Army leaders discuss challenges, solutions with War College students
October 18, 2011
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CARLISLE BARRACKS, Pa., Oct. 18, 2011 -- Senior members of the Army staff joined Army War College students in seminar to address the complex, strategic issues and challenges that will face the 368 students when they complete studies in June 2012.
The Army leaders participated in Anton Myrer Army Leader Day, the capstone event for the college's strategic leadership course.
"This is an incredibly important day for our students," said Maj. Gen. Gregg Martin, Army War College commandant, welcoming the general officers and senior civilians. "You will enrich their knowledge and experience while here, which will in turn serve them well in the future. Encourage them to ask the tough questions to help us solve the challenges we face as an Army."
Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army, led the "all-star" Army staff who held discussions in each of the 23 seminars about the lessons of leadership after a formal address in Bliss Hall to the full student body.
Chiarelli focused his remarks on the health and welfare of the force, the budget, modernization, and challenges facing the Army.
"We are different from the other services. We are people-centric," he said. "As we go into an era of decreased budgets, we need to remember that. For us, the money is in the people."
"We are going to have to make sure we get maximum value out of every dollar spent," he explained. "As we draw down, balance is essential. The force has to be well-equipped and well-trained. This has to be our priority."
Chiarelli challenged the students to help with the signature wounds of the current wars.
"When you leave here, I need you to help lead us to erase the stigma of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury," he said. "When you have PTSD, you are six times more likely to commit suicide. We have got to change. We have to encourage people to get the help they need and to be leaders in this area."
"The real problem with post traumatic stress is that people usually wait 12 years before they seek help. There are issues that arise before they receive help -- anger management, spousal abuse, and alcohol and drug abuse. We have got to change this. We have got to be leaders in this area."
Chiarelli discussed the Army's efforts to help Soldiers through better education, research studies and addressing gaps in the detection and response systems.
After Chiarelli finished his remarks, the 23 Amy leaders joined U.S. Army War College, or USAWC, students in seminar discussions keyed on the role of strategic leaders.
"This was a great opportunity to find out about what issues and challenges our senior leaders are facing and have an open dialogue about them," said Army student Lt. Col. Eric Flowers.
"Despite their hectic schedules, it is good to hear that senior leaders find time to focus on people and professional and leader development," said Army student Col. David Fleckenstein.
"It is important for people outside the Army to hear best practices so civilian counterparts [in DOD] can tailor programs to support warfighters," said DOD civilian student Mitchell Cook, in the Defense Senior Leader Development Program. "It brings us closer to the men and women in uniform and ties us closer to the organization."
Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, a USAWC Class of 1997 graduate and deputy chief of staff, Manpower and Personnel, G-1, touched on topics ranging from manning the Army, to the repeal of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, and civilian employee development.
"I learn something new every day," he said. "That is key to continuing your development as a strategic leader. Don't' stop learning. Don't stop becoming an independent thinker. Your personal level of expertise is vital to our Army."
Bostick also shared a piece of advice for the students about building relationships with the international students in the class.
"Every nation brings a unique capability to the fight and we all need to work together to be successful," he said. "Build those relationships here."
Maj. Gen. Peter C. Bayer Jr., USAWC Class of 2004, director of Strategy, Plans, and Policy in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G3/5/7, spoke to students about the importance of positive leadership, being able to think critically to reach solutions to challenges and the importance of communication skills.
"The Army War College focuses students back to the basics," he said. "Here [students] have an opportunity to study theoretical concepts. But now we can talk about fundamental skills they've known their entire careers -- leadership, thinking, communication. This is an affirmation to them from members of a team who are out there about the importance of skills like positive leadership."
Bayer also spoke of the importance of maintaining a "strategic perspective" -- awareness of issues faced by senior leaders and by the institution; and understanding of the myriad issues all competing for the same limited resources.
Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, USAWC Class of 1998 and director of Force Development, G8, shared insights about the G8 mission -- where the Army sorts out what it requires and what it can afford -- noting the challenge of setting strategic choices to guide budget choices.
He shared experiences in recommending an azimuth for senior leaders working within parameters set by ethics and international law. At senior levels, he noted, leaders increasingly confront ambiguity; it's a senior leader's job to make decisions in that environment and to ensure that guidance passed to subordinates is clear and unambiguous.
Cucolo, who served as chief of Army Public Affairs before commanding the 3rd Infantry Division, urged students to become succinct, candid communicators, willing to engage with positive energy.
ABOUT THE U.S. ARMY WAR COLLEGE
The U.S. Army War College develops, inspires and serves strategic leaders for the wise and effective application of national power, in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational environment. The College helps develop senior leader competencies necessary for success in the contemporary operation environment.
• The only Senior Leader College that addresses the development and employment of landpower
• Emphasis on strategic leadership
• The only Senior Leader College Distance Education Program that is certified for Joint Professional Military Education I, or JPME-I
• Resident Education Program is accredited for Joint Professional Military Education II
• Graduates more than 300 SLC JPME Phase I-certified, and 340 JPME II-certified annually
For more information visit www.carlisle.army.mil or follow us on Twitter @armywarcollege.