy strain that no officers can elude. The preference to adhere to the profession’s ethical code yields to the grinding realization that the officer must also satisfy the institutional demand to remain competitive, if only out of self-preservation. It is ironic, given the very strict boundaries that the laws that govern our officer system and the culture, the reforms under OPMS XXI are perhaps the best that could be given to the officer corps. The problem remains with broader issues manifested under the fear of mobilization and the undying belief in management science. Before any changes can really be termed reforms, issues that generate careerism and undermine readiness must be openly discussed. Unfortunately, OPMS XXI’s downfall, as it was with the previous two OPMS “reforms,” is that leaves careerism unaffected due to the emphasis it places on the competitive ethic, which despite specialization, will remain.
Perhaps by recognizing now the limitations of management science, as well as the compulsion to maintain personnel policies around a personnel system developed for mass mobilization, and the need to be “fair,” which in turn creates competition, the Army officer corps will move forward. OPMS XXI can become more than a short-term fix that will soon become another of the series of evolutionary fixes. Instead, OPMS XXI should be viewed as a bridge to more and better reforms in the near future. Eventually, the Army, like society, will create its own military version of a new flatter organization with the inherent officer personnel policies revolving around unit policies that must accompany it. As a result, the Army will reintroduce professionalism to its officer corps.
If we are going to be as bold with our new doctrine and its embracing of new technology, then we need to be as bold and create an institutional culture that creates officers that can handle the tempo the doctrine writers are advocating future technology will create. This is a different culture from the one we have now. We cannot continue to write glowing documents advocating an “agile” officer, yet subtly support peacetime practices which uphold bureaucratic qualities, rather than battlefield qualities, when officers come up for promotion.68
To prepare the Army for the 21st Century and create the officer corps of the future, we must:
Replace the organizational model bureaucracy with a flatter more autonomous organization, including reducing the officer corps from 14.3% of the force to 3-5% of the force.
Replace the individual personnel system with a unit personnel system. Revolve all personnel policies around a unit system, and move to an Army force structure that can be supported by a unit replacement system.
Eliminate the “up or out” promotion system and replace it with an “up or stay” promotion system.
Replace the specific branches, and place officers on a track or category system at the O-3 or O-4 level. Make officer management more flexible.
Revise the officer evaluation system to involve a narrative OER on character with a periodic examination to enter the officer corps as well as attendance at Command and General Staff College.
Revise the Education system, where mid-level education is conducted earlier in an officer’s career, as well as moving to an education system that emphasizes the art of war, including the study of military history.
Do away with the “all-or-nothing” retirement system.
The purpose of all of these reforms is to change the incentive system. They seek to reward strength of character, especially as manifested in a willingness to make decisions and take action, and penalize those who get by, by doing nothing controversial. It does no good to call for promoting the risk-takers when the incentives all work the other way. Once strength of character is rewarded, then loyalty to the nation, the Army, and unit can be established over loyalty to self, which is the centerpiece of management science. It is the reasoning behind the personnel system’s advocacy of the individualistic focus “be all you can be,” the belief that people must be constantly moved, promoted and several make-work opportunities exist for numerous officers to be promoted. 69
The first ingredient in the reforms to prepare the officer corps and the Army for combat in the 21st century is to disregard a force structure that must be manned by a top and middle heavy officer corps. Surprisingly, we still employ a similar table of organization and equipment (TO&E) to the one derived in World War II (in historical doctrinal terms, we are still operating similar to Napoleon’s corps-de-armee concept). The army’s primitive structure, despite the age of e-mail, faxes, telecommunications, and quicker intelligence gathering and assessment systems, still consists of industrial-age hierarchies, which means many layers of supervisors, or colonels and generals-all practicing perfection in a bureaucracy brought on board by Elihu Root in 1903. What makes it worst, despite the age of automation, is the percentage of the officer corps which comprises 14.3% of the entire force. This is as bad as was at its height in Vietnam.
The Army has the worst officer to enlisted ratio ever, 1:6. At the same time, the number of senior officers – especially at the middle and general officer level – has become bloated with one field grade officer for every junior officer and one general for every 1100 soldiers. This is not simply a matter of inefficiency or the Army’s preoccupation with mobilization. When there is a surplus of officers, officers must frequently be assigned to “make work” jobs that are not relevant to warfighting and in which military skill atrophy. Personnel turnover and competition increases as officers fight for moves from “make work” to critical “branch qualifying” jobs such as company command for captains, battalion operations and executive officer jobs for majors and battalion command for lieutenant colonels. Further, an officer surplus leads to centralization, as officers at more senior levels create work for themselves by pulling decisions up to their level, and work for their staffs producing an incredible number of power point briefing slides.70
While the theory behind maintaining a large officer corps was readiness for mobilization, what in fact occurs is the opposite. The current “up or out” promotion system and the idea of a large officer corps evolved from Marshall’s experience with the problem of maintaining a force ready in peacetime to respond to the unique demands of war. This system rests on two principles: first, if the system works properly, there will always be more officers qualified for promotion than there are vacancies available. This permits selectivity, the selection of the “best qualified.” It was also theorized that exposure to numerous jobs could apply in a meaningful way in senior leadership positions. As a result, officers are forced through the ranks very quickly too little time to learn the ropes and gain the confidence and respect of the troops, “Force XXI would work fine if officers were given the time in one position to learn the how the technology, techniques, tactics and procedures involved in the new doctrine work.”71
The unneeded inflation of officers at the middle grades of major, lieutenant colonel and colonel, and senior levels of general officers, contributes to the “swollen middles of American command bureaucracies – which themselves sometimes exist only to give a two- or three- star general a place to hang his hat.”72 Numerous commands consist of Military Intelligence battalions and brigades, the redundant commands of Recruiting and Cadet, numerous acquisition and testing commands, Area commands such as U.S. Army Japan. Most of these commands themselves have under them numerous positions filled by seniors and their staffs. Thus, we have positions in unnecessary commands that must be filled by personnel managers. These numerous commands with bloated staffs, with each officer occupying a position behind a computer generating more work under the demands of a “perform-now” evaluation system consists of “too much overhead, too hierarchical, too much middle management, and too slow.”73
The only experience an officer gains in the current environment – be it in the halls and the cubicles of the Pentagon or in one of the many large headquarters – is contradictory to the demands of the battlefield, which calls for decisive action when dealing with the “friction of war,” unless we have really led ourselves to belief that technology will eliminate the “fog” and “friction” of war. A gradual reduction of the officer corps at major and above by 50%, while reducing the entire officer corps to 3-5% of the entire force (minus doctors and dentists) is necessary to eliminate the competitive ethic, bureaucratization and centralization. Existing officers will gain more experience in their duties, and can take more time to learn the art of war. Reducing the officer corps vastly extends an officer’s time as a platoon leader, company and battalion commander or primary staff position. The challenge for the Army (the entire military since everyone falls under DOPMA) is prioritizing which positions are important, and which are unimportant – unrelated to combat or the structure necessary to support combat units — and go to Congress and ask them to change a multitude of laws which mandate the use of officers, i.e., requirements for 3000 officers to train the National Guard under Title XI, and Joint Duty under Goldwaters/Nichols Act.
