The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2012

J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 27 F OCUS ON FSI /FS T RA INING T HE A RMY ’ S A PPROACH TO L EADER D EVELOPMENT ny look at the State Department’s professional education and training pro- grams may benefit from a corresponding review of how other agencies handle this important career development requirement. Such comparisons may help bring into sharper focus the unstated assumptions and invisible or- ganizational values on which the programs are based, as well as the more visible techniques and methodologies they employ. With its long history of support for profes- sional training and education, the U.S. Army’s approach may be particularly instructive for the Foreign Service. As an institution, the Army develops leadership skills and traits in its personnel through a continuing program of professional military education that starts the first day an individual enters the Army, and provides appropriate functional training and professional education through- out a soldier’s career. By comparison, the State Depart- ment’s method for developing professional diplomats, with the exception of language training, is episodic and ad hoc. Unlike the Army, State concentrates on developing managers, not leaders. Leadership development at State is largely a function of on-the-job training, which has a long history of mixed results. For this to change, the State Department needs to alter its approach to developing leadership skills in its personnel as part of their overall professional development. The State Department and the U.S. Army differ in many important respects, but the need for leaders to be well-educated, adaptable and innovative is common to both institutions. A look at how the Army meets that challenge may be instructive for evaluating how to im- prove education and training at State. A LOOK AT HOW THE A RMY ’ S PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION SYSTEM DEVELOPS LEADERSHIP SKILLS OFFERS POSSIBLE LESSONS FOR THE F OREIGN S ERVICE . B Y J EFFREY L A M OE AND T ED S TRICKLER Jeffrey LaMoe is chief of staff for the Command and Gen- eral Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. A retired Army colonel, he previously served as commandant of the National Geospatial-Intelligence School for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. He was also an associate professor at the United States Military Academy and di- rector of training at the U.S. Army Engineer School. Ted Strickler is executive director of the Simons Center for the Study of Interagency Cooperation at Fort Leaven- worth. During his 34-year Foreign Service career, he served in Somalia, Ethiopia, Germany, Sudan, Egypt, Switzerland and Italy. He is the 2002 winner of AFSA’s Christian A. Herter Award for constructive dissent by a Senior Foreign Service officer.