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Military Professionalism Studies

Added December 12, 2016
Type: Letort Papers
Enhancing Identity Development at Senior Service Colleges. Authored by Dr. Thomas P. Galvin.
View the Executive Summary

Professional identity development is vitally important for senior leaders, hence it is included in both Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) policy and Senior Service College (SSC) programs. However, because identity development is not measurable in the same way as skills and knowledge, it is too often overlooked or assumed away. For example, the most recent Joint officer education policy does not include guidance or direction to operationalize identity development in curricula. This Letort Paper examines identity development and offers an approach based on current work in the U.S. Army War College’s (USAWC’s) resident program.
Added April 07, 2016
Type: Monograph
Starting Strong: Talent-Based Branching of Newly Commissioned U.S. Army Officers. Authored by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Michael J. Colarusso, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth G. Heckel, Colonel David S. Lyle, Lieutenant Colonel William L. Skimmyhorn.
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This monograph examines a new talent management approach to assigning commissioned officers to their initial Army basic branches, highlighting its increased potential for long-run officer productivity, engagement, and satisfaction.
Added October 26, 2015
Type: Monograph
Breaking the Bathsheba Syndrome: Building a Performance Evaluation System that Promotes Mission Command. Authored by Colonel Curtis D. Taylor.
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The Army today is seeking to inculcate a philosophy of mission command across the force based on a culture of mutual trust, clear intent, and decentralized initiative. It is therefore, reasonable to ask if our current performance evaluation system contributes or detracts from such a culture.
Added September 18, 2015
Type: Monograph
Developing Emerging Leaders: The Bush School and the Legacy of the 41st President. Edited by Dr. Joseph R. Cerami.
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This research project examines the ideas and techniques for the education and training development of emerging leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The project addresses the gaps in military and civilian education and training in preparing emerging leaders for “whole of government,” cross-agency, and cross-sector organizational environments.
Added September 09, 2015
Type: Student (Carlisle) Papers
The Future Security Environment: Why the U.S. Army Must Differentiate and Grow Millennial Officer Talent. Authored by Colonel Michael J. Arnold.
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Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, when speaking at his high school in Philadelphia, PA, recently stated, “We need to change our promotion and retention rules.” This Paper’s recommendations attempt to tackle some ways our Army can be at the forefront of making some historic changes to our outdated personnel system.
Added August 04, 2015
Type: Student (Carlisle) Papers
A Shared Burden: The Military and Civilian Consequences of Army Pain Management Since 2001. Authored by Colonel Craig Trebilcock.
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The Army has developed a prescription pain pill culture since 2001 that is not being adequately addressed through current Army enforcement and medical policies. A survey of recent U.S. Army War College graduates and civilian Veterans Court judges suggests the road to an opioid free fighting force lies not in more enforcement, but in prescription reform, Soldier medical monitoring, and meaningful rehabilitation programs.
Added July 30, 2015
Type: Monograph
The Limits of Military Officers’ Duty to Obey Civilian Orders: A Neo-Classical Perspective. Authored by Mr. Robert E. Atkinson, Jr.
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When must military officers obey civilian orders; when may they, or must they, disobey? This paper tries to ground both the professional duty of obedience and the standard exceptions, legal and moral, in a classical understanding of the common good.
Added June 30, 2015
Type: Monograph
Paid to Perform: Aligning Total Military Compensation with Talent Management, Vol. 8. Authored by Mr. Roy A. Wallace, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Michael J. Colarusso, COL Andrew O. Hall, Colonel David S. Lyle, Major Michael S. Walker.
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Talent-driven officer management demands a compensation system capable of rewarding a diverse range of individual skills, knowledge, and behaviors. This monograph outlines proposed changes to U.S. military officer compensation, providing a set of tools ideally suited to the task of maintaining a competitive edge in defense-specific human capital.
Added February 17, 2015
Type: Monograph
Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession. Authored by Dr. Leonard Wong, Dr. Stephen J. Gerras.
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Untruthfulness is surprisingly common in the U.S. military even though members of the profession are loath to admit it. Further, much of the deception and dishonesty that occurs in the profession of arms is actually encouraged and sanctioned by the military institution.
Added January 13, 2015
Type: Monograph
Getting to the Left of SHARP: Lessons Learned from West Point's Efforts to Combat Sexual Harassment and Assault. Authored by Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen, Jr., Colonel Cindy R. Jebb, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Gade, Cadet Hope C. Landsem.
