How Good Is The Army At Training Strategic Leaders? Not Very, Apparently

The Long March
U.S. Army Army Command & General Staff College

Remember how we graded the Army’s Command and General Staff College some weeks ago? Well, along now comes the Army War College’s “War Room” to grade the Army on the question of “How good is the U.S. Army at developing strategic leaders?


C- responded Col. Edward Ballanco: “the Army has produced a generation of specialized officers who are experts in their career fields but not broadened.”

C+ said Col. Brian Rauen. “the Army accepts the mediocre development of strategic leaders because it is unwilling to address structural problems: yesterday’s answers are still used to address today’s problems.”

C said a War College faculty member.

But the scariest comment was from another faculty member who said there could be no grade because, “We need something to grade, and as of now no one has any real idea what a strategic leader is.” Really, “no one”? Funny thing is, I know several people with a very solid idea. He must be running with the wrong crowd. 

In other words, not terrible. Just kind of mediocre. And certainly not someone you’d want to hire to plan your next war.

No one asked me, but based on my experiences in the field, in classrooms, and in reading over the last 25 years, I’d give the Army a C-. But I would add that it still does better than the Air Force, where there is so little familiarity with strategic thinking that someone who does come up with an idea tends to be dangerous because they don’t know how to handle it.

Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker, a 3rd Infantry Division Soldier who was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment and killed in action in Iraq in 2003, is depicted in a photo illustration alongside the Distinguished Service Cross medal, which he is slated to posthumously receive for his heroic actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, April 5, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pa. (U.S. Army)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

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