If we desire creative intelligence and moral courage from our officers, Congress must create a system that rewards these qualities. Civilian graduate education, especially in the social sciences, humanities, and languages, can strengthen the intellectual caliber and cultural literacy of our officer corps. Three-hundred sixty degree evaluations are more likely than the current system to identify morally courageous and innovative leaders. Our subordinates judge us every day, but we’ve created a system to make sure that promotion boards never hear those judgments, and our officer corps is worse for it. Some fear that 360 degree evaluations will become ‘popularity contests’ but in my experience those fears are unfounded. Troops admire leadership and despise pandering, and have a much better record than promotion boards of distinguishing between the two.
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Colonel Paul Yingling
Irregular Warfare and Adaptive Leadership
Presented to US Army Command and General Staff College on 2 April 2009.