For the past several decades the Army has promoted agile and adaptive leadership. This type of leadership is good when you are the strongest Army in the world and you’re focused on rapidly adapting to dynamic situations during operations. However, an entirely different type of leadership is necessary if you intend to transform the organization from the way it is today to the way you want it to be in the future. In the years ahead our Army needs transformational leaders who will shape our culture to one that demonstrates cunning, embraces asymmetry, generates unforeseen problems, and takes risks in order to win decisively.
For 70 years now the United States has fielded the most powerful military forces in the world. This has led to the US military staying physically, mentally, and culturally in their comfort zone, unwilling and largely unable to think the unthinkable; in a few decades the US Army may be in the position of those armies and non-state enemies we have fought since World War II, struggling to cope with deficits in forces, materiel, technologies, and personnel. In DOD terms we may very well be the “near-peer competitor;” smaller, technologically weaker, with older and less capable systems than those against whom we are called to go to war. In strategic terms, such a future scenario is plausible, possible, and, increasingly probable.