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nontraditional billets in the enlisted ranks, but they will not have a true impact fleetwide if there are no women officers to lead them.
► Develop your communication skills. The ability to communicate well with the troops is a valuable asset for any leader. Everyday conversation and speech can betray your own biases or opinions. According to linguist Deborah Tannen, “the vast majority of our decisions about how to speak are automatic. Most women or men learn to speak in particular ways because those ways are associated with their own gender. Others may be getting very different impressions of our own abilities and intentions than we think.”9 A leader in today’s Navy needs not only the ability to communicate on a gender- neutral basis but also the ability to discipline in a manner that leaves no room for interpretation.
> Enforce rules governing fraternization and personal relationships. There is no easy solution to the problem of fraternization. On board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), regulations stated that if a relationship developed, one member would be transferred, but this would be too costly to implement fleetwide.10 Sailors now attend a series of lectures on fraternization before deployment, but one lecture before a long deployment may not be enough. One surface warfare officer recommended making an example of the first fraternization case in a command by severely punishing both members involved. Unfortunately, by the time one fraternization case is discovered, many more may exist. In addition, fraternization is not strictly a seagoing issue; it must be addressed to the same degree at shore commands.
Overall, the Navy needs to transition corrective measures into preventive measures. Human nature may not be stopped, but it can be controlled. Drunk-driving videos, safety stand-downs, and even the simple slogan “Don’t Drink and Drive” have contributed to the changing attitude toward alcohol. The detrimental effects of fraternization on a unit must be addressed in the same manner and on a more frequent basis.
The Better Officer
When a fellow officer shared his reasons why women don’t belong in combat, he asked me whether I would rather serve with a man or a woman, if given the choice. I told him that I would rather serve with the one who was the better naval officer. It is often difficult to not make gender an issue and to view sailors impartially, but leaders must ensure that all personnel in their commands are treated equally, without regard to race, religion, or sex.
The task of smoothly and successfully bringing men and women together in a combat force is far from finished. It is neither an exclusively male nor an exclusively female problem. It is a Navy challenge, and one that all leaders need to resolve before dealing with the more important issues of military readiness and mission accomplishment. A military force with an internal conflict will not win wars; one in which its troops operate as a team will. A strong effort to meet this challenge must be made to ensure that the Navy remains a vital force into the next century.
'Tom Morganthau, Carroll Bogert, John Barry, and Gregory Vistica, “The Military Fights the Gender Wars,” Newsweek, 14 November 1994, p. 35. 2“Hultgreen Was Ranked With the Best,” Navy Times, 5 December 1994, p. 8.
"'Hultgreen Was Ranked With the Best,” p. 8. JNeff Hudson, “Bringing Women a Long Way, aI1L' Staying There,” Navy Times, 5 December 1994, p. 27.
’Patrick Pexton and John Burlage, “Sex and Your Shipmate,” Navy Times, 16 January 1995, p. 12. ‘Pexton and Burlage, “Sex and Your Shipmate, p. 13.
7John Burlage, “She’s In the Navy Now,” Navy Times, 9 January 1995, p. 4.
"Lt. (j.g.) Maureen P. March, USCG, Comment and Discussion item in response to “Just Say No!” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, August 1992, p. 23. ‘Deborah Tannen, Ph.D., Talking From Nine to Five (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc- 1994), pp. 15, 308. „
'"Pexton and Burlage, “Sex and Your Shipmate,
Lieutenant Dunne, a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, is in advanced helicopter training at HT-8, NAS Whiting Field and expected to receive her wings in June 1995. She was the second honorable mention winner in the 1994 Vincent Astor Memorial Leadership Essay Contest.