Congress needs to go back and revise DOPMA, making the law specifically tailored the needs to each service, for example the Air Force is more technically and individually oriented; whereas the Army should revolve its polices around a mandated unit personnel system. A unit personnel system would increase the collective training and maintains the “band of excellence” longer, eases OPTEMPO personnel turnover, lowers personnel costs, creates a larger pool of ready available units for deployment immediately to a combat situation, and diminishes the necessity of pouring massive amounts of money to “surge” training in anticipation or at the start of a conflict.74
Commanders are not the only ones frustrated by our self-imposed turmoil and pain with our personnel system. NCOs and soldiers find the “system” disruptive as well, so it goes that up and down the chain, most view turbulence as a big problem undercutting readiness. Marshall, personnel managers of the 1950′s with Operation Gyroscope (a unit rotation system focused at the division), and General Meyers with COHORT, were also driven by the Army’s inability to maintain unit strengths. They were surrounded by the operational research system analysis (ORSA) personnel’s hang-up on measuring unit effectiveness at pure strength, i.e., units have to maintain 90% to be “ready.” This tradition actually goes further than World War I, and can be traced to the Union’s system of unit replacement during the Civil War. New units were constantly formed – experiencing a great loss in their initial contact – instead of rotating regiments out of the line to rebuild. During the war, units at 30% of their original strength of 1000 officers and men were very effective, even more so with their wealth of experience. The only positive aspect of this system was its recruiting of regiments from the same locality, so some cohesion existed.75 Units filled the latter way or by constant in and out flow of individual replacements take time to bring them up readiness for combat.
Future warfare as the type envisaged by think tanks and doctrine writers will rarely ever be of the Desert Shield/Storm model, where the Army received by default the personnel cohesion it needed due to its opponent allowing it six months to build-up and train-up. “Future operations will consist of rapid deployment and entry operations (preempt offensive operations) success depends on the units at the forefront of the operation supported by units which comes in later to protect their flanks from counter-attacks.” Precision fires and sensors sweep future battlefields when an opponent dares to fight the U.S. Army in the “open.” Most operations will likely occur in urban/suburban environments where the stress of combat will be at its foremost requiring unit cohesion. We have to switch our dependence on physical mass to agility and tempo in these types of environments. “Attrition doctrine requires mere numbers and massive firepower, while maneuver requires quality in the very best units, able to use selective firepower.” A maneuver style doctrine supported by a maneuver style culture allows a unit system that is a battalion package configured under brigade combat teams. “The second part of a unit system is a regimental-type replacement system enabling battle tried units to be pulled off the line reconstituted in unit packets from a regimental depot.” This latter part of course requires what many analysts in the upper echelons of DoD and those advising Congress would view as “extra” or uncommitted battalions and companies.76
Unlike COHORT, where the officer personnel system was divorced from the unit out of concerns for officer career opportunities, all personnel – officers and enlisted – are permanently regimentally assigned and seconded from their regiment. Regiments become administrative or horizontal headquarters located in various locations throughout the country, with specified regiments such as those that compose the logistical branches covering broader areas and overlapping those of combat regiments. Battalions rotate through three phases through a three or four year cycle. The 1st and 3rd phase falls under the regiment – in the first phase the battalion gathers and trains for combat at the individual and team levels, and in the final phase, it draws down and its members form cadre to conduct many missions including post support, advisors to reserve units that also constitute battalions within the regiment, and a host of duties that are normally filled by “military manpower” – with a regimental colonel overseeing these phases. During the second phase the battalions fall under a vertical or command headquarters of a brigade. The force structure designed to interlace with a unit system would have 2/3 of the 32 brigades of armor and infantry, but the remaining 24 brigades would be far more deployable in a “ready-now” status.77
The final aspect to this system is the management of its personnel. Army units today, train, administer, and fight their component battalions. A unit replacement/rotational system works differently. A regimental depot administers and trains its battalions in the 1st phase, and administrators them in the 3rd phase. Depending on the corps, and the number of brigades the regiment supports, it can administer any number of battalions, for example an infantry depot located on the east coast supports a light, mechanized and an armor brigade, located respectively at Forts Drum, Benning and Stewart respectively, needing a total of five infantry battalions in phase two – the regiment would have to administer a total of 10 battalions (in all three phases). Of course the management of regiments also means changing the way officers are managed and developed.
The new officer management law should also eliminate “up or out” promotion system and replace it with an “up or stay” system. The “up or out” promotion system drives personnel policies that minimizes the probability that officers will have the time to develop the abilities to “rapidly grasp changes in situations and conditions” and exercise initiative by independently planning.”78 An officer currently spends his career on a “treadmill.”79 It also develops the anxiety about getting promoted in officers and thus forces them to adhere to the “competitive ethic.”
The “up or out” system also fosters the “Peter Principle,” where individuals tend to get promoted to their level of incompetence. Officers then get stuck in jobs because there is no possible way to advance. That job will undoubtedly be unfulfilling. Unfortunately, the Army does not generally take steps to move personnel back to a level where they can function effectively. Where the Army runs into problems is when it uses promotion to reward performance and minimizes potential. These two concepts – performance or competence and potential for leadership need to be separated somehow in the promotion system.80
The new promotion system will have to become more decentralized.81 Those who know the officer can only do the promoting and selecting of individual officers. This means regimental and division boards will have to be established to view fewer officers for longer period of time. With commanders remaining at their positions longer, they will be able to better assess (on a first-hand basis) which officers deserve to be promoted or selected for attendance at a staff college. Brigade and Division commanders should be “empowered” or trusted to appoint boards to promote officers up through the rank of lieutenant colonel. With the field narrowed by a smaller officer corps, centralized boards could then decide who gets promoted to the rank of colonel and higher, and select officers to command brigades and larger formations. All boards at all levels will use three tools – the OER (written solely in regards to the officer’s character, an examination taken yearly, and the personal conduct of the officer in front of the board) – to determine promotions and selections. The bottom line in using such stringent tools is the implication that leadership and professionalism are critically important – too important to either rest on the sixty-second consensus opinions of disinterested officers serving the political agenda of the Army.82
The type of officer needed for combat in the future possess many qualities which cause uneasiness among superiors developed and raised in the culture of management science. A leader with strong character and imagination will always focus his unit on training for war, his time on studying the art of war, and not waste time in the diversions called for by the “up or out” system. Currently, the very officer Force XXI and the Army After Next writers are calling for is getting out or is relegated to the backwaters of a career.
A study on personalities (using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator – MBTI) and the effects on their change in relationship to rank in the Air Force was conducted in 1991.83 It found that Air Force Academy cadets had a wide variety of personality types. When an analysis of personalities was conducted between Army O-5s and Air Force O-5s, it showed very similar personality groupings – no statistical significant difference. When the O-5s were compared to the cadets there was statistical difference (using the Chi-Square statistic Chi Square = 59.57 at the p=.05 level). Then a group of 161 Army generals was studied compared to the Army and Air Force O-5s there was no statistical difference. When the group of O-7s was compared to Air Force cadets there was statistical significant difference (Chi-Square=73.04 at the p=.05 level). Some 56% of the O-7s comprised of two personality types – Introvert Sensing Thinking Judgment (ISTJ) and Extrovert Sensing Thinking Judgment (ESTJ)!
