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Category: Ethics & Leadership

Feb. 23, 2021

From Citizen Soldier to Secular Saint: The Societal Implications of Military Exceptionalism

The American public has placed extraordinary trust and confidence in the military, celebrating heroism and service in diverse venues ranging from religious services to theme parks to sporting events. Survey after survey has shown that Americans revere their military, at least superficially. How members of the military feel about their own service, sacrifices, and relationship to the rest of society has been an open question. To help explore these questions, we surveyed more than 1,200 midgrade to senior military officers and West Point cadets between 2017 and 2020 regarding their political views, their sacrifices, and their pride in service.

Nov. 19, 2020

Joint Force Quarterly 99 (4th Quarter, October 2020)

Robert Kennedy’s speech that day in 1966—on a then unprecedented trip and exactly 2 years before his assassination—included some words that may help all of us see our road ahead a bit more clearly. He stated, “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage such as these that the belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” To me that is what Americans, especially those in uniform, aspire to do. Let us know what you think. Be safe.

Oct. 20, 2020

Listen to Women

The NATO Alliance is winding down its Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, the first mission to have gender perspectives incorporated into the entire planning cycle, and it is not entirely clear that lessons will be learned. The risk is that NATO comes to see WPS as “outdated” before it has achieved its objectives in Afghanistan, and before WPS has been widely understood and internalized by NATO officials.

July 13, 2020

Western Way of War

RUSI Western Way of War audio discussion featuring Dr. Frank Hoffman.

May 20, 2019

Finding Ender: Exploring the Intersections of Creativity, Innovation, and Talent Management in the U.S. Armed Forces

Current national-level strategic documents exhort the need for creativity and innovation as a precondition of America’s continued competitive edge in the international arena. But what does that really mean in terms of personnel, processes, and culture? This paper argues that an overlooked aspect of talent management, that of cognitive diversity, must be considered when retooling military talent management systems. Going one step further, talent management models must incorporate diversity of both skill set and mindset into their calculus. Specifically, the Department of Defense (DOD) needs to recruit, retain, and utilize Servicemembers and civilians with higher than average levels of creativity and a propensity for innovative thinking. It needs “enders.”

July 5, 2017

Deconstructing the “Warrior Caste:” The Beliefs and Backgrounds of Senior Military Elites

In May 2017, The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) published a study exploring the implications of the rise of a “Warrior Caste” in American society.1 The authors conclude the implications are mixed. On the positive side of the ledger, they report that the United States now possesses a more ready and professionalized military than ever before. On the negative side, this force consists of a dwindling percentage of the population, who are more isolated from mainstream American society than ever before. As a growing percentage of service members and officers are coming from military families themselves, the choice to join the military is becoming more akin to a decision to join the family business. The result is greater divisions between the ‘Warrior Caste” and the civilian population than the numbers would indicate if taken at face value.

Dec. 1, 2013

The Noncommissioned Officer and Petty Officer: Backbone of the Armed Forces

A first of its kind, this book—of, by, and for the noncommissioned officer and petty officer—is a comprehensive explanation of the enlisted leader across the U.S. Armed Services. It complements The Armed Forces Officer, the latest edition of which was published by NDU Press in 2007, as well as the Services’ NCO/PO manuals and handbooks. Written by a team of Active, Reserve, and retired senior enlisted leaders from all Service branches, this book defines and describes how NCOs/POs fit into an organization, centers them in the Profession of Arms, explains their dual roles of complementing the officer and enabling the force, and exposes their international engagement. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey writes in his foreword to the book, “We know noncommissioned officers and petty officers to have exceptional competence, professional character, and soldierly grit—they are exemplars of our Profession of Arms.”