Vincent Astor Memorial Leadership Essay Contest SecoND Honorable Mention
Combat Leadership and the Media
By Lieutenant Christopher Devereaux, Medical Corps, U.S. Naval Reserve
Throughout the ages, great military minds have recognized that the key to successful military leadership and victory lies in knowing the enemy. Superior intelligence gathering and the ability of battlefield commanders to assess the evolving conflict around them provide the basis of this knowledge. Today, advanced technology allows the gathering and processing of information on an unprecedented scale. This new technology also has prompted a telecommunications revolution and has given birth to the global media, which now plays an important role in influencing public opinion and political policy. Little attention has been paid, however, to the devastating effects the media revolution can have on battlefield leadership and basic command structure. History has demonstrated time and time again that belief in a cause is the foundation of the aggressive will. This belief is embodied in our faith in the military value of discipline. Obedience, in turn, is tied to a soldier’s implicit understanding that his superior officer has greater knowledge of the situation and can implement that knowledge to the benefit of all. The Duke of Wellington recognized the qualities of leadership that form the basis of our modem command structure when he said:
That quality which I wish to see the officers possess, who are at the head of the troops, is a cool, discriminating judgment when in action, which will enable them to decide with promptitude how far they can go and ought to go, with propriety; and to convey their orders, and act with such vigor and decision, that the soldiers will look up to them with confidence in the moment of action, and obey them with alacrity.'
The Prussian army in the late 1800s embraced this ideal under Moltke, who preferred to operate under the principle of “first reckon, then risk.”2 After extensive intelligence gathering with regard to enemy positions and vital supply lines, he turned loose his commanders with general directives about the results desired. Over the next 100 years, this evolved into German operational doctrine, which emphasized flexibility and decentralized decision making at the battlefield level. The success of this doctrine during World War II prompted a revolution in the U.S. command structure, and it has
In future will arise
remained the basis of our battlefield strategy since.
The key to this strategy is the ability °f the troops to respond to battlefield direction quickly, and this hinges upon the faith they have in their leader’s ability- It was recognized early in history hy Xenophon that:
the leader must himself believe that willing obedience always beats forced obedience, and that he can get this only by really knowing what should be done. Thus he can secure obedience from his men because he can convince them that he knows best, precisely as a good doctor makes his patients obey him.3
The troops follow because they believe the battlefield commander has a better grasp of the situation, rooted in superior knowledge obtained through the chain °f command in intelligence briefs. In our Host recent conflicts, however, this basic Understanding has been undermined by media overexposure, the tnovement to real-time coverage, and the decline in experienced military reporters.
The airwaves are flooded With raw information that reaches even frontline troops, destroying morale and interfering with execution of orders.
Public Opinion and Propaganda
The effect of the modern niedia was first evident dur- lng the Vietnam War. Press coverage was more extensive and less restricted than dur- lng any previous conflict, but *he brief time many corresPondents spent in-country Precluded them from gaining a thorough knowledge of their subject. They relied Upon pictures of dramatic events, often without placing those images within the larger context of the overall conflict. The coverage was like an undirected telescope focusing on individual events, without an accurate view of the whole. The media played a significant role in forming governmental policy and Public opinion during the war, but their effects still were somewhat blunted by distance and the time required to get information to press. In addition, the troops remained in relative information isolation as a result of the military’s ability to retain strict control of information sources.
In the past 20 years, the press has become increasingly freed from many of the time constraints of information gathering. This has led to a more aggressive effort to be first on line with the story to seize the greatest market share. A 1989 media survey by the Times-Mirror Center noted that the pressure to make profits has a greater effect on news coverage than ever before.4 Television has become the primary news source, and the focus remains on real-time coverage that relies on the visual and dramatic to attract viewers. Television news suffers, however, from distortion because of its need to compress large amounts of information into a short period to broadcast to the widest audience possible.
