By: Jose L. Soto
The science and the art of leadership are fundamental to the military.
The military systematically develops both enlisted soldiers and officers to
lead in progressively more responsible positions. Senior echelon leaders
are in charge of thousands of soldiers, manage large budgets, and make
decisions that in times of war have a dramatic impact on both the soldiers who serve under their command and for the strategic goals of the nation.
Military leadership has historically been very hierarchical and
relative to other domains (industry, education, and so forth), relatively
authoritarian. Traditionally, a centralized authority operating in an
extremely hierarchical organization tended to ensure relatively fast and
accurate transmission of orders and other communications. Moreover, the job
of the military has traditionally been to exert military force – in the form
of various weapons – on a target and to destroy that target. I am
simplifying this to some extent, but in such a setting a leader needed to
know how to exert power over others and maintain focus on a relatively well-defined goal of defeating an enemy target. Traits of the “good” 20th century
(and before) military leader thus included technical competence,
decisiveness, and strong goal-directed behavior.
Rapid advances in information and communication technologies coupled with a
change like warfare may have expanded the skills that are
prerequisite for effective military leadership. Although military
organizations maintain their traditional, hierarchical structure, this
structure is no longer necessary to expedite clear and fast communication
within and between units. With the click of a mouse, the most senior leader
can communicate with everyone under his or her command.
About the writer:
Jose Soto, age 32, born in Fort Worth, TX. At the age of 16 Jose and his parents moved to Arlington, TX where he then enrolled and attended the University of Texas at Arlington. Two years into his undergraduate studies Jose became responsible for his parents medical finances and felt that he needed to put a pause to his education. After a year of struggling with his student debt, Jose decided to enlist in the United States Army. The U.S. Army has helped Jose and his family in many ways. Learn about how the U.S. Army can help you accomplish your dreams.