CHANGING OUR TOOLKIT FOR “CHANGE”

Leaders affect change at the individual, unit, and enterprise levels both in response to the external environment and internal pressures to build and sustain readiness for the next mission. For years, a common theme in military doctrine and conventional wisdom has been that leaders must lead change. If sustaining competitive advantage in a complex and […]

LEADING AND MANAGING CHANGE: MORE THAN JUST A PROCESS

[Kotter’s] first step is to establish a sense of urgency. … But then the question I ask the students is, ‘What’s the step that leads to figuring out what’s urgent?’ Why is change hard in military organizations? There’s no question that militaries need to change routinely to sustain the ability to fight and win its […]

IS THE “CHAIN OF COMMAND” STILL MEANINGFUL?

In the face of so much change in the private sector, continued adherence to formal structures in the military seems old-fashioned. Without a doubt, the chain of command is one of the most durable concepts in military organizations. From Roman times until present, the chain of command fixed formal authorities and accountability from the highest […]

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! — INTRODUCING WHITEBOARD

We invite you, our WAR ROOM readers, to join in the conversation and add to the Whiteboard. If you were faced with a vexing complex problem, how would you start solving it? …After the fear, procrastination, and panic, that is. You would do a little research, assemble your initial thoughts, and reach out to some […]

FROM POLICY & STRATEGY TO CAPABILITY & CAPACITY: THE DEFENSE MANAGEMENT PRIMER

In an organization in which … ‘manageR’ is an insult, it is not easy to convince people that defense management is valuable. We are pleased to announce the publication of Defense Management: Primer for Senior Leaders, by the U.S. Army War College’s Department of Command, Leadership, and Management. (Download the primer here. Listen to a […]

WHY DO WE CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARIES?

Sadly, historical events seem to require a round number of years to draw attention from the public, especially as first-hand memories of the event fade. Isn’t it funny how a birthday, anniversary, or other milestone can make you reflect? On the 1st of May, WAR ROOM turns one year old. Hard to believe how we […]

GREAT CAPTAINS: COMMAND & THOSE WHO DID IT BEST

Greatness … should be judged by some combination of leaders’ political impact; strategic, operational, or tactical brilliance; and innovation and effects on subsequent military practice. What makes a military leader great? WAR ROOM’s new podcast series, Great Captains, takes up this old question. Moderated by Dr. Andrew Hill, Editor-in-Chief of WAR ROOM and Chair of […]

THE “DUSTY SHELVES SERIES”: BRINGING MILITARY HISTORY TO LIFE

Remembering the past is hard, not just because memories fade but because capturing the past in a meaningful, relevant, and intellectually honest way is difficult, complex, and too often unrewarded. LISTEN TO THE INAUGURAL EPISODE ON RIDGWAY’S 1951 MEMO HERE. The great philosopher and writer George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past […]

FORMING U.S. AFRICA COMMAND: A STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION SUCCESS — AFRICOM AT 10 YEARS (PART 1)

Success stories [IN STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION] do exist. The formation of the U.S. Army’s African Command (AFRICOM) was … a case of turning the communication environment from open hostility to general favorability in two short years. It is very easy to bash the U.S. government and the U.S. military for strategic communication failures. From bad messaging […]

THE PRACTICE (AND PROBLEMS) OF MILITARY GHOSTWRITING

We need to encourage all officers to engage more directly in the generation of expert knowledge, and remove barriers to doing so based on rank or position. I have never forgotten this incident. I was a junior field-grade officer, and my boss — a senior flag officer — wanted to write an article but did […]