The Cable News Network (CNN) is the archetypal television news source. It reaches more than 57 million households in the United States and 7 million households in 95 other countries.5 During the Gulf War, it also was a major focus of attention for our frontline troops. Desert Storm brought to the forefront the abil-
ity of a news source to be so positioned as to be the best source of information, and our troops were aware of this. A White House official summed it up when he said, “If you had to choose between reading the cables [from U.S. embassies] in your box and tuning in on CNN three times a day, you’d tune in to CNN.”6 This CNN example also illustrates how the rapid information transmission of tele-
vision prevents reflection and evaluation and can lead to mistakes and misinterpretations. The Baghdad coverage by Peter Arnett produced haunting images of a bombed-out civilian bunker. In this case, CNN’s own military analyst, retired Air Force Major General Perry Smith, was concerned for its value as Iraqi propaganda. He cited CNN’s failure to convey that this structure had all the appearance of a hardened command bunker and noted that, at best, Arnett represented “a reporter who didn’t understand military bunkers very well and who was willing to accept some of the things that were given to him at face value when, in fact, they might have been wrong.”7
Experienced military reporters such as Fred Francis and Ed Offley agree that the press contingent covering the Gulf War included a large number of individuals who were ignorant of military matters." Since the war, the number of experienced military reporters has continued to decline and is now woefully inadequate to provide appropriate coverage of any conflict.5' In the book Military and the Media, William Kennedy, a retired colonel and former Army public affairs officer, also decries the ignorance and inexperience of our foreign and military correspondents, which allows for their exploitation and manipulation by domestic and foreign governments.10
With its increased reliance on television as a primary news source, the U.S.
With the telecommunications revolution, the media can influence public opinion and provide propaganda for the enemy, but their most insidious effect may be on our frontline troops. Today, troops can be confronted with images and impressions, before they even reach combat, that may undermine their morale and their confidence in their leaders’ knowledge.
population has developed a basic faith in its reliability that carries over to our military personnel. In many respects, however, this faith is unfounded. This gives rise to a conflict between belief in the validity of the information received from your superiors and belief in the information that is broadcast by the popular press.
Our involvement in Somalia emphasizes how detrimental media overexposure can be to a military operation. There were widespread complaints about how bright camera lights and bulb flashes interfered with night-vision goggles and made the troops easy targets for snipers as they stormed the beaches." The powerful and disturbing image of a GI’s body being dragged through the streets of Somalia caused strong responses on the home front and among our soldiers in the field. After its broadcast, a public opinion poll showed a rise from 33% to 50% in those believing our troops should be withdrawn immediately.12 A similar response from the military personnel involved must be expected.
A dramatic example of the influence of the media upon the effectiveness of troops in the field occurred during the failed Soviet coup attempt. The plotters blundered when they failed to control the means of communication, thus allowing Yeltsin to mobilize world opinion rapidly to his cause.
The image of Yeltsin standing firm before the armed might of the hard-liners flashed over Western television, prompting messages of support from the West to bolster the defenders of Parliament. Images of Soviet soldiers, even officers, mingling happily with coup resisters undermined any aura of invincibility the military may have had and promoted further internal dissension. The local military commander in Leningrad refused to cooperate with the coup leaders, and tank commanders in Moscow defected and joined in the defense of the Parliament.
Although the coup plotters successfully shut down almost all private radio stations, newspapers, and television stations, satellite television links and telephone and fax lines remained open, which allowed the dissemination of images that ultimately eroded their force’s morale, undermined their leadership, and brought the coup to defeat.
The Erosion of Discipline?
The media can provide propaganda for the enemy and cause significant shifts in public opinion, but of potentially even greater importance is their ability to place near real-time images before our forward- deployed troops. Our battlefield leaders in the future will have their basic command relationships assailed as never before. Troop morale will be undermined by images of captured and tortured comrades, of the devastation of war, and by the possibility that their actions are causing harm to innocent civilians. These are thoughts soldiers have struggled with through the ages—but always with some shielding by distance and the comfort of shared experience with the men about them.
