Key terms were identified prior to processing the transcriptions into codes. Such terms were deemed significant in this study. The key terms identified represents the possible outcomes of either a centralized or decentralized decision making process within the military. Among the key terms found in this study are flexibility, resources, centralized decision making, decentralized decision making, training, feedback loop, strategic level decisions, operational level decisions, tactical level decisions, quick response, information technology, urban warfare, and hierarchy.
Flexibility refers to the capability of the armed forces to adjust to real-time situations, along with its autonomy and authority to respond to these situations. Resources are the assets necessary to complete a mission such as equipment, weapons, information, technology, funding, personnel, and communication among others. Centralized decision making refers to decisions made from the top of the command structure, regardless of the situation. Decentralized decision making, on the other hand, refers to decisions made at the lowest level of the command structure, by those who have better knowledge of the situation.
In this set-up, leaders throughout the command structure have the autonomy and authority to command decisions. Junior officers are provided with knowledge and tools necessary to become effective during training. Trainings are conducted in varying forms: on-the-job training, classroom training, computer-based training, and war type scenarios. The feedback loop is the manner in which information flows. Strategic level decisions refer to the decisions made by the President and Joint Chief of Staff.
This type of decisions limit and assess risks for the use of military and other instruments involving national power. Strategic decisions develop either global plans or theater war plans. On the other hand, operational level decisions are the decisions made by the U. S. Central Command, U. S. Southern Command, and Theater Commanders. They carry out strategic level objectives. Lastly, tactical level decisions refer to decisions focused on the ordered arrangement and maneuver of combat elements in relation to each other and to the enemy in order to achieve combat objectives.
Field commanders, platoon leaders, division leaders, and the like make decisions. This is considered to be the lowest level of military command structure. Quick response refers to the ability to react to real time situations and/or information, without permission from the chain of command. Information technology refers to the electronic computers and computer software used to convert, store, protect, process, retrieve, and transmit information. It allows the military commanders to see and hear the battle field from their headquarters located thousands of miles away from the battlefield.
Urban warfare refers to the modern warfare conducted in towns and cities, or other populated areas. Lastly, hierarchy refers to a top down structure where orders flow from the top to the bottom. Similarities and Differences A content analysis was applied to the transcripts and in the process, the similarities and differences between the two coders: Coder 1 and Coder 2, becomes apparent. Each coder’s interpretation of the key terms produced a profound effect on analyzing data with regard to centralized and decentralized decision-making process in the military.
The Central Command, also known as the CENTCOM, was categorized by both coders as part of the operational level decision making process. After further analysis however, some of the interviewees view CENTCOM as part of the strategic level decision-making process. The United States Central Command and the United States Southern Command are both classified as theater level Unified Combatant Command and are responsible for operational level decisions. These contentions present a challenge towards the coders in interpreting the participants’ view of centralized and decentralized decision-making.
A point of convergence lies on the agreement that CENTCOM can and often make centralized decisions, but never strategic level decisions. Both coders and participants have the same view over centralized decision-making and decentralized decision-making. Such agreement between the two is very helpful in finding the connection among other key terms found in this study. The participants understood with proper reference the different levels of decision-making within the military command structure. However, participants lack clarity as to who is associated with each level of decision-making.
Coder 1 and Coder 2 applied the same interpretations towards the different levels of decision-making. The levels of war are abstractions that prescribe various functions in war as based on different hierarchical levels. In his classic On War, author Carl von Clausewitz spent significant effort ensuring that he separated the levels of war, which for him were classified to be policy, strategy, and tactics. Policy was the domain of the government, strategy of the general, and tactics were the battlefield actions (Clausewitz, 1976).
At the strategic levels, state authorities have always striven to increase their control over the instrumentations of their power. Soldiers whose every action is governed by procedures had to undergo practice on a daily basis to perfect their skills. Having this done, it will make them disciplined in times of peace and effective during times of war. Hence, this poses dual benefits for them. During the times of Napoleon, these groups of soldiers are often governed by generals.
