The Foundation of Army Leadership


Military policy is an essential element of general political and foreign administration activities aimed at ensuring national security of the state, prevention of wars and armed conflicts, strengthening strategic stability. It is determined by considering a state’s national interests and economic, social, diplomatic, and other capabilities. Army leadership is a component of the country’s overall military policy and ensures security, is directly related to creating the state’s organization. It is an integral component necessary in military affairs without which the army can’t exist.

The Army and Leadership Theory

The army of any country has a rich and often centuries-long history of cultivating leaders from their environment.

The Ideal Structure for Gaining Leadership Skills

First, the army structure itself is ideal for honing strategic and situational leadership skills and administrative practices. From Alexander the Great to the commanders of World War II, many outstanding leaders of yesteryear were excellent warriors and bright, authentic, and extraordinary commanders (Adonis, 2016). Leadership qualities are indispensable and fundamental components not only for a military chief but also for a manager in any field.

Leadership in Career Advancement

Second, leadership development is at the heart of career advancement in the military. An officer is responsible for the organization of activities, motivation, and efficiency of soldiers entrusted to him (Kirchner & Akdere, 2017). The higher his rank, the more complex the task of human reserves management becomes, and the more in demand his leadership skills become. Without the appropriate qualities, he will not only fail to gain credibility with his soldiers and colleagues but also build military strategies intelligently.

The Army as an Ecosystem

Third, by definition, the army is a self-contained ecosystem, where personnel recruitment occurs mainly at the grassroots level. Whereas it is always possible for a commercial structure to hire leaders for top positions from outside, it is impossible to see many cases of civilians coming into senior positions in the army. In the military, generals are raised from soldiers and sergeants by developing their leadership qualities and potential.

Leadership and the U.S. Army

The U.S. Army has a specific charter that captures the essence of Army leadership and gives detailed advice on shaping one’s administration style.

History of the Development of the Leadership Concept

In 1890 there was already a Cavalry journal in the United States. At that time, the first references to the qualities of a natural army leader and his role in combat operations appeared in it (Bielakowski, 2000). After World War II, when the Army leadership systematized experience, 11 principles of leadership were first published. Some of them became foundational and formed the basis for the further development of the leadership model.

First Charter

The first leadership charter, FM 22-100 Military Leadership, was incomplete and inconsistent. It was published in 1983 and mainly described lower-level management (Smidt, 1998). Subsequently, some charters addressed other aspects of leadership. They included strategic administration, stress management, mentoring, subordinate development. During the preparation of the next version of the fundamental Charter, a writer was hired from among army veterans to work on it. His task was to turn a bland charter into a fascinating story about leadership. He included many boxes with prominent examples of leadership in American Army history.

Forming a Unified Charter

In the early 2000s, the disparate charters were finally consolidated into a single alliance, FM 6-22 Army Leadership: Competent, Confident, and Agile. It covered all aspects of leadership, from the leadership model to the specifics of cross-national management (Army, U.S., 2006). The Charter is exciting, highly structured, and written in plain and straightforward language. This history of additions and revisions makes this Charter the most laborious piece of leadership literature ever written in human history.

The Be-Know-Do Model

The U.S. Army Leadership Model is based on the Be-Know-Do principle.


Be is the intrinsic qualities of the individual, something that is primarily determined by genetic predispositions and upbringing. These include attentiveness to people, a combative spirit, responsibility, respect (Suka & Riinvest, 2018). Outward appearance also plays an important role here: military posture, physical fitness, confidence in one’s actions. Finally, a leader is a person whose opinion is listened to by people, not because of fear, power, or authority, but because of trust and respect.


Know is qualities of thinking and a set of experience, skills, and abilities. The fundamental attributes here are flexibility and adaptability, drawing the correct conclusions, tactfulness, pioneering, applied to study. Absorbing experience, knowledge, and formal education, a true leader works tirelessly on himself. He is constantly stepping up to the next level of leadership skills to apply them to the task at hand and develop a plan for further action.


Do is competencies, those actions that a leader must perform effectively. It is necessary to be able to manage: to lead others. Sometimes step out of official authority, use a personal example, constantly communicate with soldiers and colleagues. A leader needs to develop and evolve continually: create a favorable environment around him, learn himself, and teach others. A significant aspect of this component is the result – it is vital not only to make plans and set goals but to take all the actions required to implement and achieve them.


The army is an organization with a millennial tradition of leadership. Troops with a long tradition honor and understand the importance of leadership and its growth among officers of all ranks. The point where managerial experience, scholarly research, and military ethics converge is the U.S. Army Leadership Doctrine. It provides a comprehensive answer to the question of what leadership qualities every leader should possess. The fundamentals of army leadership are a significant component in the development of the military.


Adonis, J. (2016). How to be Great: From Cleopatra to Churchill–Lessons from History’s Greatest Leaders. Black Inc.

Army, U. S. (2006). Army leadership: Competent, confident, and agile–FM 6-22. Department of the Army.

Bielakowski, A. M. (2000). The Role of the Horse in Modern Warfare as Viewed in the Interwar US Army’s “Cavalry Journal.” Army History, (50), 20-25.

Kirchner, M., & Akdere, M. (2017). Military leadership development strategies: implications for training in non-military organizations. Industrial and Commercial Training.

Smidt, J. J. (1998). Army leadership: Doctrine and the new FM 22-100. Military Review, 78(3), 83.

Suka, M., & Riinvest, C. (2018). Military Leadership as a Model of civil Leadership. In Conference Book of Proceedings (pp. 85-91).

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