Today, the media have the ability to expose our forces to pictures and impressions even before they reach combat. The coverage will be unfocused and instantaneous and will provide no time for reflection or accommodation. It will undermine belief in the abilities and knowledge of the superior officers. Discipline alone will not control this. Soldiers of the Russian Army, one of the most authoritarian forces ever created, failed to follow their superiors’ orders during a crisis of faith brought on by media images.
What is the answer? Traditionally, our armed forces strive for ever greater control over the sources of information. This course may be effective in the short term, but it ultimately is doomed to failure. Our country is built upon the right of free speech as embodied in the First Amendment, and attempts to control the free press further already have raised objections. Following the Gulf War, after six months of meetings, the Assistant Secretary for Defense/Public Affairs and representatives from major U.S. news organizations developed ten principles to govern coverage of military operations. The one point on which no agreement could be reached was the Pentagon s demand for prior review of battlefield stories.13
In addition, as the media become increasingly global, their ties to any single government become increasingly thin- Our media already have shown their proclivity to broadcast information from our enemies and raw battlefield images- This tendency can only worsen as the profit- driven movement to real-time coverage progresses. What control our government exercises currently is based largely on its position as a major source of information and the voluntary cooperation of the media, and this at no time has been comprehensive.
Future war coverage will rely even less on the government. The threat of invasion in Haiti mobilized the most advance equipment ever assembled in a potential combat zone. The networks were poised to provide extensive live pictures ot any combat in what was described by a senior vice president at ABC as “the next generation of coverage.”14 David Bohrman, producer of specials for NBC news, said: “This is the first event of this kind where the news organizations are not relying on the military for primary access. If the invasion is in Port-au-Prince, we’ll see all there is to see.”15
If the sources of information cannot be controlled, then logic requires us to look to the recipients of this information. Limiting access to information has been used with varying degrees of success in the past, but cellular phones, fax machines, miniaturized radios, television, and other means of rapid communication make this effort increasingly futile. With technol-
°gy progressing at such a rapid rate, we mus‘ face the real possibility of a televi- sion/radio device on every soldier’s wrist and ready access to telephone lines, which already was evident in the Gulf War. The information will flow. We cannot expect to achieve any better information control than we have had in previous conflicts; we should expect it to be much worse.
As information flows freely over the battlefields of the future, our battlefield commanders will face the even more difficult task of sifting through this cloud of dubious facts, figures, and images. No longer will they be able to focus only °n the battlefield situation, relying on the •ntelligence community to interpret information once the battle is joined. Their 1111 nds will be drawn to the regional conflict, and they will be forced to stamp out morale-killing images, find the kernels of truth, and act swiftly to achieve victory. They must be the fullest embodiment of hfoltke’s “first reckon, then risk” and decentralized decision making because events will take place at a pace never before imagined.
As the media floods the world with images, the country’s mood invariably will turn against conflict, as it always has done. Troop morale will need constant bolstering against the erosion of these 'mages. Support for conflicts, once they are joined, will die quickly under these pressures.
To achieve effective leadership on the battlefield of the future, our troops must be shielded with the words of Clausewitz: “The great part of the information obtained in war is contradictory, a still greater part is false, and by far the greatest part is of a doubtful character.”16 Combat leaders must be trained in the environment of sensory overload. Military exercises must be performed under simulated intense media scrutiny and free information flow. Discipline will be maintained and the command structure will be reinforced, with each soldier becoming accustomed to looking to his battlefield commander in the face of the media barrage, and that commander will be better equipped for these challenges. As we train our troops to fight the wars of the future, they will be free to meet the challenges of combat with the same heroism and determination that has carried our country forward and protected the freedoms upon which it is based.
'Robert Debs Hein!. Jr.. Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. 1966), pp. 160-173.
’John Robert Elting, The Superstrategists (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1985), pp. 177-221.
’Robert Debs Heinl, Jr., Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations, pp. 160-173.
“Foreign Policy Association, “Media’s Role in Shaping Foreign Policy,” Great Decisions, 1991, pp. 87-94.