Napoleon, having realized that it is difficult to handles such a large single group, he grouped the soldiers into corps, sustaining themselves separately. Afterwards, he developed a design aimed at gathering and processing information while adhering to an overall design. Furthermore, there is evidence that demonstrates the success of empowering commanders to execute their task autonomously towards a situation of decentralization amidst a hierarchical structure (Schwarzkopf & Petre, 1992). In spite of the similarities in the interpretations of both coders, there were points of contentions.
Coder 1 interprets the feedback loop as an information flow from top to the bottom and vice versa, providing for two-way conversation as the information communicated up or down the command chain is communicated back the opposite way. The contention of Coder 2 is that conceding to the fact that information in the feedback loop is passed from top to bottom and vice versa, it does not create two-way conversation as it does not require information to flow back the opposite way. Such interpretation of this key term borders the definition of centralized and decentralized decision-making.
Keegan sees command as an art of persuasion relating in some way to “acting, involving hiding the true nature of the commander. ” He further explained that the role of commanders in the conduct of battles has significantly evolved and paralleled the level of man’s technological progress (Keegan, 1987). In addition to the aforementioned definition of information technology, Coder 1 added radios, satellite phones, high resolution cameras and the like as they were deemed to be capable of processing, retrieving, and transmitting information.
Also, Coder 2 added advance weaponry as part of information technology. Advance weapons in the forms of smart bombs, stealth aircraft, and unmanned vehicles may dictate how the armed forces fight wars, but nevertheless contribute to the flow of information. Information technology systems can be attached to certain weapons so as to enable them to process information. However, the computer systems, cameras, and the like are the ones which enable information transfer, not the weaponry itself. Advance weapons play a significant role in the manner as to how the military conducts war.
It also suggests the allocation of resources needed to conduct a war. In this light, decisions are made based on the types of weapons at disposal. However, these decisions in no way represent centralized or decentralized decision-making. They are rather decided throughout the military structure. Weaponry is classified as military resources. Resources are allocated at the strategic level, controlled at the operational level, and utilized at the tactical level. These having said, the concept of weaponry thus poses a very important question as regards to whether it should be decided centrally or not.
Another form of information technology is the electronic mail or e-mail. Most, if not all, of the military personnel have an e-mail account, and have conducted official business through this medium. Coder 1 did not look at the email as a part of information technology. Its contention was that e-mail is not used to transmit confidential information and possess limitations as bandwidth and location of the mission. In some instances, commands are set up with a Secure Internet Protocol Router Network or SIPERNET, which allows confidential e-mails to pass over a secure network.
On the battlefield however, the use of email as a medium of passing information is not practical or even possible. Coder 2, on the contrary, included e-mail among information technology tools as it is used to pass information. It contends that e-mail can be sent and retrieved among different levels of the military organizational structure though a SIPERNET. However there is contention among the literature reviews saying that in spite of technological changes, it is important to note that the amount of information that needs to be processed also increase in number.
Hence, current technology has no enough capacity to conduct information dissemination on a very wide level without compromising strategy, operation, or tactic. This in turn returns to the contention that a centralized communication from a central command is quite impossible given the nature of information technology and the characteristics of the information itself. Innovations dramatically affected the commander’s information gathering and decision- making process. Such technological changes have a very significant effect to the manner on how a commander makes decisions with regard to strategy, operation and tactic (Stroup, 2008).
However, there is no contention with regard to hierarchy as it does not induce much debate. It is typical to think of modern military forces as typical hierarchy organizations where a commander gives orders from a top to down command structure (Fukuyama and Shulsky, 1997). The military command is by nature hierarchical. The question arises is from which level in the hierarchy can decisions come from. If we will look closely in the paradigm, a centralized form of decision making would require all decisions to come from one central figure, preferably one on top of the command.
A decentralized form of decision-making on the other hand would allow decisions to spur anywhere from the command structure, without prejudice to the hierarchy of command. Analysis The use of content analysis and interpretation on the qualitative data gathered from the semi-structured interviews, which consisted of eight Naval and Marine Corps officers ranging from the ranks of 01 to 06 reveals seven distinct areas in support of the military’s move towards a decentralized decision-making organizational structure.
