Military Leadership

In Pursuit of Excellence


Text by Robert L. Taylor

Text by William E. Rosenbach

Text by Eric B. Rosenbach

Formats and Prices





  1. Trade Paperback $45.00
  2. ebook $25.99

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 30, 2008. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

The sixth edition of this classic text continues its popular interdisciplinary approach to the topic of leadership by examining fundamental elements of military leadership: the “process” of leadership, the dynamic personal interactions between leader and followers, and the individual and organizational values that foster effective military leadership. Military Leadership provides a thoroughly reconsidered and greatly expanded mix of classic and contemporary articles as well as original essays, with authors representing all of the services. Incisive introductory essays to each section highlight themes and connections. Eric B. Rosenbach joins the editorial team for this edition, helping infuse the text with fresh perspectives. The essays of the sixth edition confront the kudos and criticisms that surround military leadership today, offer international viewpoints, and relate military leadership to contemporary leadership theory and approaches. 


Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Taylor (USAF Ret.) is professor of management, dean emeritus, and director of international programs at the College of Business, University of Louisville. During his twenty years in the US Air Force, he served as a combat defense operations officer, missile launch control officer, and professor and head of the Department of Management at the US Air Force Academy. He can be reached at
Colonel William E. Rosenbach (USAF Ret.) is the Evans professor of Eisenhower leadership studies and professor emeritus of management at Gettysburg College. Formerly professor and head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the US Air Force Academy, he wrote or cowrote numerous articles and books on leadership topics. He is especially interested in the elements of effective followership and is the founding partner of the Gettysburg Leadership Experience. He can be reached at rosenbach@leading
Eric B. Rosenbach is the executive director of the Belfer Center for International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He formerly served as a professional staff member on the Senate Intelligence Committee and as national security adviser for Senator Chuck Hagel. As a commander in the Army, he earned the Meritorious Service Medal. He is a former Fulbright scholar and completed his bachelor's degree at Davidson College, master's degree at Harvard University, and juris doctor at Georgetown University. His e-mail is
Brigadier General Lincoln C. Andrews, a West Point graduate, was commander of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I. After retiring from the Army he served as the assistant secretary of the treasury in charge of prohibition enforcement.
General S. L. A. Marshall was chief US Army combat historian during World War II and the Korean War. He wrote some thirty books about warfare.
Daniel Goleman is founder of Emotional Intelligence Services, an affiliate of the Hay Group in Boston. A psychologist who for many years reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for the New York Times, Dr. Goleman previously was a visiting faculty member at Harvard. He attended Amherst College, where he was an Alfred P. Sloan scholar and graduated magna cum laude. His graduate education was at Harvard, where he was a Ford fellow, and he received his master's and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology and personality development.
James L. Stokesbury wrote A Short History of World War I, A Short History of World War II, A Short History of the Korean War, and A Short History of the American Revolution. Before his death in 1995, he was a professor of history at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada.
John Charles Kunich is a professor of law at Appalachian School of Law, Grundy, Virginia, where he teaches courses in property, trial advocacy, and the First Amendment. In the Air Force, he served as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, an instructor at the JAG School, chief counsel on constitutional torts and tax for Headquarters General Litigation Division, an environmental and labor attorney with Air Force Space Command, and senior legal counsel for Falcon Air Force Base, Colorado. The author of five books and numerous law-journal articles, Professor Kunich is a graduate of Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College.
Dr. Richard I. Lester is dean of academic affairs at Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He previously served as chief of social and behavioral sciences, US Armed Forces Institute; education officer with Strategic Air Command and US Air Forces in Europe; and faculty member at the University of Maryland. Dr. Lester frequently lectures at military institutions in the United States and abroad.
Earl H. Potter III is president of St. Cloud State University and former dean of the College of Business at Eastern Michigan University; Director of Organizational Development at Cornell University; and head of the Department of Management at the US Coast Guard Academy. He has a doctorate in organizational psychology from the University of Washington and over thirty-five years of experience in research and consulting on issues of leadership, team effectiveness, and organizational change. His leadership experience includes leading polar diving explorations, sailing a square-rigged ship with a crew of two hundred as executive officer, and chairing countless faculty meetings.
Lieutenant General Walter F. Ulmer Jr. is a graduate of West Point and a thirty-seven-year veteran of the US Army. For nine years he was president and CEO of the Center for Creative Leadership. His writing focuses on both the theory and practice of leadership and is grounded in his belief that there can be no true leadership without humanity.
Jack Uldrich is a global futurist and author. His books include Into the Unknown: Leadership Lessons from Lewis & Clark's Daring Westward Expedition.
General Wesley Clark is a graduate of West Point and was a Rhodes scholar. During his thirty-four years in the Army, his assignments included commander of Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War during his term as supreme allied commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000.
James M. Kouzes is chairman emeritus of the Tom Peters Company and an executive fellow at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. He also cowrote The Leadership Challenge.
