Encouraging Risk and Embracing Uncertainty, the Need to Change U.S. Army Culture   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the student paper asbtract: "This monograph examines the culture of risk and uncertainty tolerance within the US Army officer culture. The author defines culture as the collective experiences, training and education among officers. The central research question is does the US Army develop leaders to make risk decisions in an environment of uncertainty? The methodology includes an analysis of three historical case studies of risk and uncertainty across the spectrum of conflict. [...] A model for risk tolerance is developed that relates the amount of uncertainty to risk in each case and for Army officer culture as a whole. The tolerance to risk changes with the amount of uncertainty the culture is able to control. [...] Control of risk and uncertainty may in fact run counter to the very nature of conflict and war yet the US Army officer culture appears to be increasingly based on controlling through technology large amounts of uncertainty and hence risk. This control can only come through a centralization of decision-making and standardization, almost mechanization of subordinates and their actions. This tendency toward centralized risk 'management' is actually engrained via the way the officer corps trains its leaders. [...] experiences the success of doing so. This monograph recommends a shift in cultural mindset through a refined education process rather than implementing changes to training scenarios and curriculums. The US Army officer culture must begin to accept the need to educate, train and then form the experiences that support a judgment based risk tolerant culture."

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