In analyzing the two predominate personality types, ISTJ and ESTJ, it was found that these types have a preference for stability, and avoiding organizational conflict. In other words, they tend to be “corporate men” or bureaucrats, with a “don’t rock the boat attitude.” Psychologist Otto Kroger has been holding seminars on the Myers-Briggs at the National Defense University since 1979. Kroger states that if his students switched uniforms for business suits, it would be impossible to distinguish them from the corporate executives he also tests. Somewhere between the O-3 and O-5 it is postulated that there is a significant shift toward these preferences, and officers are either weeded out with “up or out” or they get out because they do not want to conform to the management science cultural mind-set of “playing the game.”84
The causes of poor morale, career anxiety, the emphasis on the competitive ethic and the transformation or elimination of bold personality types are the reasons to rid the Army of the “up or out” promotion system. This is particularly troubling for the type of Army officer and organizations required to carry out high temp operations, in conditions that will require us “to fight outnumbered and win.” We invariably lose our warrior-leaders and our innovators. Only an “up or stay” system based on objective measuring tools and the trust and bond of an officer corps can create the type of leaders the Army deserves.85
In an “up or stay” promotion system if an officer wants to get promoted, he will ask for it. The patterns for career management will change to support the number-one priority, a unit personnel system. Initially, an officer will still enter the officer corps from one of three commissioning sources, but accessions (entry) will be more selective than ever before with a smaller officer corps. This will allow the Army to return to advertising for potential officers using nationalistic service to the country and duty to the people as the number one reason for those individuals to serve, instead of paying for school or filling up a resume for life after the Army.86
First all potential officers will serve a minimum of two years with a National Guard or Reserve unit (similar to the Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) employed in conjunction with ROTC programs now). Officers will then have experience working with the reserves. Next, the mission of the commissioning sources is selecting and strenuously preparing their candidates to become officers. Meeting “missions” and filling quotas should not be a concern of the commissioning sources, but only having candidates meet standards – quality, not quantity is what the sources strive for and meet. Prior to becoming commissioned, officers will have to pass a comprehensive entrance exam. Officers will then serve their initial four-year tour with a regiment. Branches will be eliminated and replaced by Combined Arms, logistics, and specialists. An initial tour in a specific area will not determine the officer’s path for the rest of his career. An officer may move from one area to another throughout their careers or remain in that one area as long as they perform admirably. This of course makes room for the late bloomer, something that does not occur now.87
At the end of this first tour (which aligns with the four year, three phase life of a battalion), accession into the professional corps will occur based on how well they scored on their second entrance examination, performance in the regiment, and a decentralized selection board examining the above mentioned tools. The board will also determine the specialty of the officer into one of three tracks: tactical, operational or technical, while serving in one of the three areas of combined arms, logistics or specialist. Under this system, the Army would be able to spend substantial time on the development, assessment, and evaluation of its officers, instead of the “60 second” look-over officers currently get on promotion/selection boards for the search for the one “discriminator” in one’s “file.”88 Instead, due to the use of multitude of evaluation tools, and a smaller officer corps, the Army will become more objective in its personnel decisions with the nation, Army and the officer benefiting from the system. The following paragraphs briefly touch upon the reorganization of the officer management branches and officer specialties. The Army will have to “recode” several military occupational specialties to align with the new boarder fields.
The Tactical track ensures officers will remain at the company, battalion or regimental/brigade level the rest of his career. After selection to the tactical track, officers will attend a tactical course, which focuses on small unit leadership, decision making and tactics. They may rotate from positions within one of the tactical levels to instructor positions and back. This track includes all units from both combined arms and logistical units involved at the tactical level. Officers may remain in this track, with the option of being promoted to the level of colonel with a possibility of commanding a brigade.
Those officers, who score in the top 15-20% of the entrance examination to the professional force and performed outstanding in front of the board, will be admitted to the operational track. Additional requirements to the operational level will include an understanding of the art of war demonstrated on their entrance exam, and proficiency in a foreign language. The operational track will consist of officers who become the operational experts of the Army and will rotate between command and staff assignments at the divisional or higher levels and back to the Army or Joint Staff. These officers will attend a combined version of Command & General Staff College and the School of Advance Military Science (SAMS) – a two-year version of graduate school in the art and science of war. These officers become the institutional cradle for proficiency of the art of war at the operational and strategic levels.89
The technical track relates to the specific inherent technical abilities associated with the more technologically advanced army and the management of the tables of distribution and allowances or TDA army (the part of the army which provides the support structure for the combat units i.e., Training and Doctrine Command, Recruiting and ROTC commands, which needs to be drastically consolidated or reduced). This field involves far more than the medical and law professions, but positions, which require graduate-level, civilian-related education or technical training such as acquisition corps, academic instructors, operations research system analysis, comptrollers, computer programmers, communications specialists and facilities managers. Officers in this category could remain captains, with pro-rated pay, but would have to continually demonstrate their proficiency with periodic examinations combined with reviews of their evaluation reports. Officers could opt for promotion as the technical experts at division or higher levels, while the appropriate higher level ranks would correspond with higher headquarters and responsibilities.90
The education system as touched upon earlier will dramatically change as well. A true education is much more than learning of skills or the acquisition of facts. Rather, it means acquiring a broad understanding of the art of war, its ideas, principles and history. This true education must also give a thorough grounding in the warrior/leader culture, with heavy emphasis on making decisions and welcoming responsibility.
To conduct maneuver warfare, which is needed to facilitate the reductions in force structure and manpower cited above, demands a shift from mere mental “training” to truly educating our officers instead of giving all branches regardless of their relationship to the battlefield, “equality” in attending C&GSC or to send officers so “they can make contacts.”91 It demands leaders with a particular mindset, a culture that rewards audacity, tempo, and creative decision-making. As a people, Americans possess the requisite skills to be successful in maneuver warfare, but our military professionals require a military education that will encourage and develop boldness and mental agility.
Current military training has caused concern at all levels of government. Numerous journals have noted the absence of study of war at our various War Colleges. Alumni have watched in disbelief as the focus of the service academies migrates away from preparing young officers for combat and obligated national service, where they now voice the impatience at “getting out to Wall Street.” Instead the repositories for innovative through, training at most intermediate service schools remains Cartesian in its methods – mired in memorization and adherence to formulas; advancing immutable formats, principles, or processes that, if properly learned and applied, will supposedly bring victory. Schools emphasizing such rules, reinforced with the necessary formatted, quantitative, decision-aids and tables, serve only to stupefy creativity in leadership.92
Making military education relevant to future war, with its myriad of changes and challenges, will not be easy. Already, the missions of military operations other than war (MOOTW) and its equally difficult adjunct, peacekeeping, demand an officer who understands the political and strategic implications of his actions (particularly in light of the impact of real-time media). With rules of engagement (ROE) that impose limitations on his operational and tactical capabilities, the officer of the next century faces unique challenges.
