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Technology is changing marching orders for Army leadership

Who would have thought that information technology would be strong enough to flatten U.S. military leadership?

But that is indeed the case. The Army is now rethinking how it operates — and even redesigning its leadership structure — because technology has advanced so rapidly and changed the nature of war, according to an Aug. 24 Federal Business Opportunities notice.

Army leaders believe future military operations will increasingly rely on a dispersed, decentralized force. “Units will be isolated, command posts will be mobile, the planning process will be collaborative, decision-making will be determined by soldiers on the ground, rehearsals will be virtual, and team membership will continually evolve to fit the needs of the situation,” the Army's notice states.

“Future leaders and their subordinates will be faced with complex working environments, accelerated operations and a potentially diminished (e.g., flattened) command structure,” the notice also states.

The Army believes communicating through IT and electronic media might force leaders to change their traditional leadership style and behavior. To change, they need to know how IT is being used in a military context and how to lead and influence via technology, the notice states.

To prepare, the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences is seeking research on e-leadership for the military. The primary goal of the research is to provide guidance to leaders on how to manage emerging relationships, build trust and identification, clarify expectations, and motivate and inspire followers through electronic media, the notice states.

The research’s overarching objectives are to figure out how and how often the military communicates through technology and then what Army officers need to know to be good leaders in the technology era of military operations.

The question now comes to our readers who are experts in IT. How should the Army, and the military overall, lead in the age of technology?

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Aug 25, 2010 at 7:20 PM


Reader Comments

Wed, Mar 30, 2011 Grunt DoD Army

Quote from BH:"Those who have the skills and are tech savvy will rise to the challenge". In the case of our Leadership, this may never occur until those tech skills are required of daily/common decision making by said leaders...and more importantly throughout their careers...because as it is now...they mostly have others do the tech work for them...so the disconnect is extreme and in most cases of DoD Army....it’s only a few isolated few that do the tech work of many. how to change all of this...Start now!, teaching hands on requirements in a hands on classroom..example..Army gives 4 weeks to train "basic" rifle marksmanship...the trooper uses weapon once a year to re qualify, and maybe...just maybe in time of war...Now sit back and think about this one...how much training.. "hands on" do we give those same troops or the millions of government employees regarding basic/advanced computer tools/utility tools..."MS Office" components...? None, yep, absolutely none! Get it!, and that continues to occur and that gap of basic using, producing, leveraging is becoming a larger gap for said employees..until we start real in class room hands on training to all DoD current and future technologies..just some thoughts...
So to the writer wanting the proposed answers from the IT folks…I’m also a KM advisor…or KMS as they call it here.
"Grunt"

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 BH

Leadership is still Leadership. The military still has a Chain of Command. Individuals are still responsible for carrying out orders. The Military has operated with dispersed forces since the beginning of time. However, our future gereration is more adapt at technology than are their direct supervosrs. The younger generation can multitask more easily. The younger generation takes more risks. As time passes, this younger generation will slowly replace the current leadership that is in place. Will they be prepared to Lead? We must also acknowledge some individuals are born to lead, some rise to the occasion when called upon, and some are trained in Leadership skills. I think that future leaders will have to be technology savvy as well as have the ledership skills that will allow them to reach this new generation of followers. They must be someone that the troops will respect not only for their style, decision making ability but also for their understanding of technology as a tool to communicate key decisions and hold people responsible who are half a world away. The culture is slowly changing. Those who have the skills and are tech savvy will rise to the challenge.

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