The Effectiveness of Military Organiza tions
ALLAN R. MILLETT, WILLIAMSON MURRAY, and KENNETH H. WATMAN Mershon Center, The Ohio State University
The interrelated issue of rnilitary structure and effectiveness confronts planners and commanders with some of the most intractable intellectual issues associated with organizational behavior. T h e realities of preparing forces to kill and to face death in the service of the state createproblems with no ar~aloguesin other forms of social interaction. It is easier to define the behaviors one wishes to discourage in individuals - cowardice, flight, and IIOII-cooperation - than to definc the positive performance of conlplex organizations, which all armed forces inevitably become. 'The primary object o f organization,' wrote General Sir Ian Hamilton, 'is to shield people from unexpected calls upon their powers of adaptability, judgment, and decision." Yet other commanders have observed that individual and organizational flexibility is essential to military success. Despite a sizeable theoretical literature on organizational efficiency, military effectiveness remains an ill-defined concept. For some civilian and niilitary analysts, effectiveness is tied to the social structure of military organizations. The sociological approach focuses on factors such as unit cohesion, group solidarity, small-unit leadership, and Katneradschaft. Similar research seeks to link effectiveness to non-material factors like esprit, staying power, and the will-to-fight. Outside o f the small-unit focus, the sociological focus - regardless of whether the methodology is quantitative or descriptive - nlay provide special insights into the likely performance of large-scale military organizations, since it focuses on such problems a s the normative aspects o f officership, recruitment, military socialization, morale and political attitudes, and troop trainability.? The operational approach emphasizes the importance o f doctrines and
tactical systems and their proper ~ttilizationon the battlefield, By implication, this concept is also sensitive to companion issues such as training and leadership, but pays special attention to weapons utilization. The analysis may flow frorn various types ofwargarrles, a mainstay ofrnilitary education for almost t w o hundred years, o r fro111 field excrciscs. I t may also be develooed frorn conibat exoericnce. distilled from ~ o s t - c o m b a tinterviews. o r analyzed in the quantitative reconstruction of a series of engagements. Operational analysis pays special attention to the physical environment in which military events occltr, and it may even attempt to introduce such mathematical rigor that it allows the prediction o r at least the establishment of probable outcomes. Most conlparisons of modern armed forces utilize such approaches. While operatiorial analysis employs qual~titative techniques for the prediction o f combat results between various forces, it has also been transformed into another variant, systems analysis, which produces costbenefit con~parisonso f functionally similar forces in order to aid in the building of strategic theory, the clarifying of weapons procurement, and the asscssitig of logistical efficiency.' 'l'l~tsc t~~octcs .it~.ilyhis,Iiowcvcr v.iliti, provitlc ctr~ly of partial ;tnburcrs to orgdtliz~tiotiaI ~ f f i ~ t i v c t ~ t Military ~ z t i v i t yis cxtraordin~rily hctcross. getieoLts, a d the existing nieasures of effectiveness fail to capture the full corilplexities of ~nilitaryorganizations and their missions. Military activity has both vertical and horizotital dinlcnsions. T h e vertical dimension involves the preparation for and conduct of war at the political, strategic, operational, and tactical levels. Taken together, these categories for= a hierarchy o f actions which military organizations must coordinate from the highest policy levels to tactical execution. T h e horizontal dimqnsion consists in the numerous, simultaneous,...
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