Return to Joint Leadership Competencies.
JFCOM banner

action photos Concept developers bringing human factor to transformation process

USJFCOM has assembled a group of scientists, educators and service members to help develop the human factors impacting the transformation of the U.S. military.

By Army Spec. Shanita Simmons
USJFCOM Public Affairs

(Suffolk, VA – Sept. 12, 2003) – Military leaders often say the Department of Defense’s most important resource is people and Joint Forces Command has sought out top experts in their fields to help support its mission of developing the concepts that make up the ongoing transformation of the U.S. military.

To increase the validity of future concepts, the command’s Joint Experimentation Directorate (J9) has brought together a group of behavioral scientists, educators and service members to form a human element in transformation working group. This group’s goal is ensure that the transformational concepts the defense department has been working on are truly executable by our future military leaders.

“We need to understand the future environment and how the joint force will fight in it. We need to key in on organization, leadership, training, education and personnel areas to ensure we address the human element in transformation,” said Bill Newlon, concept developer for the human element effort.

“There are new competencies required of our future leaders. We need to look at the impact on leadership development and the model we use to educate and train leaders, including commanders and those in key staff positions,” said Newlon. “Future leaders will be expected to look at the nature of future operations, how to plan, prepare, form and employ diverse, high-performance joint capabilities packages (teams), and then reform them on the move to accomplish the next step in the mission.”

Within the next decade, Newlon mentioned that commanders and their staff will need to be well educated, trained and possess key leadership skills required in the future environment. This will ensure that they have the competency to be critical thinkers, and the ability to make timely, high-quality decisions so that the joint force can operate within the decision making loop of their adversaries.

Newlon added that this human element working group has been researching the implications for the leadership development model, as well as evaluating various facets of the learning continuum to include education, training, experience and self study. During a series of workshops, these experts have come together to collaborate and compare their findings with other professionals, and to develop change recommendations.

The workshops have addressed various areas including Joint military decision-making, organizational coherence, human systems integration, and the competencies leaders need for decision-making in the future operational environment.

For example, there are three key areas that will be critical for future operations, and impact leadership development in this joint military decision making process according to Newlon.

First, is the need for a more coherent organizational design where the joint capabilities are more modular and tailorable. Leaders must have the ability to be more dynamic in terms of how they utilize a set of joint capabilities to conduct a mission. Second, leaders must be provided and be familiar with the new process of making decisions as individuals and commanders based on the complexity and adaptive nature of the adversary in the future environment.

Finally, Newlon mentioned that military leaders would be required to operate more globally, across time, geographic and regional boundaries, where they will be required to make high-quality decisions more rapidly.

“Future leaders will have a more complex problem, situation and solution space. They will need to use a more dynamic, collaborative decision making process to accomplish the mission and reach the desired end state,” said Newlon.

“These workshops allow us to periodically bring people together face to face who are working as virtual teams to assess changes to the joint decision making process and competencies for future leaders. The virtual teams are helping us to move forward to develop change recommendations,” said Newlon.

The group will present their initial observations on competencies for future leaders at a joint educators and service two-star conference being hosted by USJFCOM on Sept. 18.

According to organizers, the effort will explicitly examine the human element in transformation insights gained during recent experiments Pinnacle Impact 2003 (PI03) and Unified Quest 2003 (UQ03), the first USJFCOM/U.S. Army co-sponsored wargame held in April 2003.