'Foreign Policy Association, “Media’s Role in Shaping Foreign Policy,’’ pp. 87-94.
‘Foreign Policy Association, “Media's Role in Shaping Foreign Policy,” pp. 87-94.
’Perry Smith, "Taking Aim (Excerpt from ‘How CNN Fought the War: A View From the Inside),’’ U.S. News & World Report, 23 September 1991, p. 15. "Ed Offley, “Covering the military—The press needs to get its act together," Editor & Publisher, 22 January 1994, pp. 34, 44.
’Ed Offley, “Covering the military—The press needs to get its act together,” pp. 34, 44.
'"Riley Ward (reviewer), “Book reviews—The Military and the Media: Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted to Cover a War, by William Kennedy,” Editor & Publisher, 19 February 1994, p. 35.
"Debra Gersh, “It’s Hollywood! No, it’s Somalia! Military leaders question massive media presence at landing of U.S. armed forces, but media say Pentagon encouraged it,” Editor & Publisher, 19 December 1992, p. 9.
"Patrice Piquard, et al., “A Shrinking Superpower: U.S. Humiliations in Somalia and Haiti,” World Press Review, 1993, pp. 8-13.
' Debra Gersh, “War coverage guidelines: after six months of talks, media and military agree on proposed principles for news coverage of battlefield operations,” Editor & Publisher, 21 March 1992, p. 18.
Bill Carter, TV ready for battle, with high-tech access,” The New York Times, 18 September 1994 pp. 11, 13.
Bill Carter, TV ready for battle, with high-tech access,” pp. 11, 13.
“Robert Debs Heinl, Jr„ Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations, pp. 160-173.
Lieutenant Devereaux is a staff internist at Beaufort Naval Hospital.
Vincent Astor Memorial Leadership Essay Contest SecoND Honorable Mention
Head of the Family
By Captain Lori Reynolds, U.S. Marine Corps
In the eight years that I have worn the Marine officer’s uniform, I have struggled, along with Marines at all levels, to meet the challenges of leadership. Recently, I have watched as leaders have Wrestled with issues of political correctness, cultural diversity, and equal opportunity. And increasingly I have wondered what the big deal is all about. The Qualities that mark strong leadership are not dependent upon race, creed, color, or gender. Leaders of all eras who have treated others with respect, justice, and care have been successful and will continue to be so.
Perhaps because I am a woman, this concept seems obvious to me; as a young Marine leader, however, it often has been Painfully frustrating. For 1 have been a Part of the changing society with which the Marine Corps has struggled. But 1 have wanted only to fit in, to be a contributor to and a positive part of a Marine Corps with a glorious heritage. I never wanted to be a part of the “New Corps,” if you believe in such a thing. I believe in the “Old Corps.” To me, the Old Corps means the camaraderie, loyalty, professionalism, and teamwork of the “band of brothers.”
As a leader today, my first loyalties are to that Old Corps. My challenge as a leader is to treat all Marines with respect, equality, fairness, and enthusiasm on the way to accomplishing missions. I think I can get there from here without once mentioning gender, color, or culture. I think I can get there by stressing the Marine family.
Marines who feel welcome and at home as members of the Marine Corps family won’t feel the need to distinguish themselves as members of a specific race, culture, or gender. Families have a common name and a common background, and the Marine Corps family is no exception. In fact, we are most proud of our traditions and history. Most Marines enter the Corps to become a part of that rich heritage. All Marines are responsible for respecting our traditions and carrying out our history.
The leader’s job, therefore, is that of a guide, a teacher, and a motivator. Core values such as integrity and loyalty and attributes such as hard work, determination, and mission accomplishment—those things that helped create the heritage of which we are so proud—are the glue that bonds us together. In an era when society is pushing the rights of different cultures to express themselves. Marines must push to maintain that common bond. The color of a Marine’s skin, his religious or cultural background, or his gender have nothing to do with that bond.