Army Operating Strategy

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VERSION 2.0 (DRAFT)

Educating for Thinking Strategically: Building Capacity across the Force
(2020-2040)

Our training methods are conditioned by the ideal of automatic response. At the same time, our observation of the battlefield’s reality makes clear to us that we need men who can think through their situation and steel themselves for action according to the situation. (Marshall 1947)

Brigadier General S. L. A. Marshall, Men Against Fire (1947)

For more than 200 years, Army leaders have recognized that success on the battlefield requires individuals who possess the ability to comprehensively think through the problem at hand, quickly adapt to
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As a result, the current system must be revised. The goal of this initiative is to empower all Army Organizations to develop throughout the entirety of the force, Soldiers and Civilians who intellectually shape and defend their strategic positions and decisions.

Strategic Thinking begins with Development of Thinking Competencies In an organization the size of the Army, the development of thinking competencies is, by necessity, a decentralized effort. Building Army-wide strategic thinking competencies requires long-term institutional, operational and individual commitment to the development of these competencies. This requires a purposeful shift from limited levels of understanding key competencies and enablers, to force wide acceptance and development of these competencies through a common language and lexicon of associated terms and processes. We must educate the force to understand that strategic thinking skills are not directly associated with levels of war, cohort, rank, grade or organizational hierarchies but rather by one’s ability to mature thinking competencies through their military education and training, operational assignments and experience and individually focused and guided self-development. Thinking competencies cannot be developed through Professional Military Education alone. In fact, PME (i.e. the Institutional
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