Engaged leaders essential for success
June 18, 2013
By Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza
7th Infantry Division commanding general
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - In his Marching Orders, the Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Ray Odierno, communicated his intent and priorities to the Army. His intent is to sustain a high-quality, all-volunteer Army that remains the most decisive land force in the world; provide depth and versatility to the Joint Force; remain agile, responsive and effective for Combatant Commanders; and ensure flexibility for national security decision makers in defense of the nation at home and abroad. He also placed special emphasis on adapting leader development to meet future security challenges in an uncertain and complex environment and foster commitment to the Army.
We are lucky to serve under a chief of staff who emphasizes leader development. I believe training and developing leaders is our single biggest investment in achieving and sustaining the Army's readiness to successfully confront future security challenges. It is so important that I am charging all commanders to own their leader development programs.
By developing engaged leaders, we virtually assure success in our next mission or fight. Competent and compassionate leaders can fix any problem and will almost always develop and build superb teams.
In the 7th Infantry Division we are initiating a two-year leader development program that will teach and develop competency, commitment, character and professionalism in all soldiers to provide the Army agile, adaptive and engaged leaders capable of meeting our future security challenges. Building on a cohort of superb combat leaders, we must focus our resources on developing the next generation of leaders who can effectively deal with complexity to accomplish the mission, regardless of the conditions.
In addition to prescribing short-term objectives focused on building leader competency, we must also identify long-term outcomes that also build leader character and commitment to our profession, while developing the attributes leaders need to operate effectively in a complex environment as part of the Army of 2020. We can build upon the skills and attributes our leaders have developed during a decade of persistent conflict to preserve our ability to think critically and quickly to adapt to the operational environment as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Leader development - like most training - is a deliberate, continuous, sequential and progressive process centered on the operational, institutional and self-development domains. The 7th ID leader development program supports this process by being tailorable and flexible. It also builds upon existing leader knowledge, skills and abilities.
The 7th ID leader will include four components. The first component is routine assessments during cycle training briefs and other periodic meetings. The second component focuses on developing long-term cohort outcomes for each grade of Officers, Warrant Officers and Non-commissioned Officers. A third component will integrate leader focused training into unit training and will adjust conditions to simulate a complex operational environment. The final component will be the division-level programs and initiatives that support the development of desired attributes and competencies.
We aim to produce competent, committed leaders of character - the prototype for professional leaders. Leaders must be competent in their basic branch or military occupational specialty and can creatively apply doctrine to solve problems. We need leaders of character who embody the Warrior Ethos, live the Army values and foster a culture of trust. The leaders we want are those that are committed to the unit, the mission and the lifelong of development of themselves and their fellow soldiers.
We are excited about the opportunity to further develop leaders in the 7th ID in support of the I Corps and Pacific Command missions. As we drawdown forces in Afghanistan, we have a tremendous opportunity to leverage our experiences during the last decade to further improve our Army. We have the opportunity to ensure leaders at each level are prepared to serve successfully at the next level of responsibility through training, education and experience and depart the 7th ID with the skills necessary to serve effectively in the Army of 2020.