"Our most valuable asset, and arguably our most significant asymmetric advantage inherent in the American military and the United States Army, for we come from a society of improvisers, a society of tinkerers, innovators, problem solvers, techno-savvy at an early age. An independence of action comes natural to all Americans. Self-starting initiative, disdain of boundaries and rules, non-linear critical thinking, and an aggressive will to win, coupled with an eternal optimism to overcome all obstacles to achieve the objective. All of that is hard-wired in the national DNA of an American soldier."
The topic of innovation is particularly relevant to today's Army given the challenges in today's complex world and the uncertainty of the future. Our Army's ability to counter and confront a variety of enemies from peer competitors with sophisticated and advanced weapons to elusive violent extremists that seek asymmetric advantages is the cornerstone of our nation's security. Our future is neither knowable nor known; therefore, we must review history and lessons learned, evaluate potential missions, identify emerging technologies, and assess threats and adversaries to capitalize on opportunities that will better prepare us for the next war in whatever context that conflict will emerge.
When approaching the study of innovation, review military history and identify militaries that successfully innovated. Examine why some militaries were successful and characterize their military culture: Were leaders amenable to change and open to new ideas? Did they have systems in place that enabled the development of ideas or were they laden with multiple levels of bureaucracy? Did they accept failure? Did they collaborate internally or externally? Also, examine the root causes of militaries that failed. Finally, assess your branch, division, directorate, and ARCIC leadership and use the reflection questions to determine if you are in an environment that fosters creativity and flexibility of thought.
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