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On July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, ending the practice of segregating the military services by race. That same year, the Army allowed women to join the services on an equal basis with men. Both of these steps preceded the larger societal changes that allowed fully equal treatment of all types of American citizens in military service. Just over 2 years ago, Congress repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, allowing for gays and lesbians to take their place openly in the military. While we have a long way to go, one of the hallmarks of a profession is its continued efforts to improve. To that end, this monograph shares a few of the lessons West Point has learned on the prevention of sexual harassment and assault.
Added January 02, 2015
Type: Monograph
The Effective Use of Reserve Personnel in the U.S. Military: Lessons from the United Kingdom Reserve Model. Authored by Dr. Shima D. Keene.
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Can the U.S. Army and other services benefit from the United Kingdom's program of reserve reform?
Added November 19, 2014
Type: Monograph
Creating an Effective Regional Alignment Strategy for the U.S. Army. Authored by Major Raven Bukowski, Major John Childress, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Michael J. Colarusso, Colonel David S. Lyle.
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Despite talk about regional alignment, the Army has taken few concrete steps to prepare for this dramatic change. While enormous in its implications, the Army’s current regional alignment plan seems to be little more than directing units to “focus regionally” and aligning them with the appropriate combatant command.
Added September 12, 2014
Type: Book
A History of the U.S. Army Officer Corps, 1900-1990. Authored by Dr. Arthur T. Coumbe.
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The Army’s Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis published a series of monographs during 2009 and 2010 intended to provide a theoretical and conceptual framework for an Army Officer Corps Strategy. The present volume supplements that effort, providing an overview of some key developments and assumptions that have guided and shaped the officer corps and the way it has been managed over the last century.
Added April 30, 2014
Type: Monograph
A Soldier’s Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army’s Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession? Authored by Dr. Don M. Snider, COL (USA Ret) Alexander P. Shine.
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Are the Stewards of the Army Profession developing a culture that fosters the necessary integration of Soldiers' personal moralities with the Profession's Ethic? The authors suggest that they are not.
Added February 14, 2014
Type: Book
Senior Officer Talent Management: Fostering Institutional Adaptability. Authored by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Michael J. Colarusso, Colonel David S. Lyle.
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Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates characterized the "greatest challenges facing the Army" as the "institutional and bureaucratic constipation" of its officer management systems. In this book, Mike Colarusso and Dave Lyle examine the Army's industrial-era personnel practices and prescribe a senior officer talent management approach that they believe is better suited to the demands of tomorrow.
Added October 28, 2013
Type: Monograph
Changing Minds In The Army: Why It Is So Difficult and What To Do About It. Authored by Dr. Stephen J. Gerras, Dr. Leonard Wong.
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In a time of extraordinary fiscal and national security uncertainty, it seems naïve to assume that all, or even most, of a strategic leader’s current assumptions will be just as relevant several years into the future. This monograph highlights the need for Army senior leaders, in the midst of change, to periodically question their deep-seated beliefs on critical issues—and perhaps change their minds—rather than relying solely on what they have long believed to be true.
Added September 19, 2013
Type: Monograph
Closing the Candor Chasm: The Missing Element of Army Professionalism. Authored by Colonel Paul Paolozzi.
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If transparency and forthright communication are valued within the Army, why is candor nearly absent in doctrine and supporting literature? Stewards of the Profession build trust through authentic communication—educated, trained, and modeled in application. Candor cannot be muted, creating a chasm between what is espoused and communicated.
Added September 21, 2012
Type: Student (Carlisle) Papers
Finding "The Right Way": Toward an Army Institutional Ethic. Authored by LTC Clark C. Barrett.
This monograph suggests the U.S. Army profession’s most worrisome cultural shortcoming is the lack of a codified institutional ethic and a means of peer-to-peer self-governance. This paper describes the problem, provides a review of the literature, and supplies and justifies a proposed institutional and individual Army Ethic.
Added February 08, 2012
Type: Monograph
Once Again, the Challenge to the U.S. Army During a Defense Reduction: To Remain a Military Profession. Authored by Dr. Don M. Snider.
The exact shape of the recently initiated Department of Defense reductions and the defense strategy that our down-sized land forces are to execute in the future are only now becoming clear. How can the U.S. Army best meet these challenges?
