Posted on Aug 2, 2016
CPT Company Commander
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Neither. You need both for a successful operation.

First, before I get a comment referencing my lack of experience due to my rank I would like to add that I have over 14 years of service in the Army with 10 of those years as enlisted. So I have seen this from both sides.

Too often we lose the sight of the big picture. So recently I have discussed the role of the Officer in the Army only to find pretty much distaste of the junior officer and of the Officers in general. I understand that many think NCOs run the Army. Which is really half of the truth. Officers lead the Army also. If you put it together Officers lead the Army while NCOs run the Army. Trust me, if the Army was only left in the hands of the Officer Corps you would have an Army that would function much like a Middle Eastern Army. We all know how that is working out in Iraq. Thank God for the NCOs that strive for excellence and make the Army successful. I have seen what a group of officers alone can do, OCS was a great eye opener. But when it comes to it we all have our roles. The Officers are more strategic while the NCOs are more tactical. To say that they Army solely depends on Officers would be foolish at best but in all reality it really is downright idiotic. But to say the Army solely depends on NCOs would not be accurate either. We have commanders that deliver their intent at Company, Battalion, Brigade, and on up. But so often it just seems we really only focus on the Tactical Leadership in our ranks and ignore our Strategic Leadership. Why is that? Am I wrong? Am I still going to get a one liner about being a cherry LT? I guess will see if anyone is still reading or if they stopped at the first line and felt like they know it all.
Posted in these groups: General of the army rank insignia OfficerImages 20 NCOsPlanning logo PlanningLeadership abstract 007 Leadership
Edited >1 y ago
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LTJG Student Naval Aviator (Sna)
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Between the question itself and the responses this post has already been one of the most educational experiences I've had since joining RP. Which is more of a credit to this post and those contributing than a knock on prior posts
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1SG Patrick Burke
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I would agree to a certain extent. There is a balance between the two starting at the lowest level with a larger tint of tactical than strategic and as you move up the balance shifts in the other direction. I have mentored my fair share of Section and platoon leadership on some of the tenets of the chart you posted. Most leaders are only concerned about their piece of the pie and fail to recognize that their operation impacts others as well as others affect theirs. As a leader plans their operation and it is in execution mode, the planning continues to set the unit for future success. What enables a leader to do that is an understanding above the tactical level and to see how their limited objectives tie into the campaign plan.
Let's take Iraq as an example - what pained me the most is the loss of life because of failed leadership. Take Company A. They are tasked with a Cordon and Search. Platoon 1 (Outer Cordon) SPs for their blocking positions. While enroute they see a guy or two with AK-47s down a lateral route and react. Low and behold, a baited ambush and now the Platoon is non-effective because they are securing a catastrophic hit on a vehicle. The leadership was focused on the tactical and failed to see that taking their orientation off the objective failed the strategic vision of the Cordon and Search. So not only did they lose Soldiers, they also failed to capture/kill an IED maker..
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CPT Company Commander
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Great response. Thanks for you insight.
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SPC Unscheduled Services Team Leader
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There has to be a balance of both, from NCOs and Officers. From a Soldiers standpoint (lower enlisted), speaking for myself I have no problem with tactical leadership, short term goals, FTX, SHARP training, Gunnery, Layouts etc. I keeps me going knowing that ok, this 1 task is almost over. But I enjoy knowing the strategic side, and knowing that my NCO or Officer KNOW what that strategic side is, instead of saying well the Commander wants it this way. No. I like knowing ok, this month is FTX, next month Gunnery, the following month layouts for NTC/JRTC, and the big picture is because we're deploying in a year.
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CPT Company Commander
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Striving to balance both will make you a better leader in the long run.
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