Since the officer corps will be relatively small and there will be fewer in the operational track, C&GSC should come after the officer is selected for the operational track. The War College should also come sooner maybe at the 10-12 year of the officer service with selected officers from both the tactical and operational field attending. There, the curriculum would be dramatically refocused. All officers would be encouraged to get an education from new universities like American Military University that provide unique educational opportunities from “cradle to grave” in the military art and sciences.93
How should the curricula at the schools that remain be refocused to effectively fight in the high tempo, non-linear environment of projected future warfare, our officers, commissioned and non-commissioned alike, must be educated in the “classical” sense. Their education must be grounded in the art of war, but also in aggressively challenging their instructors, questioning a status quo that, in fact, no longer exists. The professional must understand why principles evolved and where they are best used and amended. This demands training that provides not set-piece scenarios, but chaos that is inherent in the nature of war.94 Classroom education is still necessary, but it must be focused on the case study, demanding critical analysis of historic examples. Leaders must move beyond mere rote memorization of techniques to experimentation with unorthodox solutions. Using interactive tactical decision tools (already available in the civilian sector), they should formulate, discuss and debate imaginative solutions. As they progress through the curriculum, it should introduce the often-missing combat intangible of simulation – a living opponent, possessing his own will with an incentive to win.
Force-on-Force wargaming provides the best available training for leaders and decision-makers. “Free-play” exercises should be taken to their natural conclusion, allowing for a clear winner and loser. This provides leaders with invaluable learning and the context-based experience necessary for the development of cognitive and intuitive skills. Additionally, it is a vehicle to identify those who fully understand the intricacies of command and possess the intuition and innovativeness for success.95
These must be more than exercises pitting school-trained officers against similarity-trained officers. There must be an enemy that is asymmetrical in experience as well as armament and weaponry. Here our ability to integrate “reach-back” technology and unorthodox opponents can provide a distinct advantage. A young, former gang member from Los Angeles can teach our most senior officers more about fourth generation warfare in an urban environment than most might want to admit. While not skilled in the military art, such opponents offer the conventional soldier a means to assess the challenges of those surviving through instinct. Certainly, the Russians could have used this before Grozny. Augmenting aggressors by employing and training with local Guard and Reserves, and/or (military or academic) foreign area experts familiar with a given area and culture, can also enhance the learning of 21st Century students. In the case of the reserves, this is a win-win situation regarding training and preparedness.
The advantages of this type of competition-based education are found in history. We are all aware of the successes and innovations of the Militarishe Gesellschaft the Prussian Army in the early 1800′s and its successor, the Prussian/German General Staff.96 Less well-known, likely because of a lack of national institutionalization, was General Al Gray’s reformation of Marine Corps education in the late 1980′s.97 Both initiatives recognized that training dominated by principles and formulas was outmoded. Both instituted developments of officers with a higher degree of intelligence, possessive of a favorable attitude toward change and innovation, with a propensity to assess and, as needed, undertake risk. Both challenged their students to approach problems realistically, rewarding decisions and judgments that demonstrated their ability incorporate innovation, tactical logic, situational awareness, and boldness – essentially “out-OODA looping” their respective competitor. Their mastery was determined not by methodical application of pre-determined school solutions, but by their ability to win! This is the type of school that will again best prepare our leaders for the battles ahead.
Selection for attendance (as well as for promotions) at these reformed “warfighting” schools must also be reconsidered. Advanced readings, assigned to specific tracks must be accomplished well before attendance to formal school. An officer must clearly demonstrate, at the appropriate level, a capacity for decision-making beyond his current grade. Whether by mentor/board evaluation (as in defense of a thesis) or by examination, officers should be carefully screened prior to selection for attendance. The program of instruction should be arduous and demanding, not the “year with the family tour” or “time to make contacts” mentality now advanced throughout the Army. It is appalling to see a non-resident program use no readings and the resident course used as a career advancer, which was recently done as an unwritten policy regarding it mandatory to attend resident C&GSC for those who want to serve with troops at the major level. In what other profession would a major school reduce the course load in response to complaints from students? In what other profession are the implications of ignorance more grave?
Finally, to reform our school system, the Army has to change the officer personnel priority for assignments to the faculty at Army schools. As the last drawdown demonstrated, the first officers at the middle grades to be “cut” were instructors at the service schools.98 In most Western armies, the top officers go to be instructors at their service schools. This also occurred in the Army in the 1930′s and 1920′s with C&GSC and the War College.99 Officers and academe selected for faculty must be among the best well-schooled in their military subject area. Besides command, no assignment should be more sought after than instructing and teaching. We must institutionalize this mindset among the officer corps and inculcate our juniors with the desire to become instructors and help shape our officer corps. This is not currently the case and, while change is coming, it needs to be expedited. The final reform, that of changing the retirement system, would create more flexibility in allowing officers to move back and forth from instructor positions to troop assignments.100
The final element in the forming a strong foundation for the building of the officer corps is to change the retirement system, which evolved out of OPA 47. The current system, with its focus on all or nothing at twenty years, undercuts moral courage in those with twelve to twenty years of service. Moral courage must be practiced daily in order to practice it under the strains of combat. Instead of the twenty-year all or nothing concept, we should adopt a retirement system, which allows an officer to retire at ten years with benefits beginning at age fifty-five.
The vested-in-ten with benefits at fifty-five would allow officers to focus entirely on warfighting skills. He could retire anytime after ten years as long as they remained competent in their field. Retirement pay would be increased for each year the officer remains after ten. Another issue that must be resolved is at what levels should officers be forced to retire – captains at twenty-five, majors at thirty and all others beyond to thirty-five or forty years.
There are several additional reasons for changing the Army’s retirement system. The first is cost. Retirement allotments paid to retired officers in 1995 were 5.1 billion dollars. The second reason is that with almost one fourth of officers retiring in their late thirties to early forties, the Army losses a lot of experienced talent. This occurs in an age when people are living longer and healthier lives. This will have an impact on units in the future Army, which can only be led by seasoned officers who have experienced several missions. Officers naturally use their last years to prepare for a second career. Instead, officers should be continually concentrating on and studying war as it continues to evolve.101
Effectiveness for the Army is not an option – it is imperative. The officer corps of the future, of the new culture, needed to execute the type of missions imagined in the future is sine qua non to the effectiveness of the Army. Many officers and civilian leaders believe technology makes the difference, but as John Boyd said, it is the people that make the difference, especially when there is effective leadership. The personnel system is the linchpin that will directly affect combat effectiveness, doctrine and a host of other critical issues pertaining to the Army of the future. The culture must adjust its course before the Army can execute the high tempo and rapid changing warfare of the future.
Conclusion – The Keystone of National Security
These reforms will readjust the Army’s management science culture that is negatively focused, to one that is professionally focused, and built upon trust. The fundamental reason for instituting serious reform is the fact that our whole national security construct, from our national security strategy down to the smallest military organization and how we manage our personnel, is just not keeping pace with the rapid change underway in the world today. The Army’s officer personnel system (for that matter, the enlisted personnel system) is an outdated follow-on to the officer personnel system designed for the Cold War. Most officers are uncomfortable with our system; they know that it’s insufficient, that something’s lacking. They feel this way because officers understand that our current culture is founded on the very organizational model used almost a hundred years ago to reform the War Department (today’s Department of Defense).
A lot that is bad is the result of good intentions that have had unintended consequences. It is important to acknowledge that there are competing goods that reformists of the maneuver warfare culture value and that the people upholding the culture of management science for the last 100 years who put these systems in place were trying to do the right thing. The only fault is that they have ignored the bad results of their implementations – the use of individual replacements in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, or the maintenance of an “up or out” promotion system in an age where specialization must occur not only in a given field, but at a given rank as well. Other examples of well intended practices that have had bad outcomes:
A larger than necessary officer corps at the middle and senior levels in order to prepare for mobilization of the Army to fight World War III employing an attrition doctrine.
