The Army of 2020
The Army is an organization that has been around for over two centuries, and over the course of the last two plus centuries it has become an organization that is nothing like its inception. The United States Army was established in June of 1775. This organization is full of diversity and is willing to adapt to whatever the future may hold. It has made changes, solved problems and has thoroughly adapted with the changes in society. The Army is built up of roughly 490,000 Active Duty Soldiers, 354,200 to 350,200 National Guard Soldiers, and 205,000 to 202,000 Army Reserve Soldiers (Vergun, 2014). According to the United States Census Bureau, there are 321,368,864 (U.S. and World Population Clock, 2015) American citizens in the U.S.A, ergo less than 1 percent of American citizens are in the United States Army. The purpose of this paper is to conduct a holistic assessment of the United States Army and the opportunities and challenges is possesses. I have to give a basic description of the Army. I must explain the future trends it faces. Make recommendations on avenues that it can use to fix the organization. Lastly investigate how items like leadership ethics, problem solving, diversity management, and conflict management play into the company or organization.
According to Army.mil (2015), the United States Army is one of three military Department of Defense (DOD) departments (Army, Navy and Air Force), is composed of two distinct components: the active duty component and the Army reserve components. The Army reserve components are the United States Army Reserve and the Army National Guard (Army.mil, 2015). The Army Reserve is ruled by the Government and the Army National Guard is governed by the state. The difference in the two components is that active component defends the United States of America on a constant basis and the Army Reserves, National Guard are “considered weekend warriors” only on active status one weekend a month and two weeks for annual training a year. The great thing about the Army is that both components receive the same type training and prepare to deploy and defend the country at a moment’s notice. All members of the United States Army are professionals at all times on and off duty. The army is a powerful organization built up of much of history and tradition and lives by a code of conduct that American citizens love and respect. Listed below you will find a basic diagram of what the United States Army’s organizational structure currently looks like.
The standard definition of workforce diversity given by businessdictionary.com (2015), is the differences and similarities among employees in relation to physical abilities and disabilities, religion, age, sex, cultural background, and sexual orientation (Workforce diversity, 2015). The army feels workforce diversity refers to the many differences in the Army’s employees, Civilians and Soldiers, which enhance the organizational workplace and provide to the complete mission effectiveness of the Army (Army.mil, 2015). Leaders must emphasize that the Army’s diversity is a natural element of their culture, and when acknowledged and respected, forms the underpinnings of an inclusive environment unique to the United States Army (Workforce diversity, 2015). The Army is thoroughly concerned of the workforce interactions that happen amongst its diverse family. Within the last two years the United States Army has become extremely diverse.
The Army used to be an organization that shunned the thought of homosexuality, transgender, and women in combat arms jobs. For 17 years, the law prohibited qualified gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the armed forces (Repeal of “Don ‘t Ask, Don ‘t Tell”, 2015), and since the repeal you cannot even tell who is gay and who is not. In the military we are all Soldiers doing a job to protect our country regardless of what a person’s sexual orientation is. Another example of workforce diversity in the Army is the exploration of transgender rules for individuals in the military. Even top Officers are eager to receive a clear policy on transgender troops (Brook, 2015). In January 2016 the Army is making all Military Occupational Specialities (MOS) available to all women.
The Army believes that we have been fighting along side women on the battlefield in Iraq, Afghanistan, and anywhere else that requires a Soldiers presense they have been there, why can they be eligible to fill any job available. These are just three of many examples of how diverse the United States Army is. One last example of workforce diversity that is important to mention is how far the military has advanced towards race and equality. Back in the time of the continental army African Americans were not allowed to be in leadership positions higher than a Sergeant Major (SGM). Now all races are in top leadership positions. The current commander of United States Army Cental is an African American by the name of Leutenant General Austin, who has commanded troops in and out of combat. He is currently the commander of one of the seven United States Combatant Commands. Not just African Americans, but members from all ethnicities are in top leadership positions. This says that the United States Army is taking the step forward to even the playing field and better it’s current and future Workforce Diversity.
Progression in communications technology will carry on quite largely now and through to 2020. Nanotechnology Developments will possibly deliver the push for most key developed military technological advancements. These advancements can happen in the areas of communications and information technology, network or sensor technology, energy transfer and storage, and biotechnology. During this process the United States of America will pursue to force the listed technologies to obtain a step up on the rest of the market, actors that have the financial resources will also search for these technologies as they come to be freely available on a global market (Army 2020 and Beyond Sustainment White Paper, 2015).
As 2010, 2020, and 2030 collide, the Army’s current and future workforce turns into a more diverse and open organization. Workforce trends and industry trends go hand-in-hand. The one major trend that has a drastic impact, the Army is the immensely colossal reduction in force of the active component Army. Over the course of years the United States Army has reduced in size scarcely every year, but in recent years the Department of Defense has made the most drastic cuts it has ever made and it is going to get worse. In the next couple of years the active component Army is going to reduce by another 70,000 soldiers. This not only affects the combat power of the Army, it also has an effect on the level of protection that the United States Army can provide for the American people. The other military branches can be used and benchmarks because they are going through similar situations.
