Ground Force Cultures: Help or Hindrance to Joint Training?

Series: CSIS Reports
Today's complex environments demand that even the junior-most service members adapt to diverse challenges and operational threats without constant direction or direct oversight from commanders. Consistent with this view, the Department of Defense invests in service and joint training programs that enhance adaptiveness and decentralization, thereby enabling subordinates to take rapid action when needed and adapt to a range of disparate threats that may manifest simultaneously on the battlefield. Strategies for how to achieve these ends can vary, but most emphasize culture as an underlying factor that influences whether leaders' desires for greater adaptiveness and decentralization are realized. An organization's culture-the underlying values, norms, and assumptions that guide and are shared by members-can either facilitate or inhibit these desired aims. Consequently, the current characteristics of service culture or sub-cultures are especially important to understand before implementing changes to training programs. This study seeks to better understand these subcultures, namely in the Army and Marine Corps, as they relate to adaptiveness and decentralization.