Fairness, transparency, objectivity are all good things, but they have led to a system that causes Officer Evaluation Reports (OERs) to be “scored,” making quantitatively commensurable things that should not be.
The personnel system is simply a part of the larger constellation of “management science” which in addition to the personnel bureaucracy, gave us the program bureaucracy – operations research and cost/benefit analysis.
Instead, the Army bureaucracy has become a weighted organization with its own logic, tradition and inertia. The implementation of new doctrinal and unit organizational reforms will take a long time given the current way of doing things and the Army bureaucracy’s “thick hide” resistance to taking risks and making change. The Army needs to follow the lead of Army Chief of Staff, World War II and Korean War hero, General Matthew Ridgway, who said, “my greatest contribution as chief of staff was to nourish the mavericks.”102 This will lead to creativity, vision and innovation. The Army must understand it is OK to have a love quarrel with the institution that they serve while still remaining loyal. The Army must adapt an organizational model and personnel system that will nourish the mavericks and keep them from leaving, nurturing the innovators and not the saboteurs.
True professional soldiers that are not popular in peacetime must be kept around because “the art of war is best learned through the course of several campaigns.” It is time the Army paid attention to our officer corps and its need to become true professionals. “They will defend us in our old age, and more importantly, defend our progeny. No utopian, brave new, politically correct, gender neutral, non-lethal, high-tech-clean-war generation is stepping forward to replace the hard chargers now deserting the Army, and none is going too.” It is time that we now lay the blame where the fault lies for this conversion of our Army to something less than it needs to be, and use the “L” word: Leadership.103
In the future, war may be very short, intense, requiring several important decisions by many different levels of command. Much depends on proper planning and preparation to ensure those leaders and their units can perform the best way possible during the initial days of combat. The Army (the military and nation) may not have three years to prepare. The Army may not have six months or one month to organize. The Army needs to be ready beyond what technology can provide us, today! The tried and failed Army solution needs to go beyond technology. It requires a very complex change led by extraordinary civilian and military leaders possessing vision. Our leaders should provide the beginnings to a peaceful revolution of change that is more dramatic than the ones conducted by Elihu Root and George Marshall.
The author would like to thank General Edward Meyer USA (ret.), General Donn Starry USA (ret.), COL Carl Bernard USA (ret.), COL Dan Bolger USA, Dr. Steve Canby, LTC Robert Chase USMC, Mr. Bruce Gudmundsson, Ms. Barbara Graves, COL David H. Hackworth USA, LTC Jan Horvath USA, MAJ Timothy Jackson USMC, Dr. Faris Kirkland USA (ret.), LTC Robert Leonard USA, Mr. William Lind, Brigadier General Mike Lynch USA (ret.), LTC Paul Maubert USMC, Dr. Williamson Murray, MAJ Carl Rehberg USAF, Dr. Jonathan Shay, Mr. Franklin Spinney, LTG Richard Trefry USA (ret.), Mr. John Tillson, LTG Walter Ulmer USA (ret.), Dr. Charles White, COL Mike Wyly USMC (ret.), and MAJ Chris Yunker USMC for their insights and input.
1John Boyd, “A Discourse on Winning and Losing,” unpublished briefing (Washington D.C.: August 1987), p. 5-7.
2 Franklin C. Spinney, “Pork Barrels and Budgeteers: What Went Wrong With The Quadrennial Defense Reviews?,” in Strategic Review (Boston, MA: United States Strategic Institute, fall 1997), p. 29-39.
3Robert A. Doughty, The Seeds of Disaster (Hamden, CT: Archon, 1985), p. 3-7.
4Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Vision 2010 (Washington, D.C.: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, January 1997), p. 11-16.
5Samual P. Hays, “Introduction,” in Jerry Isrel, ed., Building the Organizational Society (New York, NY: The Free Press, 1971), p. 3.
6Ibid, p. 3.
7Franklin C. Spinney, “Evolutionary Epistemology: A Personal Interpretation of John Boyd’s Destruction and Creation,” unpublished briefing (Washington, D.C.: September 1997). The Pentagon uses the term “revolution” in the wrong meaning and context. Revolutions, such as the German development of “Blitzkrieg” took 20 years, occurred in evolutionary increments. The bureaucratic culture uses “evolutionary change” as a method to ignore the need for necessary change, when in fact it is nothing but a strengthening of the current status quo. I speak of a revolution of cultural change is how we think, organize and fight, but it will take a series of evolutionary changes over the next few years, spanning a generation of officers, for the proposals outlined in this essay to take place.
8Donald E. Vandergriff, “Without the Proper Culture: Why Our Army Cannot Practice Maneuver Warfare,” in Armor (Fort Knox, KY: U.S. Army Armor Association, January-February 1998), p. 20-24.
9 For a thorough analysis of the German military culture see Bruce Gudmundsson, “Maneuver Warfare: The German Tradition,” edited by Richard D. Hooker Jr., in Maneuver Warfare: An Anthology (Novata, CA: Presido Press, 1993), p. 277-278.
10 Franklin C. Spinney, “Aviation From the Sea (AFTS): Innovation & Evolving Requirements via Operational Prototyping & Experimentation,” unpublished brief (Washington, D.C.: 17 November 1997), p. 5.
11 David H. Hackworth, “God’s Work in Hell: Somalia, 1992-1993,” in Hazardous Duty (New York, NY: William Morrow and Company, INC., 1996), p. 119-132; Many of the problems seen in Vietnam appeared in Somalia, such as dual chains of command, competitiveness among senior officers for a share of the fighting (for career enhancement), as well as services competing for a share of the mission, and an organization trained in doctrine to fight a 2nd Generation War, i.e., support units of the 10th Mountain division asking the Marines to pull their security because their own soldiers were technicians.
12 Chester I. Bernard, The Functions of the Executive (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1938), p. 132-140. In regard to reform, there are five types of reform: administrative, organizational, socio-political, doctrinal, and technological. Reforms may overlap.
14 Walter Millis, ed., American Military Thought (Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1966), p. 12-14. Washington had proposed a federal Continental Militia, a small regular army, and a military academy as the system best suited for defense. Again, in 1790, Secretary of War Henry Knox proposed a universal professional militia controlled by the Federal government. Both moves died in Congress.
15 Edward M. Coffman, The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime 1784-1898 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 61-64 & 194-198. John R. Elting, American Army Life (New York, NY: Scribner’s, 1982), p. 55, 84. A period of social reform proceeded the Root reforms during the period between the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, see Jack D. Foner, The United States Soldier Between Two Wars: Army Life and Reforms, 1865-1898 (New York, NY: Humanities Press, 1970), Mr. Foner discerns two distinct periods of reform, the first in the early 1880′s and a second in the late 1880′s and early 1890′s. Spurred by the civil service reform movement of the early 1880′s and later by what became the progressive movement, the Army secured numerous social reforms, all aimed at making service life more attractive for the enlisted soldier.