One trend that is going to have a significant impact on the United States Army is the advancement in cyber technology. Every year there is an advancement in the cyber realm. The biggest advancement in the cyber realm is the creation of social networking and social media. At least 10 year ago Army recruiters had to spend large amounts of time in high schools, in malls, and in large areas with a lot of people in order to do recruiting. Since the release of social media recruiting for the United States Army and every other branch has gotten easier. Recruiters just need to post advertisements on websites like Facebook and Linkin and kids and grown adults will see. The creator of Facebook definitely knew what he was doing when he created that company. Another trend that is impacting the organization is the rise of women in leadership positions.
Over the course of the last 50 years women have definitely made leaps and bounds towards equality and being treated the same. There are still places in the world that still see women as inferior, but not in the United States of America and not definitely not in the Army. Women have risen up to the rank of General Officers. That is an amazing feat compared to the day where they were only allowed to tend to the wounds of wounded Soldiers. Another trend that is happening as we speak is the reduction in not just the United States Army but all American military forces. The government is trying to cut an additional 40,000 Soldiers from the Active component because of the current financial deficit that the United States is in. The more we reduce our forces, the more we are making ourselves vulnerable to terrorism.
Changes for the Future
One major workforce trend that has established in the United States Army within the last 10 to 15 years are toxic leaders. According to this report the definition of toxic leaders is
“Leaders who engage in numerous destructive behaviors and who exhibit certain dysfunctional personal characteristics. To count as toxic, these behaviors and qualities of character must inflict some reasonably serious and enduring harm on their followers and their organizations. The intent to harm others or to enhance the self at the expense of others distinguishes seriously toxic leaders from the careless or unintentional toxic leaders, who also cause negative effects” (COL Elle, 2012).
Associated characteristics of toxic leadership are: an apparent lack of concern for the well-being of others, as perceived by those they supervise; and, an interpersonal style that negatively impacts organizational climate (Vergun, 2015). Toxic leadership was not a term that was recognized 10 to 15 years ago. I guess you can say that it was a different Army, an Army that was more concerned of standards and the way people presented themselves rather than how well they can fight. Before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the Army was about discipline, training, and setting a good image for the American people.
Once the war started so did the lack in standards and thus opened the door for toxic leadership. There are many negative things that can happen with toxic leadership. Some of the items that toxic leadership can cause include but are not limited to: Soldiers retention and well-being, it lessens trust in the organization, and reduces the effectiveness of the organization as a whole. Toxic leadership had gotten so bad in the Army that at least 80 percent of noncommissioned officers, Army Officers, and civilians illustrated that they have been with some sort of toxic leader. This trend got so bad that it caught the eye of top leadership in the United States Army. Prime example of toxic leadership is David H. Petraeus, the retired general and former CIA director who quit in a scandal three years ago (Whitlock & Goldman, 2015), achieved the highest rank in the United States Army and still leaked information to the press as well as allegedly committed other acts of dishonor to the government. A Soldier in the United States Army is supposed to live by a certain standard. That standard is the Army Values, which include Loyalty, Duty, Respect Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. Now if a Soldier was truly living by these values then there would never be a problem with leadership, but that is not the case. In recent years the United States Army has been on a campaign to battle and kill any sign of toxic leadership. The Army in its entirety feels that some of the ways to battle toxic leadership is by professional development programs, mentorship program, and mentorship programs.
Challenges and Opportunities to Addressing Trends and recommendations
The United States Army has constructed a DOD directive to address diversity management. The Army directive defines diversity management as the plans made and programs undertaken to identify in the aggregate the diversity within the Department of Defense, enhance DOD capabilities, and achieve mission readiness (Defense, 2009). The DOD calls this the Diversity Management Program. It is a leaders job to utilize this established program to enusre that Soldiers, Civilians, and all members of the Department of the Army (DA) understand that they are a valuable member of the team. I recommend that leaders also utilize this program to establish tools that involve creating different methods that makes sure that all members of the Army possess the fortitude to achieve maximum ability at the same time ensuring that the mission is completed.
The Leader Development Model is a great tool as baseline to develop leaders and managers proplerly. The Leader Development Model has three essential pillars that include: institutional training, assignments, and self-development. The institutional pillar gives the proper training and education to leaders that will help prepare them to lead Soldiers. The Assignments pillar allows leaders to build on the learned skills in the institutional pillar the assignment needed to fill an actual leader job. The Self-Development pillar make a leader cogniscent of the self fortitude needed to expand what they have learned through education and actual assignments to better themselves. It is my recommendation that leaders utilize this model to the fullest. An example of the actual leader development model is illustrated below:
The Army is built up of roughly 490,000 Active Duty Soldiers, 354,200 to 350,200 National Guard Soldiers, and 205,000 to 202,000 Army Reserve Soldiers. According to Army.mil, the United States Army is one of three military Department of Defense departments, is composed of two distinct components: the active duty component and the Army reserve components. The Army reserve components are the United States Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. The army feels workforce diversity refers to the many differences in the Army’s employees, Civilians and Soldiers, which enhance the organizational workplace and provide to the complete mission effectiveness of the Army. Leaders must emphasize that the Army’s diversity is a natural element of their culture, and when acknowledged and respected, forms the underpinnings of an inclusive environment unique to the United States Army.