Added December 16, 2011
Type: Letort Papers
Real Leadership and the U.S. Army: Overcoming a Failure of Imagination to Conduct Adaptive Work. Authored by Colonel John B. Richardson, IV.
This is a case study of a cavalry squadron struggling with operational adaptability. Through this struggle, the study provides a means for analyzing the complexity of organizational leadership in the contemporary security environment. The case study provides an example where hard fought lessons learned resulted in a more holistic approach to leadership, because the leader transcended that of simply being an authority figure, and instead, become a real leader who provided a safe and creative learning environment where the organization was able to tackle and solve complex problems.
Added July 08, 2011
Type: Monograph
The New Aztecs: Ritual and Restraint in Contemporary Western Military Operations. Authored by Dr. Zhivan Alach.
The Western way of war has come full circle. After centuries, indeed millennia, of evolution toward increased totality and brutality, it has turned back once again to the ritualistic and restrained methods of primitive warfare.
Added March 29, 2011
Type: Monograph
Resolving Ethical Challenges in an Era of Persistent Conflict. Authored by Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff.
In this provocative monograph, COL Tony Pfaff argues that the challenges of combating irregular threats have fundamentally challenged the traditional “ethics of war,” and he offers a number of measures and policies that the Army must adopt if it is to not only successfully, but ethically, respond to these challenges.
Added March 28, 2011
Type: Op-Ed
Junior Leader Professional Development — Who Has the Time? Authored by Dr. Steven Metz.
Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the April 2011 newsletter.
Added March 10, 2011
Type: "Of Interest"
Profession of Arms Study Trust Review. Authored by COL (R) Charles D. Allen.
Since trust is the coin of the realm for an Army in a democratic society, it is important that as the Profession of Arms study proceeds that it includes a broad exploration of just what exactly the Army as profession means by the concept of trust.
Added September 10, 2010
Type: Letort Papers
An Army Transformed: The U.S. Army's Post-Vietnam Recovery and the Dynamics of Change in Military Organizations. Authored by Lieutenant Colonel Suzanne C. Nielsen.
Drawing on the literature on military innovation and reform, the author examines an important case of military change: the transformation of the U.S. Army in the 2 decades preceding the Persian Gulf War of 1991. The findings of this study have significant implications for how the U.S. Army should think about implementing changes needed today to meet new strategic, economic, and technological challenges.
Added September 02, 2010
Type: Letort Papers
Is the Organizational Culture of the U.S. Army Congruent with the Professional Development of Its Senior Level Officer Corps? Authored by Dr. James G. Pierce.
In this study of the organizational culture of the U.S. Army, Dr. Pierce has reviewed a previously assumed but unverified connection between organizational culture and professional development. The study has uncovered a lack of congruence between the dominant type of organizational culture of the U.S. Army and the professional managerial/leadership skills of its senior level leaders. This observed lack of congruence may be inhibiting performance and unconsciously perpetuating a cycle of caution and an overreliance on stability and control. The data indicate that the U.S. Army is illustrative of an organization that emphasizes stability and control, and one that attempts to comprehend the ambiguity of the future through an unconscious reliance upon the successful solutions employed in the past.
Added July 20, 2010
Type: Monograph
Got Vision? Unity of Vision in Policy and Strategy: What It Is and Why We Need It. Authored by Dr. Anna Simons.
Having the right "who" to devise strategy is critical to success in counterinsurgency or any asymmetric, cross-cultural encounter. This monograph contends that if we do not get the "who" right, none of the "whats," in terms of what we do, matters.
Added May 05, 2010
Type: Monograph
Towards a U.S. Army Officer Corps Strategy for Success: Employing Talent. Authored by Colonel Casey Wardynski, Colonel David S. Lyle, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Michael J. Colarusso.
Historically, the U.S. Army has employed its officers to good effect, but is there need for improvement? Does its current assignments paradigm lead to optimal career satisfaction and productivity? Does it allow officers to develop the depth and breadth of talent the Army needs? Perhaps most importantly, does the Army really know enough about the officer talent it possesses, as well as the requirements for that talent?
Added March 29, 2010
Type: Monograph
Towards a U.S. Army Officer Corps Strategy for Success: Developing Talent. Authored by Colonel Casey Wardynski, Colonel David S. Lyle, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Michael J. Colarusso.
