Thursday, October 8, 2009

Flag Officer Expertise - Information Warfare appears to be the most likely to become more important in the future

U.S. Navy officers typically rise through the ranks developing expertise in a particular area. They may be skilled at surface warfare, for example, or air or submarine warfare. When they become flag officers—officers who hold the rank of rear admiral or above—many are called on to lead and manage large Navy organizations. But do they have the complex array of skills they need to manage the Navy enterprise?

Navy leaders have become increasingly concerned that they do not. Working with the Navy’s Executive Learning Officer (ELO), the RAND National Defense Research Institute undertook a project to identify the expertise requirements of Navy flag officer positions, discover whether there is a gap in officer development, and, if so, determine the nature and size of the gap. The RAND researchers surveyed all Navy flag officers regarding the expertise required for their current positions, and they developed and ran a model that identifi ed primary and additional domain-specific skills that flag selectees would need to perform effectively in flag positions.

A review of ongoing and planned changes in Navy organization, personnel development, operational strategy, and technology suggested some areas for expertise-building. Information warfare appears to be the most likely to become more important in the future.

Furthermore, there is no evidence that the importance of any of the following traditional Navy areas of expertise will decline in the near future: surface warfare, submarine warfare, antisubmarine warfare, special warfare, expeditionary warfare, littoral warfare, intelligence, logistics and readiness, and sea basing.

From the RAND Report

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