Among the areas found in the study are the role of the CENTCOM, the Operation Desert Storm, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, information technology era within the military, centralization, and decentralization. U. S. Central Command Analysis of the gathered data shows that there is a misconception about the CENTCOM as regards to its role in combat. All of the participants viewed CENTCOM to be synonymous with centralization due to its title, “Central Command.
” As implied by its name, the “US CENTCOM covers the central area of the globe located between the European and Pacific Commands” (DISAM, 2008, p. 132). The participants view CENTCOM’s role as within the planning and executing context of the war. As previously discussed in Chapter 2, CENTCOM is part of the operational level. It is considered to be Unified Combatant Command responsible for the operational control of the United States combat forces, within their area of responsibility. The U. S.
Secretary of Defense has jurisdiction over CENTCOM; hence, they are not responsible for strategic level decisions as previously interpreted by the participants. Operation Desert Storm Five of the Naval Officers and three of the Marine Corps Officers interviewed all view Operation Desert Storm on the Gulf War as a war executed from a centralized command structure. Again, the participants mistakenly identify CENTCOM and region commander-in-chief General Schwarzkopf as part of the strategic level of the Operation Desert Strom.
General Schwarzkopf executed the war plan developed by the Joint Chief of Staff, General Colin Powell, as approved by President George Bush. As previously discussed in Chapter 2, the strategic level of war establishes national and multinational military objectives, sequence initiatives, define limits and assess risks for the use of military and other instruments of national power, develop global plans or theater war plans to achieve these objectives, and provide military forces and other capabilities in accordance with strategic plans.
The President of the United States and the Joint Chief of Staff represent the strategic level, and not the CENTCOM. All participants agree that it was General Schwarzkopf who added success to the war due to his ability to communicate his objectives to his tactical commanders and to make decisions. The way the participants view the war as being centralized is influenced by their perception of the roles of CENTCOM. The war was executed at the lowest level possible and the chain of command worked as it was supposed to.
General Schwarzkopf states that “the President had been presidential; the Secretary of Defense had concentrated on setting military policy; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs had served as the facilitator between civilian and military leadership; and as theater commander, I’d given full authority to carry out my mission (Schwarzkopf and Petre, 1992, p. 368). What the participants perceived to be a centralized command structure was in fact, a decentralized command structure. Iraq War The qualitative data gathered from the participants suggest that the Iraq War was a combination of a centralized and decentralized command structure.
When they were asked whether the participants view Iraq War as a centralized or decentralized decision-making structure, they have come up with varying responses. Two Junior Navy Officers and one Senior Marine Officer view Iraq War as a centralized structure. On the other hand, one Senior Navy Officer and One Junior Marine Officer view it as a decentralized structure. However, two Junior Navy Officers and one Junior Marine Officer view it as a combination of centralized and decentralized structures.
Participants who view the Iraq War as a centralized command structure believe that the war was planned and directed by the President. Due to the resources required to execute the war and the possible political fall out over the war, the decisions should be made at the strategic level. The participants who view the war as a decentralized command structure based their observation on the type of war being executed in Iraq. The Iraq War was waged against Saddam Hussein, but because of the rise in terrorist groups and the uprising by the Shiite and Sunni insurgence, the war has become a war against terrorism.
Those who view the war as a decentralized structure believe that the war in Iraq is an urban war, which requires quick decision-making and the ability to respond rapidly to the insurgency, therefore a decentralized decision making structure is needed. The participants who view the war as a combination of both centralized and decentralized command structure believe that the use of a particular type of structure is situational. In the beginning of the war, the objective was to capture or kill Saddam Hussein and his sons.
During the initial stages of the war, the political leaders were in charge of planning and directing the war. Once the objectives were accomplished, there was no exit strategy and no government to maintain order. The insurgence and Islamic Radicals created an urban warfare that then require the military to adapt a decentralized command structure. Afghanistan War The Afghanistan War is fought by different entities, which are operating autonomously of each other. Reasons for this are deemed simple as the enemy is said to be the Al Qaeda, wherein the target is Osama Bin Laden.
