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Leader Development for NATO Multinational Military Operations

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Human Factors and Medicine

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Cultural Competency, Leader, Leader Development, Leadership, Leadership Effectiveness, Multinational Military Operations, PerformanceMeasuring Leadership


The 21st century global security environment has led to an increase in the number of NATO multinational military operations. Leaders of coalition military forces are presented with numerous challenges related to differences in operational practices, authorities, military doctrine, command and control organizations and practices, and cultural issues that influence and impact the effectiveness of leaders in multinational military force context. Thus, there is a need to undertake cooperative research to address these challenges and inform leader development for NATO multinational operations. The Exploratory Team (ET) on Leader Development for NATO Multinational Military Operations (HFM-ET-143) confirmed this need as well as the requirement to explore existing gaps in knowledge in this domain, and the opportunity to build upon each nation’s leader development practices for multinational military operations, particularly at the operational level of command.


The primary objective of this research is to assess the effectiveness of leader development and leadership effectiveness in multinational military missions among NATO nations. We will conduct a review of current leader development training as it relates to leadership performance in multinational military missions. Our goal is to increase our awareness of the importance of leader development and to achieve an understanding of the impact of leadership effectiveness on multinational military operations. Given the complexity of multinational military operations, it is necessary to consider strategies for developing leaders who will be prepared to address these challenges. Operationally, today’s military interacts with multinational partners on a greater scale than ever before. Thus, military leaders must be prepared to be culturally adept, and able to deal with differences that arise when working with multinational military forces, as well as working with non-military organizations, international relief agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Future military leaders will be those individuals who are committed to maintaining the military profession of values, ethics, standards, code of conduct, skills, and attributes. Such leaders must also be adaptive and capable of working seamlessly with coalition partners, as well as being operationally effective. To this end, this work group will cooperatively advance leader development by developing a framework and strategy to ensure the development of effective multinational military leaders Key goals of this proposed new effort include establishing closer cooperation between related research efforts using similar education and training methods, and tools for leader development. To this end, the following is the approach that will be taken by the RTG panel during its research. (1)This RTG will seek to establish the knowledge, skills, attributes, and experience that should be cultivated in military leaders for multinational operations. While each NATO and partner nation prepares its military leaders for multinational military operations, there is no established consensus on the common skills and attributes, or an integrated NATO leader development framework that aligns with the NATO FFAO Strategic Military Perspectives at various levels. (2)This RTG will: 1. Create a summary of leader development programs in participating NATO and partner nations. 2. Develop an integrated framework for leader development for NATO multinational operations, to be used by NATO and partner nations in their leader development programs and training activities specifically focused on multinational operations. This framework will serve as a reference and resource to understand and evaluate existing leader development programs among NATO and partner nations, and will align with the NATO FFAO Strategic Military Perspectives. Through an iterative process the framework will be developed to include the knowledge, skills, attributes, and experience – and other factors (e.g., ethics, core values, identity and commitment to The Profession of Arms) – proposed to be required for leader development for multinational operations, as well as the associated outcomes. 3. Establish a baseline of current best practices for leader development for NATO multinational operations. 4. Identify gaps that provide linkage between leader development and leader performance and develop guiding principles for addressing them.


We will conduct a review of current leader development practices for multinational operations that occur along the career continuum among NATO and partner nations. This review will cross multiple dimensions including education, experience, training, and personal development in preparation for developing leaders for multinational military missions. We will examine how each nation addresses the core values and ethics, identity and the Profession of Arms in leader development for NATO multi-national operations. What are the similarities? What are the differences? How can we leverage our awareness of these differences to inform the development of effective leaders in multinational context?

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