Diplomacy 2030: Leadership Challenges and Shortfalls

A conference considering 21st-century leadership challenges associated with irregular warfare included the following among 44 shortfalls requiring corrective action in the U.S. military. One might argue that the items listed below are not unique to the military.

You could just as easily list this shortfalls in the training of our future diplomats. Our ambassadors and top negotiators for 2030 diplomacy are already in the system, working logistics in Harare or Yerevan and working the visa lines of Lagos or Guangzhou. The real question is — has their training been ramped up enough to help them meet the demands of their new and future challenge? Is there a new push within the organization to change its culture to encourage not only adaptability but also agility in learning?

  • Promotes and perpetuates leaders in one’s own image instead of as needed for 21st-century complex operating environments
  • Favors protecting careers and organizations over daring to take legitimate risks
  • Punishes and restrains risk takers instead of encouraging them
  • Does not seek “positional advantage” in all dimensions of the complex environment
  • Does not think dynamically about the full range of “audiences” to be targeted
  • Does not trust subordinates to use initiative
  • Does not grasp information operations well or at all
  • Is unfamiliar with other agencies, their cultures and resource capabilities
  • Is more inclined to compete with rather than cooperate with other agency cultures
  • Is rushed through a promotion system that does not allow adequate accumulation of experience
  • Is constrained by a career progression system based on post–World War II and Cold War imperatives, concepts, interests and threats. . . .

Intelligence Operations and Metrics in Iraq and Afghanistan
300 Interviews │318-page document
Rand Corporation, 2008 (p.191-192)