16Discussions with Dr. Faris Kirkland, 12 April, 8 May 1998. Faris Kirkland, “The Gap Between Leadership Policy and Practice: A Historical Perspective,” in Parameters (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, September 1990), p. 54-55. Also see, Coffman, p. 23-40, 101-103 & 176-180. Elting, p. 38-45, 76-78; The Army reformers under Upton failed to reform West Point on the German model. In 1881, General John Schofield resigned as Superintendent citing political meddling when he tried to change the curriculum from an engineer focus to a military art focus. Gradually some technical courses were replaced with more broad, liberal, and military art as in the German system. Several officers including William T. Sherman did see the failure of the Army’s organization and policies during the Civil War. A small group of officers, called “Uptopians” after General Emory Upton attempted some type of reforms for three decades after the Civil War, and met largely with failure.
17 Russell F. Weigly, “American Strategy from its Beginnings through the First World War,” edited by Peter Parat, Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986), p. 439-441.
18 James F. Dunnigan, How To Make War (New York, NY: William Morrow and Company Inc., 1993), p. 584-585; Presents a succinct comparison between maneuver and attrition warfare, “Through most of its wars, the United States successfully used the attrition approach. It is easier to be proficient at this type of warfare. You need to master only the simplest military skills and possess enormous quantities of arms and munitions.”
19 Bruce Catton, Grant Takes Command (New York, NY: Little & Brown and Company, 1969), p. 389-390; Catton is explicit in his analysis of Grant’s brilliant yet simple strategy, and breaks the traditional perception of the focus of Grant’s overall strategy as general-in-chief. Grant wanted to destroy the enemy army, but he preferred to do it through maneuver instead of attrition.
20 Weigly, p. 439-441.
21 Jack C. Lane, Armed Progressive (San Rafael, CA: Presido Press, 1978), p. 150.
22 Emory Upton, the Armies of Asia and Europe (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1878), p. 219; Upton considered the U.S. Army experience as misguided and disastrous. He considered the overall performance of the U.S. Army in all previous wars as unprofessional and wasteful of lives. These results he attributed to ineffective policy regarding an amateur officer corps, a reliance on a militia system and faulty organization. It was General-in-Chief William T. Sherman who was behind sending Upton to Europe, specifically to study the Prussian Army, not the corrupt Belknap.
23 John Dickinson, The Building of an Army (New York, NY: The Century Co. 1922), p. 245-270; at the time the officer corps was not professional. Examinations and efficiency reports were used, but nothing was done when officers failed them or received a bad report — promotions, commissions, and appointments were more often based upon favoritism and political pull than merit. The most common argument in favor of the “up or out” promotion system is “look what happened during the Civil War and World War II, where you had hundreds of officers too old to perform in the field, and had to replaced by younger and more vigorous officers.” This argument ignores the fact that, unlike today, no mental and physical evaluations existed.
24 Paul Y. Hammond, in Organizing for Defense: The American Military Establishment in the Twentieth Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961), p. 10; Hammond asserts that President McKinley brought in Root “to clean up the mess” left by the Spanish-American War. While Graham A. Cosmas, in An Army for Empire: The United States Army in the Spanish-American War (Columbia: University o f Missouri Press, 1971), p. 311; Cosmas claims that “McKinley strove to organize the Army on the principles elaborated by Emory Upton.”
25 Chester I. Bernard, The Functions of the Executive (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1938), p. 148.
26 Russel F. Weigley, “Elihu Root Reforms and the Progressive Era,” in William Geffen, ed. Command and Commanders in Modern Warfare (Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, 1971), p. 24. Jack C. Lane, “The Military Profession’s Search for Identity,” Marine Corps Gazette (Quantico, VA: Marine Corps Association, June 1973), p. 40.
27 Samuel P. Hays, “Introduction” in Jerry Isrel, ed., Building the Organizational Society (New York: The Free Press, 1971), p. 3 & 10.
28 Chester I. Bernard, p. 133.
29 For the best explanation regarding the “Americanization” of the General Staff, see, John M. Palmer, America in Arms: The Experience of The United States with Military Organization (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1941), p. 125; “In the correct sense, a General Staff officer is distinctly a specialist in the highest of all military specialties and not a generalists as most of us assumed him to be when Congress passed the General Staff Act of 1903. To us [the officer corps], the new General Staff appeared to be a sort of a busybody staff created to butt into the business of every other staff activity”. Secretary Root did not want his new General Staff to be a super administrative agency to do what was already being done.” Robert L. Goldich, “Evolution of Congressional Attitudes toward a General Staff in the Twentieth Century,” Defense Organization (Washington, D.C.: Senate Armed Services Committee, 1980), p. 244-274. Also see William H. Carter, “Army Reformers” in North American Review (October 1918), p. 548-55; A critical evaluation of those who had hindered effective Army reform such as the bureau chiefs of cavalry, artillery and infantry and the National Guard Association.
30 Allan R. Millett, The General: Robert L. Bullard and Officership in the United States Army 1881-1925 (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1975), p. 208-210; Millett talks about Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Bullard’s perceptions of the influence of the emerging culture of management science, “Bullard thought that modern society had made leadership especially difficult because it produced a – common lack of manly honor and self-respect – among soldiers by its impersonality and its materialistic value system.” Millett goes on quoting Bullard, “The straining life of highly organized society has undoubtedly made men more nervous, more hysterical and less able to face danger, suffering and death. . .the frequent necessity of defense of self and rights, have made them more than ever loth [sic] to risk their lives in war and battle.” Also, Russell F. Weigley, History of the United States Army (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1984), p. 598-600.
32 Millett, p. 309-345; Talks extensively about how General John Pershing, Commander of American Expeditionary Forces in France in World War I, adopted a command climate of fear to impress on the French and British the professionalism of U.S. officers. This tradition of fear, later called “zero-defects,” was emphasized at the Infantry School and Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in the 1920′s and 1930′s. Marshall believed in the centralized control of subordinates. See, Daniel P. Bolger, “Zero Defects: Command Climate in the First U.S. Army, 1944-45,” Military Review (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Command & General Staff College, May 1991), p. 66-67; Marshall wrote, “control presupposes that the leaders knows the location of all elements of his command at all times and can communicate with any element at any time.” Marshall emphasized that his students, instructors (and later subordinates) understood that knowing the “rules and procedures” overcame friction. In Marshall’s tenure at the Infantry School and as Chief of Staff of the Army “the requirement [of control] was absolute.” This command and leadership philosophy applies to the fact that Marshall had no thoroughly trained professional Army to speak of at the beginning of World War II, so he had to resort at least initially in training to this style of leadership, but it persisted to the very end of World War II, and was carried on after the war.
35U.S. Congress Senate, Committee on Armed Services, Officer Personnel Act of 1947 (Washington D.C.: Congressional Record, 1st Session, July 1947). From the testimonies of Generals Eisenhower and Marshall.
36U.S. Congress Senate, Congressional Quarterly Almanac (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1916), p. 321-322. The introduction of up or out came with the Navy Personnel Act of 1916, it floundered in the inter-war years because the Navy did not possess a large officer corps to support up or out. “The new rapid-promotion system for men of special ability would make the military career more attractive to brilliant men, and the bill would also increase military efficiency by making it possible to get rid of unqualified officers.”
38U.S. War Department Bureau of Public Relations, Report of the Secretary of War’s Board on Officer-Enlisted Man Relationships (Washington, D.C.: U.S. War Department, May 1946), p. 2-3.
39 William L. Hauser, Restoring Military Professionalism (Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation, 1985), p. 1-3; This article specifically talks about the impacts of the 1947 OPA.
