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PRC, Russia Professionalize – Without Cloning US NCOs

dimsum

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WASHINGTON: “For both Russia and China, they lag far behind where we are in terms of an NCO corps,” Army intelligence analyst Ian Sullivan told me. “[But] the answer for both Russia and China might not be to build an NCO corps that is similar to the United States…. What if their way of war doesn’t necessarily require it?”

That’s an answer that “doesn’t necessarily resonate” for a lot of US leaders, brought up in a Western military tradition that absolutely depends on non-commissioned officers, Sullivan acknowledged in an interview: “We couldn’t go to war without ’em.” But it’s dangerous to mirror-image an adversary, and China and Russia have taken a very different approach to modern conflict, said Sullivan, the deputy intelligence office (G-2) for US Army Training & Doctrine Command (TRADOC). It’s an approach that could make it easier and less expensive for our competitors to professionalize their militaries than US observers might assume.

Both Russia and China have focused on their commissioned officer corps first and foremost, he told me, although they’ve also invested in improvements on the NCO side. Both have focused on long-range firepower, cyber warfare, and disinformation campaigns under centralized control. That contrasts sharply with the more bottom-up, NCO-led approach preferred by Western militaries, both in open warfare and in peacetime competition.

 

The Bread Guy

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Well, past management in Russia had a pretty comprehensive history of central control of the military, so there's that.
 

rmc_wannabe

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The problem I see with the way we employ NCOs is that we are advisors to those in command and an authoritarian for those on the shop floor.

A lot of the independence and authority of NCOs ad Warrant Officers has been watered down by the American concept of a "Command Team" structure. A senior serving member, with 20+ years worth of experience and influence is completely wasted in that capacity.

I think we need to get back into focus the idea of Officers figuring out the "what" while NCOs focus on the "how" ad we meet in the middle and get it done. This leads to more autonomy and independence on the battle field, which gives rise to more flexibility. That gives us an edge in a fight against the centralized, authoritarian structures the PLA and Russian Armed Forces employ.
 

daftandbarmy

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The problem I see with the way we employ NCOs is that we are advisors to those in command and an authoritarian for those on the shop floor.

A lot of the independence and authority of NCOs ad Warrant Officers has been watered down by the American concept of a "Command Team" structure. A senior serving member, with 20+ years worth of experience and influence is completely wasted in that capacity.

I think we need to get back into focus the idea of Officers figuring out the "what" while NCOs focus on the "how" ad we meet in the middle and get it done. This leads to more autonomy and independence on the battle field, which gives rise to more flexibility. That gives us an edge in a fight against the centralized, authoritarian structures the PLA and Russian Armed Forces employ.

The 'co-opting of the SNCO' by the higher levels of the CoC has been one of the great leadership blunders of the past decade or so.

I assume that it's been done for all the right reasons, but it tends to remove the critical role that 'dynamic tension' plays in great leadership structures.
 

rmc_wannabe

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The 'co-opting of the SNCO' by the higher levels of the CoC has been one of the great leadership blunders of the past decade or so.

I assume that it's been done for all the right reasons, but it tends to remove the critical role that 'dynamic tension' plays in great leadership structures.
I would agree.

I remember as a wee Signaller that it was like Animal Farm with some of our SNCOs and WOs; undiscernible if they were Farmer or Pig. Often at times, the operational planning process was done without a thought to the affect of said plan had on the members expected to bring the plan into fruition. When it was inevitably brought up by a Sgt that it was an impossible ask that was being put forth, Tp WOs, SSMs, and even the Old Man were quick to admonish the worker bees and toe the party line within the command teams.

I am glad to have a command relationship where I'm able to tell my Captain upfront that he's stepping on his tail before anyone higher or lower notices.
 
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