In this issue
Our cover author, TRADOC Commander Gen. Martin Dempsey, personifies the professor-warrior. His passion for books, writing, blogging and lively lecturing is well known. His battle leadership skills were honed in Iraq as commander of 1st Armored Division in 2003 and as Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq commander from 2005 to 2007.
Nominated to be the next Army chief of staff, Dempsey will need both skill sets to steer the Army out of Iraq and Afghanistan and into the future challenges of a complex world where the art of negotiation may be as important to a soldier’s skill set as the art of war.
The Army has begun a yearlong effort that examines the profession-of-arms concept and the tools and experiences a soldier needs to be a professional. Fundamental to this self-examination is the question of what makes good leaders and how best to develop them.
Dempsey gives his thoughts here on that question. Typical of a man who enthusiastically grabs, borrows and connects ideas and lessons learned from all walks of life, Dempsey reaches beyond the conventional thinking. He wants officers to “gain experiences outside of the operational Army,” to be skilled negotiators, critical thinkers and students of conflict termination. Their perspectives must be broadened so they can see the Army’s mission within the bigger national security picture.
Many of these aspirations, of course, are seen today in the Army’s junior officers who cut their teeth in Iraq and Afghanistan and adapted field manuals on the fly. The strategic soldier was a cornerstone of the turnaround in Iraq and remains critical to success in Afghanistan.
Dempsey’s vision is to ensure that those new skills and perspectives are learned by design rather than by default.