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Leadership Challenges Facing the Army


Institutional Affiliation

Leadership Challenges Facing the Army

Over the past decades, the United States Army, the most instrumental and vital branch of

our military has seen a robust growth in terms of capacity and strength. The army has been

actively engaged in missions all over the world especially in volatile regions in Africa, the

Middle East, and East Asia where the United States has strategic interests. Training is a core

pillar in the United Army an aspect that has enabled it to operate in almost every region in the

world without being limited by cultural challenges. The United States has been allocating sizable

investments to offer the best training to its personnel in uniforms to maintain units that can

operate in dynamic theatres involving local politics, urban warfare among others (US

Department of Defense, 2014). However, over the recent past, the United States army has faced a

significant challenge in leadership development. This is a current challenge facing the US army.

This paper sets to discuss the challenge of leadership development currently affecting the United

States Army.

Leadership Development as a Challenge

The United States Army Press released a statement of the current challenges facing the

army and which have the potential to affect its operations in missions worldwide. Among the

several challenges listed was that of developing army leadership (Bradshaw, 2018). The military

and the army differ from all other institutions in the United States in many ways but most

importantly its highly dynamic form of personnel management. As expected with all the

branches of the military, service men and women are categorized depending on their experience

in the army, accomplishments, and level of training. These ranks in the army establish what is

referred to as the chain of command that allows operational efficiency through a code of

discipline. The ranks allow communication to flow from senior commanders to low-level

officers such as platoon members in the infantry. Although decisions are open to negotiation in

most cases, orders from a senior commander are not questioned. Military ranks keep on changing

at a significant rate for the army personnel. For both commissioned and noncommissioned

officers, experience, for instance, results to rise in the rank of an army personnel. As an officer

crosses the threshold of one rank to the next, their scope in terms of expertise, skills and

responsibility increase too. Additional training and mentorship, in this case, are key and vital to

develop leadership capacity among the new ranks.

Every year thousands of officers serving in the army cross the threshold of a new rank

which necessitates new training to impart new skills that match their new capacities. The

challenge for the army is to offer the required training for leadership development centrally the

high rate of rank crossing (Bradshaw, 2018). For instance, in most cases, many junior officers

cross the threshold and rise to new ranks of senior non-commissioned officers (NCO). This

immediately shifts their responsibilities within the army. In this case, senior NCOs have the

responsibilities of assisting commanders in the development of strategic planning, monitoring

their execution and also offer training to their juniors. More complex challenges meet junior

officers as they transit from junior soldiers to senior non-commissioned officers too. The

increased responsibilities and added complex tasks are daunting to the senior officers in their

new ranks. Without the appropriate leadership development in new ranks, complex tasks often

result in operational failures and losses. Therefore, the challenge of leadership development is

one which the army and the military, in general, cannot afford to overlook. Military leadership

development is a challenge for the United States Army for several reasons which include, fixed

resources, increased requirements with limited training durations and overseas deployments

(Crowley, Shanley, Rothenberg & Sollinger, 2013). Training for new responsibilities and

complex tasks requires significant resources. Although funding for the army is not a problem, the

budget is tightly fixed to meet different operational needs. Therefore, getting enough resources

has been a deterrent to high-level training in leadership development. As the requirements for

training officers in new ranks increase, the training duration has not which has often limited

leadership development. Battles and conflicts are constantly evolving which has often led to new

strategies. Learning new strategies together with the existing ones requires longer time durations

which is often a limitation due to the urgency of the personnel to fit in new roles. Additionally,

the United States army global approach requires that officers are mostly in deployments all over

the world. This is a further hindrance to leadership development when soldiers have limited time

for training due to operational tasks. Therefore, soldiers have to wait until they complete their

tours to train for new ranks at home.

Nonetheless, the army’s leadership development challenges could be overcome by

attaching training officers in overseas bases, constantly revising training programs to increase

their scope and duration and increasing investment to leadership development (Crowley,

Shanley, Rothenberg & Sollinger, 2013). Soldiers will have a long training duration, better

resources and also ability to train even while overseas. This is the way to overcome leadership

development challenges within the army.


The United States army a branch of our military has a pivotal role in our security. Over

the years, it has seen a robust growth in personnel and operational efficiency. However, with the

growing needs leadership development has become a challenge for the army due to fixed

resources, increased training needs with limited duration and overseas deployments. To solve the

challenge of leadership development, the army should increase funding to training, constantly

revise training programs and attach permanent training officers to overseas bases. This will result

in better leadership development and operational efficiency.



Bradshaw, C. (2018). NCOs confront leadership challenges. Army University Press.

Retrieved from


Crowley, J. C., Shanley, M. G., Rothenberg, J., & Sollinger, J. M. (2013). Adapting the army's

training and leader development programs for future challenges. Rand Arroyo Center

Santa Monica CA. Retrieved from

US Department of Defense. (2014). Operational and maintenance overview. Fiscal year 2015

budget estimates. Retrieved from