40 Kenneth Kay, “How the Air Force Learns from Business,” in Air Force Magazine (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: U.S. Air Force Command & Staff College, August 1956, p. 144-50 & 155; Twenty-five Army officer attended Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and Wharton Business Schools for postgraduate studies in business and personnel management. After their education, officers were assigned to service schools and command headquarters to teach and formulate management and personnel policies.
41Faris Kirkland, “Soldiers and Marines at Chosin Reservoir: Criteria for Assignment to Combat Command,” in Armed Forces and Society (Baltimore, MD: Holy Locks Press, 1996/96), p. 258.
42Faris Kirkland, p. 259.
43Of the six division commanders that initially went into Korea, four were relieved by December, and of those four none had previously commanded a division.
46 Discussions with BG Mike Lynch USA (ret.) 29 May 1998; “Despite today’s rhetoric, a replay of Vietnam with today’s wonder weapons would produce the same result. We’d just kill more people and destroy more enemy means. And we wouldn’t understand that the North Vietnamese won with the appropriate measures.
47 The so-called “search and destroy” concept, developed by then Major General William DePuy, assistant to General William Westmoreland, violated the basic tenet of protecting terrain and preserving combat resources. It was based on faulty perceptions of leaders who considered our status based on World War II to be superior. It was planned by subordinates schooled in the French way of war. They erroneously assumed we could control events. It was carried about by a legion of dedicated grunts who trustingly presumed its architects were professionally qualified.
48Cinnicatinatus, Self-Destruction, The Disintegration and Decay of the United States Army during the Vietnam Era (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1981), p. 132-140.
49William D. Henderson, Cohesion: The Human Element in Combat (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1985); This book compares the personnel policies that effected cohesion, leadership and training between the Israeli, Vietnamese, United States and Soviet Union. The United States Army does not fare well in this book.
50Henry L. Trewhitt, McNamara (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 4-12 & 34-56; McNamara had been brought up on the quantitative-measurements approach since his days at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. His military experience in World War II was limited to the sterile environment where he worked as a captain for the Army Air Corps in accounting problems, and emerged alongside the growing management science culture.
52U.S. Army, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (DCSPER), Study of the Twelve Month Vietnam Tour (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 29 June 1970), p. 3-10. Also see, U.S. Army, U.S. Army Replacement System: DCSPER Staff Study (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 10 March 1959).
53H.P. Ball, Of Responsible Command (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, 1983), p. 180-182. Also see W.V. Pratt, The U.S. States Navy War College-A Staff Study (NewPort, RI: U.S. Naval War College, 1954); for a thorough history of the U.S. military’s resistance to the use of examinations. In 1903 at the Naval War College, a proposal was also laid out that examinations be used to determine standings in the class, yet was resisted on the grounds of its use was “undemocratic.”
54 Sam C. Sarkesian, The Professional Army Officer in a Changing Society (Chicago, IL: Nelson-Hall, 1975), p. 67.
55Larry H. Ingraham, “The OER Cudgel: Radical Surgery Needed,” in Army Magazine (Arlington, VA: The Association of the United States Army, March 1986), p. 8-16.
56 J.T. Miller, “Integrity and Reality in Writing Up OERs,” Army (Arlington, VA: Association of the United States Army, April 1977), also reproduced in a C&GSC ethics pamphlet, p. L1-AS-2-5.
57Paul L. Savage and Richard Gabrial, “Turning Away From Managerialism: The Environment of Military Leadership,” in Military Review (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Command & General Staff College, July 1980), p. 57.
58U.S. Army War College, Study on Military Professionalism (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, 1970), p. 12 and abstract.
59Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL), How to Change an Army (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command &General Staff College, 1997), p. slides 1 and 2.
60Bacevich, p. 6-7. For a thorough assessment of OPMS 71, see William Hauser, “The Peacetime Army: Retrospect and Prospect,” in Robing Higham and Carol Brandt, ed., The United States Army in Peacetime (Manhattan, KS: Military Affairs/Aerospace Publishing, 1975), p. 217. Also see, David McCormick, The Downsized Warrior: America’s Army in Transition (New York, NY: New York University Press, 1998).
61Discussions with LTG Richard Trefry USA (ret.), 4 and 11 May 1998; General Trefry sheds realistic light on the inability of the U.S. Army to adopt a unit personnel system. The demands of a bloated officer corps at the middle and upper ranks forces the Army to maintain a force structure filled with numerous headquarters manned by thousands and officers and soldiers, which does not allow the Army to create enough units to rotate with one another based on the manpower cap set by Congress. He says it is because “there are not enough faces to fill the spaces.” He also states that the Army officer corps does not have the discipline to maintain a unit system because as soon as a cohesive unit arrives to replace losses, it is instantly broken up due to “the priorities of the commander.”
62Discussions with General Donn Starry USA (ret.) 7 November 1997. Also see, P.W. Faith, British Army, and D.I. Ross, Canadian Forces, Application of the Regimental System to the United States Army’s Combat Arms (Fort Monroe, VA: Training and Doctrine Command, April 1980).
63Informal surveys conducted by author among former platoon leaders, sergeants, and company commanders of COHORT units.
64Army Research Institute, Newsletter, Vol.9 (Alexandria, VA: The Army Research Institute, June 1992); The effect of “climate” on trust, cohesion, and unit effectiveness has been validated in many studies. The Army has considerable experience with a variety of surveys beginning with the Study of Professionalism. It is the use of data, not the gathering of it, that has been the primary flaw in the Army’s survey efforts.
65Walter F. Ulmer, Jr., “Military Leadership into the 21st Century: Another “Bridge Too Far?” in Parameters (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, Spring 1998), p. 4-25.
66Discussions with General Edward Meyer USA (ret.) 29 January 1998.
67Author worked periodically with the OPMS XXI group from September 1996 through March 1997. The members that composed the OPMS XXI Task Force were some of the “best and the brightest” the Army had to offer.
68 Donald E. Chipman, “The Military Courtier and the Illusion of Competence,” in Air University Review (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: The Air Force Air University, March 1983), p. 15-24.
69 bid, p. 15-24. Doughty, p. 7-12, 33-41, 56-57, 113-117; Bacevich, p. 61.
70Edward N. Luttwak, The Pentagon and the Art of War (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1985) , p. 188. In 1995 the Army had 70,203 commissioned officers for 422,073 enlisted personnel. Even after the latest cuts the ratio will remain the same. See also, James Bennett, “So Many Officers, So Little to Do,” Washington Monthly (Washington, D.C.: Washington Monthly Publishing, February 1990), p. 23. Nick Koltz, “Where have all the Warriors Gone,” in Washingtonian (Washington, D.C.: Kurtz and Able, July 1984), p. 25.
71 Informal survey taken by author, statement made by unidentified major working Force XXI doctrine issues.
72Bennett, p. 22-23.
73 Robert Worth, “Unwieldy and Irrelevant: Why is the military clinging to outdated and inefficient command structures?” Washington Monthly (Washington, D.C.: Washington Monthly Publishing, October 1977), p. 28; taken from a study done by DoD office of the Inspector General in 1988 which found that 50% of commands in the military were redundant or replicated another command.