The U.S. Army is almost universally acknowledged as an organization that powerfully develops talent in areas such as leadership, teamwork behavior, work ethics, adaptability, fitness, and many others. Employers know that the Army invests substantially in its people, and that this investment translates directly into enhanced productivity. Despite this well-earned reputation, however, are the Army’s current officer development programs equal to tomorrow’s challenges? Does it suffer from a growing imbalance in talent supply versus demand? Perhaps most importantly, is there an effective relationship between its developmental and employment strategies?
Added February 19, 2010
Type: Monograph
Accessing Talent: The Foundation of a U.S. Army Officer Corps Strategy. Authored by Colonel Casey Wardynski, Colonel David S. Lyle, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Michael J. Colarusso.
Organizations often focus their recruiting efforts on high-payoff markets--how does the Army identify the right market in which to focus its officer accessions efforts? What role does education play in officer accessions? How does the Army identify and go about meeting its officer diversity requirements? Why is establishing the proper ratio between commissioning sources so important?
Added February 01, 2010
Type: Monograph
The Army Officers' Professional Ethic--Past, Present, and Future. Authored by Colonel Matthew Moten.
Do you think the Army officer corps needs a clear statement of its professional ethic? Colonel Matthew Moten does, and he has written it in one page. Join the debate.

In the Fall of 2013, the author of this monograph, Army Colonel Matthew Moten, chose to retire amid reports of his reprimand for misconduct and removal as head of the U.S. Military Academy's History Department, following an investigation of allegations made against him. Published in 2010, this monograph presents the results of Colonel Moten's critical analysis of an issue important to the Army: deepening our understanding of what the Professional Military Ethic means to the profession today. The monograph remains a solid contribution to the dialogue among professionals the Army leadership sought to ignite. In particular, readers should note well Moten's closing paragraphs:

"Before the Army accepts such a statement of its professional ethic, much debate is in order. Should we use hard phrases such as "total accountability" and "unlimited liability?" What are officers' core responsibilities as leaders and how far do they extend?

How concisely should we explicate our adherence to the principle of civilian control? Should we espouse nonpartisanship as part of our ethic? The debate required to answer such questions will provide impetus for an Army-wide discussion about the profession, its ethical values, and the role that it should play as a servant of American society in the future. Let it begin."

We, at the U.S. Army War College believe the conversation on the Army's professional ethic must continue, and still find value in Moten's 2010 work, notwithstanding the situation that led to his relief.

Added January 15, 2010
Type: Monograph
Towards a U.S. Army Officer Corps Strategy for Success: Retaining Talent. Authored by Colonel Casey Wardynski, Colonel David S. Lyle, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Michael J. Colarusso.
Why have Army junior officer retention rates plummeted since 1983? Are the root causes truly understood? What are the long term consequences of failing to retain talented young officers? What steps has the Army taken to meet this challenge, and how effective have they been? What must the Army do to restore junior officer retention rates to previously healthy levels?
Added October 28, 2009
Type: Monograph
Schools for Strategy: Teaching Strategy for 21st Century Conflict. Authored by Dr. Colin S. Gray.
Education in strategy is feasible and important. Few would-be strategists are beyond improvement by some formal education. However, for such education to be well-directed, it needs to rest upon sound assumptions concerning the eternal nature yet ever shifting character, meaning, and function of strategy, and the range of behaviors required for effective strategic performance.
Added October 28, 2009
Type: Monograph
Talent: Implications for a U.S. Army Officer Corps Strategy. Authored by Colonel Casey Wardynski, Colonel David S. Lyle, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Michael J. Colarusso.
What is the difference between competent and talented? What is talent, and which people have it? What talents should the United States Army seek in its officers? Most importantly, what are the consequences of failing to create an officer talent management system?
Added October 06, 2009
Type: Monograph
The Army's Professional Military Ethic in an Era of Persistent Conflict. Authored by Dr. Don M. Snider, Major Paul Oh, Major Kevin Toner.
As the character of conflict in the 21st century evolves, the Army’s strength will continue to rest on our values, our ethos, and our people. Our Soldiers and leaders must remain true to these values as they operate in increasingly complex environments where moral-ethical failures can have strategic implications.
Added September 16, 2009
Type: Student (Carlisle) Papers
Baghdad ER--Revisited. Authored by Colonel Erin P Edgar.
