The Bayonet

Tuesday, Jun. 10, 2014

Expert: Army must adapt to globalization

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Students in the Maneuver Captains Career Course got a look into the workings of a globalized world June 5 during the latest installment of the Combat Leader Speaker Program.

Dana Eyre, a senior social scientist with SoSACorp and a research associate with the Centre for International Studies at Oxford University, was on hand to discuss the implications globalization has for the Army, as well as the future challenges the Army faces in the years ahead.

Globalization, he said, is not a new trend.

"It's not news to say that the world is globalized, but we haven't really fully thought through the implications of a globalized world for the role of the Army," Eyre said. "What the Army has to be prepared to do is to help preserve the security of that globalized system. Ultimately, we don't want to rule the world - we want a world where Americans can go about their lives as they choose in safety and security.

"What we need is a world that functions so that Americans and all the people in the rest of the world that we're connected to can live their lives absent of security threats. So, the challenge is adapting to a globalized world in which the preservation of the functioning of the world system is the central thing we're trying to achieve."

Eyre said gaining a broader understanding of the various societies that make up this globalized system will be paramount.

"We have to understand the societies, the systems, what motivates and why threats arise," he said. "That's an incredibly complex environment. It's not a world in which you can just focus on your narrow job and a narrow set of things ... you have to understand context and apply those basic skills in that wider context." To that end, Eyre said the major challenge the MCCC students and other future Army leaders will face is finding ways to remain adaptable.

"Leaders have to ... understand and be able to adapt and maintain mental flexibility," Eyre said. "They have to develop skills in terms of understanding social systems, understanding people and understanding the dynamics of conflict and social change. That's the context in which operations are going to occur." In addition to discussing globalization, Eyre also discussed how the study of war is conducted, and suggested that the lessons of past conflicts may not provide a realistic image of future conflict.

"The Army knows it has to be ready for an uncertain future," he said. "The problem is what the future is going to be is almost certainly not what we expect. ... What the Army has to do is integrate the lessons of the past with an anticipation of how the world is going to evolve. ... We've got to integrate the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan, and we can't deny or be unprepared for any challenge in the full spectrum of activities. So, the central challenge is figuring out how we integrate current lessons with past lessons to produce an Army that's ready for the future."

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