Developing Senior Navy Leaders: Requirements for Flag Officer Expertise Today and in the Future

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  • Copyright: 2008-05-12
  • Publisher: Rand Corp

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As the array of expertise required to be a successful leader in the U.S. Navy has become more complex, Navy leaders have become increasingly concerned that senior officers need additional kinds of expertise, beyond those traditionally developed in naval officers, to be successful in commanding, leading, and managing the Navy enterprise. This study explores whether there is a gap in officer development that manifests itself in the flag officer ranks. Through surveys and interviews, and working with the Navy's Office of the Executive Learning Officer (ELO), the authors examined the kinds of expertise required for successful performance in Navy flag billets. They then created a model to determine the kinds of experience that the pool of Rear Admiral officers must have to fill these requirements, and compared it to actual experience possessed by several years of Rear Admiral selectees. The authors did not find major gaps between the kinds of experience required for flag billets and those possessed by candidate officers, but they did identify several combinations of expertise that the Navy should work to develop in officers to better meet current requirements. Hanser et al. also examined the Navy's structure, force development, doctrine, and technology acquisitions to identify the types of expertise likely to become more important for Navy leadership in the future. The authors conclude with a variety of recommendations on how the Navy might better prepare officers for senior leadership roles.

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