The China Dragons of the 28th Combat Support Hospital deployed in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from September 2006 until November 2007. Their service epitomizes the strides that have been made in military combat medicine.
Added January 13, 2009
Type: Op-Ed
The Army's Ethic Suffers under its Retired Generals. Authored by Dr. Don M. Snider.
Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the January 2009 newsletter.
Added August 08, 2008
Type: Monograph
The American Military Advisor: Dealing with Senior Foreign Officials in the Islamic World. Authored by Mr. Michael J. Metrinko.
Using different weapons and different skill sets, the military officer serving as an advisor can win--or lose--important battles. His relationship with foreign officials affects overall American strategy, and can translate into long-term victory for the United States.
Added July 15, 2008
Type: Colloquium Brief
Civil-Military Relations in a Post-9/11 World. Authored by Dr. Leonard Wong.
The participants in this colloquium sought to examine three general areas: the roles and responsibilities of military leaders and changes in the relationship between civilian and military leaders. Experts from the military, government, and academia presented their not-for-attribution assessments and recommendations for further increasing U.S. effectiveness in civil-military relations.
Added February 19, 2008
Type: Monograph
Dissent and Strategic Leadership of the Military Professions. Authored by Dr. Don M. Snider.
Were the actions in 2006 by the senior military leaders who participated in the “Revolt of the Generals” justified? Or were there real costs incurred by the military professions they represented, costs that can only be seen when examined in terms of the critical trust relationship that empower such professions?
Added January 04, 2008
Type: Op-Ed
Intrepidity . . . And Character Development within the Army Profession. Authored by Dr. Don M. Snider.
Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the January 2008 newsletter.
Added October 04, 2006
Type: Op-Ed
Fashion Tips for the Field Grade. Authored by Dr. Leonard Wong.
Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the October 2006 newsletter.
Added May 23, 2006
Type: Letort Papers
Strategic Planning by the Chairmen, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1990 TO 2005. Authored by Dr. Richard M. Meinhart.
This Letort Paper addresses how the Chairmen, Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1990 to 2005 used a strategic planning system to respond to their global challenges.
Added October 01, 2003
Type: Monograph
Army Professional Expertise and Jurisdictions. Authored by Colonel Richard A. Lacquement, Jr..
The most important purpose of this framework is to provide a mechanism for HOW TO THINK about Army expert knowledge and jurisdictions.
Added July 01, 2003
Type: Monograph
Why They Fight: Combat Motivation in the Iraq War. Authored by Dr. Leonard Wong, COL Thomas A. Kolditz, LTC Raymond A. Millen, COL Terrence M. Potter.
Today's U.S. soldiers, much like soldiers of the past, fight for each other. Researchers also found that soldiers cited ideological reasons such as liberation, freedom, and democracy as important factors in combat motivation.
Added April 01, 2002
Type: Monograph
Stifled Innovation? Developing Tomorrow's Leaders Today. Authored by Dr. Leonard Wong.
The author examines the current company commander experience and concludes that the Army values innovation in its rhetoric, but the reality is that junior officers are seldom given opportunities to be innovative in planning training; to make decisions; or to fail, learn, and try again.
Added April 01, 2001
Type: Book
Political Control over the Use of Force: A Clausewitzian Perspective. Authored by Lieutenant Colonel Suzanne C. Nielsen.
The author addresses the issues regarding the ideal relationship between the commander and the statesman in time of war and the balance between political control and military operational expertise by examining what Carl von Clausewitz has to say about civil- military relations and the use of force. She looks in depth at Clausewitz s arguments, reviews his theoretical approach, and discusses four key implications of the basic idea that political purposes govern war.
Added October 01, 2000
Type: Monograph
Generations Apart: Xers and Boomers in the Officer Corps. Authored by Dr. Leonard Wong.
The author points out that Generation X officers are more confident in their abilities, perceive loyalty differently, want more balance between work and family, and are not intimidated by rank.
Added December 01, 1999
Type: Book
Army Professionalism, the Military Ethic, and Officership in the 21st Century. Authored by Major John A. Nagl, Dr. C. Anthony Pfaff, Dr. Don M. Snider.
The authors first describe the ethical, technical, and political components of military professionalism and then address the causes for the decline. They conclude by proposing a set of principles which, if adhered to, will reinvigorate the vision of the officer corps and motivate the corps to selfless service.