Leadership: March 12, 2002

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One reason for the rapid victory over the Taliban can be traced back to one of the U.S. Army reforms of the 1970s and 80s. All those years ago the army began to improve the training and education of officers and, particularly, NCOs. These leaders were given more, and better, training in how to manage their troops and lead them in diverse and stressful situations. Mode education was stressed, particularly languages and technical skills. The troops that started their career at the same time all these new programs came to be, are now the senior leadership of the army. Despite the many problems the army has encountered in the past decade (sharp personnel cutbacks, lowering training and discipline standards to accommodate more female soldiers, many of the best leaders leaving because of the first two items), there has been enough depth in the leadership ranks to keep things going. One of the things that kept more good officers and NCOs leaving was the quality of the leadership. Without that, there would have been a mass exodus of good leaders as happened right after World War II and Vietnam. Leadership, like training, is hard to measure. But if you're in the army, you'll know it when you see it.

 


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