74 John C.C. Tillson, Merle L. Roberson and Stanley A. Horowitz, Alternative Approaches to Organizing, Training and Assessing Army and Marine Corps Units (Alexandria, VA: Institute for Defense Analysis, November 1992), p. 23: A band of excellence resembles a roller coaster of training ups and downs with the band representing the mean average of the surges of training which occur with constant inflow and outflow of personnel.
75U.S. Army, The Personnel Replacement System of the United States Army (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History Publication 104-9, Government Printing Office, 1954), p. 122-124.
76 Discussions with Dr. Steven Canby and Mr. John Tillson. Both these individuals are experts on unit cohesion systems and have developed a system of unit development and replacement for use by the United States Army and Marine Corps.
77 This system comes from a mixture of system employed by the Germans, Israelis, British and proposals put forth by Dr. Canby and Mr. Tillson. A separate essay could be written about the new system, and this here is only used a foundation in which to place the officer corps’ focus.
78U.S. Army, TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5: Force XXI Operations, (Fort Monroe, VA: Training and Doctrine Command, August 1994), p. 3-4, 3-5.
79Nick Koltz, “Where have All the Warriors Gone,” in Washingtonian (Washington, D.C.: Washington, D.C.: Kurtz and Able, July 1984), p. 27-30.
80K.E. Hamburger, “Leadership in Combat: An Historical Appraisal,” (West Point, NY: History Department, United States Military Academy, 1994).
81OPMS 71 did away with decentralization of promoting officers and selecting them for command by division commanders. During the Vietnam War, it was perceived that rampant favoritism occurred in this process. General officers were concerned with this lack of trust in their ability to pick future commanders. See, Memorandum from Office of the Chief of Staff for Personnel to Colonel Jimmie H. Leach USA (ret.), dated 7 December 1977 regarding concerns over the centralized promotion and selection system. Letter dated 23 December 1977, from Brigadier General J. McKinley Gibson USA (ret.) to General Bruce C. Clarke regarding the feeling among general officers with the new centralized promotion and selection system.
82 Donovan R. Bigelow, “Equal but Separate: Can the Army’s Affirmative Action Program Withstand Judicial Scrutiny After Croson?” in Military Law Review (Washington, D.C.: Winter 1991), p. 12-13; This article, written after extensive research by Captain Bigelow, talks of the influence projected over centralized boards by the Army in the pursuit of “goals” in the promotion of women and minorities.
83Carl “Truth” Rehberg, unpublished Master’s Thesis, “An Exploratory Study of Psychological Type With Respect to Rank in the USAF,” (University of South Dakota, March 1991). Discussions with Major Rehberg.
84 Ibid, p. 86-91. Chipman, p. 33-34. Defense Manpower Commission (DMC), Defense Manpower: The Keystone of National Security, Report to the President and the Congress (Washington, D.C.: United States Congress, March 1976), p. 261; “one of the most controversial subjects deals with the “up or out” promotion system in the personnel management area . . . has created morale problems . . . has caused personnel turbulence and general hardship” and is “failure oriented.” It is also one of the reasons Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, and head of the Senate Armed Forces Committee resisted DOPMA for four years stating, that is expensive to force officer up through the ranks and a waste of experience to get rid of others.”
85 Edward L. Beach, U.S. Navy (ret.) “Up or Out, a Financial Disaster,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings (Providence, RI: U.S. Naval War College, June 1987), p. 54-57.
86Dr. Charlie Moskos of Northwestern University and considered the leading military sociologist in the nation, has conducted extensive research and written several books on the impacts of the military using economic incentives and turning the military profession into a job instead of a profession.
87 Ralph Peters, “Twelve steps to Army Reform,” in Army Times (Springfield, VA: Army Times Publishing, 8 June 1998), p.31; “Revise the personnel system to attract and retain talent instead of driving it away.” And “terminate the “up or out” policy. This article is concise and provides a road map for Army reform.
88Bigelow, p. 15; Describes in detail the workings of the Army’s centralized boards.
89 Sam C. Sarkesian, and William Taylor, “The Case for Civilian Graduate Education for Professional Officers,” in Armed Forces and Society 1, no. 2 (New York, NY: Scribner and Sons, 1975), p. 251-261; “The effective command of complex military units and organizations remain as much an art as a science. Development of the capacity for exercising command effectively is advanced by studies ranging from history to understanding of the human condition to ethics and psychology of leadership, before the processes of decision, the capabilities of weapons, the elements of alliance relationships, the thought patterns, culture and doctrine of possible opponents, and the whole gamut of professional military considerations are even broached.”
90D. Nowowiejski, “Leader Development and Why it Remains Important,” in Military Review (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Command & General Staff College, No. 4. 1995), p. 70-75.
91P.J. Dermer, “CGSC – Learning Institution or Inhibitor?” Term Paper (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1996), p. 3-4; This paper describes the shortcomings of U.S. Army education from the view of the students.
92 Informal author survey with former students of Army schools, journalists, and military historians.
93 Discussions with Dr. Charles White, and Mr. Jim Etter, President and Founder of American Military University. Martin van Creveld, The Training of Officers (New York, NY: Free Press, 1990), p. 145-156; Dr. van Creveld recommends to move up education and refocus. Also see his Fighting Power, where he compares U.S. and German training methods.
94Dermer, p. 9-12; Dermer and other former students of C&GSC, as well as developers at TRADOC, talk about the Army using the same scenarios to teach processes as well as validating new tactical and operational concepts. One familiar scenario is the Fulda Gap scenario in central Germany using a Soviet style enemy.
95 Christopher Bassford, The Spit Shine Syndrome: Organizational Irrationality in the American Field Army (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1988), p. 84; Dr. Bassford provides a solid recommendation on how to instill cohesion and create effective team force on force evaluations.
96Charles E. White, The Enlightened Soldier: Scharnhorst and the Militaerische Gesellcshaft in Berlin (New York, NY: Praeger, 1989), p. 34-40, 105-6, & 123.
97Discussions with Mr. Bruce Gudmundsson, Mr. William Lind, and COL Mike Wyly USMC (ret.).
98McCormick, p. 120-156; Dave McCormick talks about the selections for early retirement boards used help accomplish the Army’s drawdown.
99The ideas on education are based on discussions with LTC Robert Chase, USMC, and Dr. Charles White. This included Marshall’s legacy where several of his instructors at the Infantry School Ft. Benning later became general officers in World War II, and the assignment of the Lawton Collins to the faculty of the War College in the late 30′s.
100 In the mid-1980′s the Army implemented personnel policy called “Project Warrior.” It took top officers in company command and sent them to be observer controllers and then rotated them to be small group tactical instructors at the branch schools. Today the pendulum has swung back the other way with the Army placing its “fast trackers” in the Pentagon or at Personnel Command (PERSCOM) to serve in the bureaucracy.
101 Donald E. Vandergriff, “Creating the Officer Corps to Execute Force XXI Blitzkrieg,” in Armor (Fort Knox, KY: U.S. Army Armor Center, March-April 1997), p. 29.
102 William E. Rosenback and Robert L. Taylor, Contemporary Issues in Leadership (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1984), p. 87. Discussions with BG Mike Lynch, 24 May 1998; “Ridgway’s mavericks all got in trouble when his successors, such as General Maxwell Taylor did not think like he did, and emphasized the corporate man over the warrior.”
103 Discussions with LTC Paul Maubert, USMC, 12 May 1998.