Leadership: De'ja'Vu, Anyone?

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February 5, 2006: The U.S. Air Force has decided to reorganize it's military staff structure, to match what the navy and army uses. Not a really big deal. The army structure uses a numbering system, where the "1" department is in charge of personnel, the "2" department takes care of intelligence, the "3" bunch deals with planning, "4" cares for logistics, and so on. Thus at the division level, the "G2" officer would be in charge of keeping track of intelligence operations throughout the division. At the battalion level (the smallest unit with a staff), the "S2" officer deals with all intel matters in the battalion.

What's interesting about all this is that the U.S. Navy made the switch some two decades ago, and it didn't make much difference. Actually, the navy has concluded that they would have been better off sticking with their own traditional staff names and departments (which predate the ones the army uses, which were developed in the 19th century.) Maybe the air force didn't get the memo about the navy experience, or maybe there are other reasons. Or no reasons at all. Stranger things have happened when it comes to staff reorganizations. Of course, the air force has a history with the army staff organization. When the air force was created, by renaming the Army Air Force, in the late 1940s, all the newly created air force staff officers only knew the army system. But the air force wanted to show they were different, so they developed a new staff organization. Déjà vu, anyone?

 


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