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[] Marine Gen. Peter Pace: Leadership Enhanced by Global Communication,

Marine Gen. Peter Pace: Leadership Enhanced by Global Communication

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has
watched the military evolve over the past 35 years. During a recent
interview with American Forces Press Service, Pace talked of the changes
he's seen and of the changes yet to come. Here is the third in a
three-part series on the general's views. 

By Linda D. Kozaryn 
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2002 -- Many things in the military have changed
over the past 35 years, but leadership is not one of them, according to
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

"Leadership is still leadership, but the tools that you have available
to exercise that leadership have changed," Pace said. Leadership
principles have remained constant from Roman times through World Wars I
and II to today, he said. "Now we have the opportunity to get our
message out much faster and to many more people." 

In the past, a commander would pass information to his top officers, who
would then pass information down the chain of command. Today, Pace said,
a lot of the military planning is done at the leadership level using
video teleconferences. Instead of just a handful of officers getting the
word straight from the commander, hundreds of people can now absorb the
information at the same time. 

"That kind of impact is huge and it can be 'huge positive' or it can be
'huge negative,' depending upon what's being said and the individual
leadership style," Pace said. "If you are a caring, thoughtful leader,
in addition to your immediate subordinates, the other 500 guys watching
know that. If you're less than that, they know. 

"Body language on a video teleconference says a lot of things," he
noted. "The exact same things that have always been important (still
are), but they're magnified multiple times because of the ability to hit
a large audience." 

Video teleconferences give commanders a "powerful ability to quickly get
the word out globally, good, bad or indifferent," he said. "But leaders
are still going to be judged by their professional competence, and by
the way they do or don't take care of those in their charge." 

The advent of the Internet and e-mail has also broadened the scope of
service members' knowledge of global events. 

"It is possible now for a member of a rifle platoon to get on the
Internet and see what the national policies are, what the regional
policies are, or the regional events that are going on and how that
impacts their missions," Pace said. 

"When I was in Vietnam," he recalled, "my mail took about three weeks in
one direction. By the time I got it, whatever the problem was or wasn't,
was already finished. Now, e-mail goes back and forth all the time." 

Rather than doing business in a news-free "bubble," he said, troops
today are aware not only of their immediate environment, but that of the
world if they want. "The vast majority of the force is plugged in 24/7
and can, if they want, educate themselves on a vast amount of
information that otherwise would not be available. It certainly was not
available to me 30 years ago." 

"It amazes me," Pace said, "when my son or daughter says, 'You said
this.' And I ask, 'How do you know that?' and they say 'I got on the
Internet and punched up your name, pushed enter and the last three
articles that quoted you came up.' 

"My own kids are tracking me. If (people) in the organization want to do
that, they can. I think it's good. It's powerful. Knowledge is a good
thing. What it means to the leaders is, that you need to make sure the
messages you're putting out are the messages you want to put out."

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