Military Review English Edition September-October 2014 - Page 93

WARRIOR SPIRIT Warrior Ethos, are subject to adjustment based on the environment in which the soldier operates. However, when a warrior spirit is common amongst the members of the military, sets of martial principles become the foundation of the culture and identity they share. Unlike previous wars in which the warrior spirit emerged in only those soldiers who fought directly against the enemy across demarcated lines, operations in Iraq and Afghanistan saw the removal of barriers that separated combat functions from administrative and logistics functions. In those wars, the concept of battle lines ceased to exist, resulting in almost every member of a deployed force being exposed to direct enemy attack. Consequently, the common threat of enemy action against nearly all deployed members of the Army resulted in the spontaneous development and expanded relevance of a common warrior ethos. The Center for Strategic and International Studies bridges the gap between spirit, culture, and ethos by defining the warrior ethos as— …a code that expects individuals to aggressively engage and defeat an armed enemy in battle, promoting and valuing traits of moral and physical courage, tactical skills, emotional and physical stamina, loyalty to comrades and determination to accomplish the tactical mission regardless of personal risk.6 Recognizing the benefits that would result from an Army infused with a common warrior ethos caused the Army to codify a description of desired qualities in an officially sanctioned document. The Army’s Warrior Ethos was subsequently distilled into four lines within what was titled the Soldier’s Creed. These lines are: “I will always place the mission first; I will never accept defeat; I will never quit; I will never leave a fallen comrade.”7 After introducing the concept in 2003, Shinseki included the Soldier’s Creed in the 2004 Army Posture Statement.8 With the U.S. Army simultaneously fighting two wars that consumed nearly half of the available force at any given time, the official pronouncement of the ethos aimed to promote unity, solidarity, and endurance within an overburdened force in the face of shared hardships. In 2007, the Army promoted further this concept by providing links to information papers associated with the annual posture statement, giving access to MILITARY REVIEW  September-October 2014 clearer explanation of the Soldier’s Creed and Warrior Ethos. Still later, in 2008 , the information paper on the Warrior Ethos defined it, discussed current and future Army initiatives to instill the ethos, and outlined why it was important to the Army.9 That paper demonstrated that the Army recognized both the cultural shift occurring in a combat-hardened organization, and also that the spirit embodied in the ethos increased the effectiveness of the Army and a willingness of soldiers to embrace personal sacrifice in order to fight and win. The Army posture on the Warrior Ethos as discussed in subsequent official pronouncements has not significantly changed since the original paper published in 2008. This suggests that senior Army leaders assumed that the spirit embodied by the current force was sustainable indefinitely without adjusting the approach to account for a lack of actual combat operations. However, it is noteworthy that while the 2012 Army Posture Statement includes a link to the Warrior Ethos information paper, neither the terms warrior ethos nor warrior spirit are used in the latest document.10 The Posture Statement instead focuses on technological innovation, networked forces, and transition to a leaner, more efficient and adaptive force. Theoretical Leadership Leading an Army in transition from combat operations to a garrison environment is not a new problem, and the contemporary transition is less problematic than at any other time in history. Not only is the force comprised of volunteers, but the current military culture is habituated to the constant introduction of new technologies to the contemporary battlefield. This decreases the need of the current class of warriors for drastic educational leaps to add technological solutions into the military arsenal. By comparison, the Army transition following the draw down after Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991) appears to have been easier than what the Army faces today because of the short duration of combat operations. However, despite the seeming advantage of short duration, it is important to note that manpower cuts of over 100,000 within a year of the troops returning home from Desert Storm crippled the force structure that existed in the immediate aftermath of the conflict through the early 1990’s.11 91