The attacks on September 11, 2001 revealed the cracks in the U. S. intelligence department. To help improve the understanding of Al Qaeda, the military, CIA, FBI, and political leaders are heavily involved in executing the war in Afghanistan. All of the participants view the war in Afghanistan to be adapting a decentralized decision-making command structure due to the rough terrain that requires small divisions and units to navigate. The war in Afghanistan is an urban warfare, which requires troops to go from caves to caves and mountains to mountains in order to search for the enemy.
As mentioned earlier, the analysis shows that the best way to fight an urban warfare is through a decentralized decision-making structure. Information Technology Information Technology, as previously discussed in chapter 2, has the ability to transmit the flow of information quickly and precisely up and down the chain of command. Systems such as the Predator, surveillance and reconnaissance systems can provide detailed information about the enemies’ structures and location. The speed and the precision in which this information is transmitted may determine how the military organizes its command structure.
The question the military must ask is whether or not a centralized or decentralized decision-making command structure will allow information to be rapidly exploited. Data analyzed from the semi-structured interviews reveal two distinct differences in how the participants interpret the role of information technology with regard to military command structure. First, one Navy and one Marine Corp Junior Officer, and one senior Marine Officer, view information technology as a beneficial in decentralizing a command structure.
Information technology allows the Strategic and Operational Commanders to transmit and receive information from their Tactical Commanders; ensuring the right decision is made at the right time. Information technology “can support a doctrine of decentralized execution, since it makes it easier to provide more detailed and timely information to lower-level commanders, thereby enabling them to act more rapidly and flexible” (Fukuyama and Shulsky, 1997, p. 58). Secondly, three Junior Navy Officers, one Junior Marine Corp Officer, and one senior Navy Officer view information technology as beneficial to a centralized command structure.
Information technology provides high-level commanders the ability to see and hear what is going on in the battlefield. Through information technology, high-level commanders are able to direct operations from a distance. They can relay information and decisions directly to the lower-level commanders. The participants agree that the advantages of information technology can unintentionally create a higher degree of centralization. This can cause greater control of information by high-level commanders.
“The availability of more detailed and current information may tempt superior echelons to micromanage decisions that should be left to their subordinates” (Fukuyama and Shulsky, 1997, p. 60). Centralization vs. Decentralization In a centralized command, command and control authority reside in a single commander. One commander or level determines objectives and directs their accomplishment. Centralization may ensure unity of effort through unity of command, facilitates decision-making, offers effective use of forces and assets, eliminates uncertainty, and maximizes control.
However, subordinate commanders do not have much latitude in decisions and suffer from low morale and motivation. Under centralized command and control, detailed orders prevent tactical leaders from taking advantage of changing circumstances (Vego, 2003). One Junior Navy Officer, one Senior Navy Officer, and one Senior Marine Corps Officer have experienced a centralized command structure for the majority of their careers. These officers prefer the centralized command structure over a decentralized command structure.
Serving in a culture, which promotes a hierarchical command structure based on rank and file is one of the reasons why participants prefer a centralized command structure. It is what they are familiar and comfortable with. Based on the data analyzed, the ability to manage the flow of information and resources is another reason for centralization. When an organization delegates its authority and responsibility to the lower levels, it is said to be decentralized. Delegation of authority is the process by which the leader subdivides his overall authority and allocates portions of it to his subordinates.
Delegation of authority does not imply that the leader is relinquishing accountability. It simply means that he is appointing subordinates to assist him in executing the mission (Shachnow, 2000). One Junior Navy Officer and two Junior Marine Corp Officers are resolute in choosing decentralization over centralization. In relation to the previous analysis about the tenured officers, these officers who were just in the beginning of their careers opt to have a decentralized decision-making structure.
One factor that can be considered is the fact that they have not been engaged for long in the status quo where the centralized decision-making structure prevails. Junior officers are most like to be the supporters of innovation. The military has long established the institution of a centralized decision-making structure. However, advances in technology and warfare may warrant certain innovations as well in the institution of decisions-making. The openness of junior officers to decentralization adds to the feasibility of transforming the long established centralized decision-making structure into a decentralized one.Sample Essay of BuyEssay.org