Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 112

leaders at the squad-level associate one channel of communication with power, technology has become a crutch for the most basic of interactions. My counterargument was, first, to explain the logic behind my decision. I continued by discussing that I had removed (or limited) a means of communication, but I stressed that communication itself was their power base—not the specific means. I created a more restrictive environment for communication, but this should not have been their primary concern. They should have adjusted their style in order to maintain communication with their soldiers in other, more active methods. In other words, I implicitly told the noncommissioned officers that they should not be “leading by text.” Why do soldiers overuse technology to communicate? They overuse it because it is convenient, inexpensive, and easy to control. Writer Jeffrey Kluger explains the appeal of conversation by texting: I embraced the arrival of e-mail and, later, texting. They meant a conversation I could control—utterly. I get to say exactly what I want, exactly when I want to say it. It consumes no more time than I want it to and, to a much greater degree than is possible with a phone call, I get to decide if it takes place at all.20 Kluger’s justifications may not be all encompassing, but it is reasonable to assume that many share his self-oriented perspective. Despite the need for text message communications at times, this self-serving justification is, in many ways, contrary to Army values. Selfless service to the