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Army Leadership Foundations


It is safe to say that the army is one of the primary and necessary government institutions. Since people’s lives, safety, and independence are directly dependent on the army’s well-being, leadership plays a vital role in this organization. It is necessary to define and describe what such activity as leadership means for the accuracy and clarity of further discussion. According to the officials, “leadership is the activity of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization” (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 2019, p. 3). Like any other part of the complex fundamental institution, it has its own unique foundations, and the foundations of army leadership determine the organization’s current state. Knowing these things will enable one to understand and explain the core and existing strengths and weaknesses of the army leadership in particular and the army in general. This paper aims to describe and investigate the foundations of the United States (US) Army leadership.

Defining Army Leadership and Its Foundations

Any army is an organization with a complex structure that was once formed as a response to historical, social, economic, and even geographic challenges. Army leadership is the primary organizational and guiding principle of all types of armed forces within the military structure. According to the US Department of the Army, military leadership is a type of activity when one is motivated “by virtue of assumed role or assigned responsibility inspires and influences people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization” (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 2019, p. 3). Since the army leadership is the flagship and the primary driver of responding to the country’s external challenges and internal needs, its foundations are of the exact nature of the army. Therefore, one can say that “the foundations of Army leadership are firmly grounded in history, loyalty to … country’s laws, accountability to authority, and evolving Army doctrine” (Munteanu, 2016, p. 4). However, this formulation is too broad and applicable to any army; it is needed to take a closer look at the specific foundations of the army leadership of the US armed forces.

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US Army Leadership Foundations

It is no secret that the US war machine is one of the strongest and most technologically advanced military forces globally at the moment. Its leadership model is complex, and to make it easy for a person to understand all aspects of its foundations, they were grouped and divided into three categories that are character, presence, and intellect (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 2019). Each of them embodies several foundations of US military leadership, which are conceptually close to each other.

Foundations of US Army Leadership In Terms of Character

As noted above, one of the categories of the foundations of army leadership is character. This concept encompasses all the personal and professional qualities that all ranks of army leaders in the US military should possess. These include loyalty, honor, integrity, dedication, respect, a sense of duty, and genuine courage (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 2019). It is also necessary to note empathy, self-discipline, humility, as well as warrior and service ethos.

Foundations of US Army Leadership In Terms of Presence

The presence in the US army leadership doctrine implies how army leaders should behave, what words to say, and what actions to take to instill confidence in colleagues and set an example for others. The presence category covers concepts of public behavior and appearances such as fitness, resilience, confidence, and military and professional bearing (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 2019). Adhering to and showing these principles ensures high soldier morale and discipline in the army structure.

Foundations of US Army Leadership In Terms of Intellect

Successful military affairs always required military leaders with significant intellectual capabilities and well-developed ingenuity. It is why the category of intellect is among the foundations of US military leadership. Intellect encompasses mental flexibility, sound judgment, interpersonal tact, and the ability to learn from practice and innovate (Headquarters, Department of the Army, 2019). As one can see, the foundations of US army leadership are varied and multifaceted but easy to comprehend.


This paper explores the basics and details of the current conventional foundations of US army leadership. It is also worth noting that such general concepts as leadership, army leadership, and its foundations were discussed here. The foundations of US army leadership have been found to be diverse, multifaceted, and interconnected. Another important finding is that they are divided into three conceptual groups called character, presence, and intellect.


Headquarters, Department of the Army. (2019). ADP 6-22, army leadership and the profession. Web.

Munteanu, A. Army leadership. CEFME Students Conference 2016. Web.