Bob King

Thanks for the response thus far. Based upon a discussion at milBlog (behind the AKO/DKO/CAC firewall), I’m adding some additional information. I realize people may respond without viewing either of the linked videos. That is unfortunate as the discussion is set within the context of cultural change as proposed by GEN Chiarelli.

Addendum: The words “flattending organizations” are not mine, they are derived from GEN Chiarelli’s video. They are also derived from the message in GEN Dempsey’s video with excerpts such as:

— I think that you will see us evolve into an organization where trust is as much the coin of the realm as control is.
— We are seeing that there’s real potential in decentralizing
— So, I think where we’re heading is to more trust than control.
— But we’re communicating with our soldiers in ways that I think maintain that sense of purpose, allow them to see what we’re trying to do, even in some cases take their advice. But I think it’s the power of their knowledge; what inspires them is their access to the knowledge. And so we’ve just got to continue to find ways to do that.

I realize there may be people here [referring to Army networks] that are not able to view these YouTube videos. I know, for example, that there are organizations at Fort Leavenworth that still have YouTube blocked from their work computers.

So I took the time to transcribe the VCSA’s video linked above, as well as another related video. This is not an official transcript. Emphasis added is my own to tie it back to the discussion. I would still encourage all to watch the videos, to see his body language and to hear the passion behind his commentary. The words below do not do justice to his message.

GEN Chiarelli on Communicating More Effectively
December 17, 2008

Summary: GEN Peter Chiarelli speaks about how the Army can communicate more effectively. He also talks about the value of using technology to collaborate.

We’ve got to find a way to flatten out our organizations and pass information, faster than we’ve ever passed it before, take advantage of these tools. But there’s a natural tendency not to. There’s a natural tendency to go back to our hierarchical nature, our bureaucratic ways. Make sure it’s read by 5 or 6 staff officers before the General sees it, sometimes before the Colonel sees it. Then the Colonel sends it out and then 5 or 6 more Generals have to see it before the Commander has to see it. And our ability to pass information at the speed of light turns into the same old two-month drill of getting watered down, staffed, chewed like a cud information to a leader about six weeks after he needed that information to make a decision that he needed to make.

The most illuminating exchanges of information that I have that allow me to use my job to the fullest extent don’t come from, normally don’t come from, officers directly below me. They come from individuals way (emphasis) down the chain of command I’ve given my email address to who provide me with information that allows me to take action to really solve the problem in a short period of time.

I had to fight it, yea, to beat down the bureaucracy, to ask why. To force it to change. I mean, I think that’s absolutely essential when they see those things. I’m not for anarchy, I’m not saying anarchy. I’m just saying I, it’s, it’s, I find it very, very sad when we have some of the abilities we have today to move information and to make better decisions because of the ability to collaborate.

This concept of collaboration is huge. And if you go down range today, and if you go to Iraq and Afghanistan, and you go down to the individual level you’ll find Soldiers using a system called Tiger, TIGR. And it’s a virtual notebook that allows individual Soldiers down at the lowest levels of our formations to pass information, and more importantly knowledge, between each other, between their higher headquarters in ways that makes them their own intelligence. Non-commissioned officers and Soldiers. Allows them to make decisions based on knowledge or information that 2 years ago, even 12 months ago they would have never had.

We have to empower that.


GEN Peter Chiarelli on Training Doctrine
December 17, 2008

Summary: The Vice Chief of Staff of the Army spoke about the new training manual when he visited the Combined Arms Center for the CGSC graduation.

[FM] 7.0 to me is just one example, albeit probably one of the most important examples because it tells us how to train for Full Spectrum Operations. But it’s one example of the amazing work that Fort Leavenworth, under both General Petraeus and particularly now under General Caldwell has done to update our doctrine. To really grab hold of this concept of Full Spectrum Operations and everything it means.

To have a, to help engender a debate in the Army and give us time to read these manuals, and comment on these manuals. And come out with some doctrine that I think is probably unsurpassed in our Army.

I don’t think, at least in my career, I can’t remember a time when our Army has had such rich doctrine. Such doctrine that really captures the essence of what we’re doing, that can be used, can be discussed. Making use of information technologies to… and Bill was telling me about, and I don’t know if it was 7.0, but this idea of putting a doctrinal manual online and collecting (from audience, 7.1), 7.1, and colleting comments and updating it online, that’s, that’s where we need to go.

He was also telling me there’s a tremendous bureaucracy that fights (laugh) that kind of change. But that kind of change is really where we need to go.

I, I, hats off to what Fort Leavenworth, what CAC, what General Caldwell and all the fantastic folks that work with him to make sure our Army has the doctrine that it needs.