U.S. Army Management Practices
Management is the process of coordinating people’s efforts and ensuring the effective and efficient use of resources with an aim of accomplishing organizational objectives and goals. Management consists of interrelated functions of planning, leading, organizing, staffing and controlling. In the process of management, different resources may be used. The resources include human capital, natural resources, technological devices and financial assets. Through management, the aforementioned resources are transformed into utility. In addition, management is charged with the tasks of marketing and innovation to ensure that people’s needs and wants are satisfied. Management is required in all organizations regardless of their sizes. The functions of planning, leading, organizing, staffing and controlling apply to all companies and institutions. However, it should be noted that management differs from leadership. Whereas leadership is meant to provide direction and motivation for employees to achieve organizational objectives and goals, management goes beyond directing people, as it entails coordinating all the resources at an organization’s disposal. Leadership is a part of management. This paper analyzes how management practices are executed in the U.S. army.
Drucker (2006) noted that planning is the process of organizing the activities that should be carried out in an organization in order to achieve the desired goals. Through planning, a strategy is created or an existing plan is refined and maintained. The management forecasts to determine how the future will look like and reacts accordingly to come up with plans on how the future should look like. Planning is mainly an executive function, which is done by the top management body. The management defines organizational goals and determines the resources that would be required in attaining the set goals.
According to Pontefract (2013), the senior leadership does the planning process in the U.S. Army. The senior leadership is made up of the President, who is the head in the military, the Secretary of Defense, the chief of staff and the federal executive department, which formulates military policy. Planning in the Army entails three main functions: developing strategic plans by the senior leadership, preparing mid-term and mission-oriented plans and translating mission-based plans into functional programs. As far as the nation’s security is concerned, planning in the Army revolves around various issues. The plans are geared towards a future where regional stability will be promoted. Therefore, strategies are put in place to reduce threats and conflicts that are likely to occur within the nation’s borders and beyond. As the planning is done, an estimate of the needed resources is completed, including the number of troops that would be adequate to complement homeland defense and deter coercion and aggression that can pose a threat to the nation’s security. To achieve the goals, careful budgetary allocation is done since funds are needed for the acquisition of facilities and personnel.
Leading refers to the act of providing guidance and direction to people. It involves the use of both formal and informal strategies to influence the actions taken by people. Therefore, managers should be effective leaders so that their subordinates can work enthusiastically in an effort to achieve organizational goals.
The U.S. Army has been one of the strongest military in the world for a long time. The Army is under the leadership of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who is answerable to the President and the Secretary of Defense (Pontefract, 2013). During operations and joint missions, the U.S. Army and the other branches of the armed forces work under the authority of the Secretary of Defense. Other leaders of high ranking in the army are the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman and the Sergeant Major of the Army. It is through the efficient and effective leadership of the listed individuals that the Army has grown into a strong force. The strong leadership of the Army has created a sense of national unity and identity. In fact, the U.S. Armed Forces are arguably the most powerful military in the world, all thanks to the strong leadership it has enjoyed for a long time.
Organizing is a function of management that entails putting in place an organizational structure. Human resources are allocated to fill in the created positions and to ensure that tasks are accomplished (Drucker, 2006). It is through the structure of an organization that efforts are coordinated. Apart from the organizational structure, organizing also entails designing jobs in an institution. Each position comes with specific duties and responsibilities.
The Army has a defined structure with clear reporting relationships and lines. The structure in the Army has been developed based on the principle of specialization and division of labor. The Army has three components: the Regular Army and two reserve groups, which are the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. Administratively, the Secretary of the Army, who is answerable to the Secretary of Defense, leads the Army and serves as an oversight for the U.S. Army Chief of Staff.
As far as operations are concerned, the Army is divided into various components with the field army being the largest. The field army serves as the Army service component commands of unified combatant commands. On the other hand, the corps constitutes the second largest component. It consists of twenty thousand to forty-five thousand soldiers. The corps usually serves under the command of the Lieutenant General. The corps is now referred to as operational unit of employment. The divisions follow the corps in size, constituting about ten thousand to fifteen thousand soldiers who serve under the Major General. Divisions currently form what is referred to as tactical units of employment. A division includes a combat aviation brigade and four brigade combat teams. Next in line is the brigade, which is composed of at least two battalions that serve under the command of a Colonel or a Brigadier General. The brigade is made up of between three thousand to five thousand soldiers. Other components of the Army are the regiment, battalion, company, platoon, section, squad and team.
In his analysis, Drucker (2006) established that staffing involves the acquisition, deployment and retention of employees to serve in the organizational structure. Therefore, an organization’s workforce should be sufficient both in terms of quantity and quality to ensure that all activities are carried out as planned. Having the right size of the workforce ensures that the personnel is not overwhelmed by too much work. The workforce should also have the skills that are required for the effective and efficient accomplishment of tasks in the organization.
As it has already been mentioned in the paper, the U.S. Army is one of the largest forces in the world. The Army has a large workforce, responsible for the administration and operations as well as for the logistical needs of the Army. The Army has a personnel department, which is charged with the responsibility of staffing the force. Staffing in the Army starts with the recruitment process. It involves determining whether one is qualified to serve in the military. During recruitment, applicants’ documents are verified and the candidates are taken through medical examinations. Members of the Recruitment Command, which includes security clearance managers and job counselors, usually do the process. Those who make it through the recruitment are selected and trained in the required areas. As soon as the trainees are ready, they are deployed to serve in areas where gaps need to be filled. The staffing department in the Army also ensures that valued personnel is retained, which is done through remuneration. Personnel that is not needed and those that engage in cross misconduct are also dismissed by the department. In addition to the named functions, the personnel department also serves as an administrative link between the headquarters and the subordinate units.
Controlling involves follow up to ensure that actual performance does not deviate from the set standards. Therefore, actual performance is compared to the set standards and corrective action taken where the need arises. As far as controlling is concerned, managers should ensure that employees’ focus on activities that are in line with the organization’s goals and objectives (Dertouzos & Garber, 2006). Whereas the activities of Army can be unpredictable at times, individuals serving in the force must adhere to the set rules and regulations of the Army. To ensure that operations in the force are controlled, performance and budgetary audits are usually applied in the Army. Besides, controlling of the military activities is necessary to ensure that they are consistent with operations of the other arms of the armed forces. Controlling also ensures that unnecessary expenses are not incurred in the name of providing security. For such reasons, commanders and heads of different units have to give periodic reports of operations at the levels at which they serve.
It is evident that management and leadership work hand-in-hand. For management to be smooth, supervisors require leadership skills. The human resource constitutes a very important part of an organization’s resources and therefore requires proper direction. On the other hand, management skills are also important in leadership. Leaders should have the ability to apply their management skills and those of other people for organizational goals and objectives to be achieved. As it has been mentioned herein, the management practices of planning, leading, organizing, staffing and controlling apply to all organizations. The difference is in the level of skill required. The skills are determined by the nature of work done by an organization and its size. Nonetheless, planning has to be done to determine the goals, employees must be lead to work in one direction, and all functions should be organized and coordinated. In addition, staffing must be done to ensure that there are enough employees and all the operations controlled to ensure that plans are adhered to strictly.