Sarah Sewall is director of the Carr Center and a lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; she also directs the center's Program on National Security and Human Rights. During the Clinton administration, Sewall served in the Department of Defense as the first deputy assistant secretary for peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. From 1987 to 1993, she served as senior foreign policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell, as delegate to the Senate Arms Control Observer Group, and on the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Sewall has also worked at a variety of defense research organizations and as associate director of the Committee on International Security Studies at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She wrote the introduction to the University of Chicago edition of the US Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual (2007). She was lead editor of The United States and the International Criminal Court: National Security and International Law (2000) and has written widely on US foreign policy, multilateralism, peace operations, and military intervention. Her current research focuses on the civilian in war and includes facilitating a dialogue between the military and human rights communities on the use of force.
Brian Friel covered management and human resources at Government Executive for six years and is now a National Journal staff correspondent.
Craig Chappelow is senior manager of assessment and development resources at the Center of Creative Leadership, where he focuses on 360-degree feedback and feedback-intensive training and leadership development programs.
Major General J. F. C. Fuller was a British army officer, military historian, and strategist, notable as an early theorist of modern armored warfare.
General Montgomery C. Meigs commanded the NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina from October 1998 to October 1999, concurrent with his command of US Army Europe/7th Army. He also served as a cavalry troop commander in the Vietnam War. Meigs graduated from the US Military Academy in 1967 and earned a PhD in history from the University of Wisconsin. He is currently a visiting professor of strategy and military operations at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
Major Paula D. Broadwell most recently served as associate director of the Jebsen Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. She is a major in the Army Reserves and has held counterterrorism assignments with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Defense Intelligence Agency, and US Special Operations Command. She is a graduate of West Point and has master's degrees from the University of Denver and Harvard University, and is a PhD candidate at King's College London War Studies Department. Broadwell also serves on the executive board of Women in International Security.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling is a battalion commander in the US Army. He has served two tours in the Iraq War, first as an executive officer and later as an effects coordinator.
Fred Kaplan is a journalist and contributor to Slate magazine. His "War Stories" column covers international relations, US foreign policy, and major related geopolitical issues.
Michael C. Desch is professor and Robert M. Gates chair in intelligence and national security decision-making at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University.
Colonel John Tien served as the primary battalion commander for a unit of 1,100 personnel responsible for the city of Tal Afar, Iraq, from February to October 2006. He served a similar role in the northern portion of Ramadi from October 2006 to February 2007. Colonel Tien holds a bachelor's degree from the US Military Academy and a master's degree from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar. He has also been a White House fellow and a West Point political science professor, and he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Colonel Tien was a national security fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School from 2007 to 2008. He currently serves as a director on the National Security Council staff in the White House.
Brigadier General Michael Flowers is a former commander of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.
Ambassador Lawrence P. Taylor is a retired Foreign Service officer. He served in ten countries in a thirty-year diplomatic career, and his assignments included those of director of the Foreign Service Institute and US ambassador to Estonia. Since retiring he is active on several boards of directors, including those of the Baltic American Partnership Fund, the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, and the Eisenhower Institute. He is a founding partner in the Gettysburg Leadership Experience and has served as senior adviser to three presidents of Gettysburg College.
Major General Robert H. Scales Jr. commanded two units in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Silver Star. He was commandant to the US Army War College before retiring from the Army. He is currently an independent consultant for defense matters.
Brigadier General Kevin Ryan served in the US Army for over twenty-nine years as an air defense and foreign area specialist. He commanded units up to the brigade level and was assigned as the US defense attaché in Moscow from 2001 to 2003. Now retired from the Army, he is a senior fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Commandant Paul Whelan is an officer in the Irish Defense Forces. He has completed the Irish Military Staff Course and has earned a master's degree in leadership, management, and defense studies through the National University of Ireland.
Bernard M. Bass was director of the Center for Leadership Studies, Binghamton University New York; was principal investigator for the US Army Research Institute and served as a consultant to various Army and Navy personnel agencies. He received bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees from Ohio State University. He has served in a variety of staff positions, including professor and director, Management Research Center, University of Rochester; professor, University of Pittsburgh; professor, Louisiana State University; and visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley; IESE, Barcelona, Spain; Massey University, Palmerton North, New Zealand; and University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. He has written fifteen books, including A New Paradigm of Leadership: An Inquiry into Transactional Leadership and Transformational Leadership: Industrial, Military and Educational Impact.

God grant that men of principle shall be our principal men.
—Thomas Jefferson
By good grace and fortune, we are citizens of the United States—the greatest country in the world and its sole superpower. As Americans, we are generally secure from the troubles, disease, poverty, and danger that trouble many other countries. We live in considerable comfort. For citizens living in such security, the most natural pathway would be to pursue a career free of stress and sacrifice. Some small percentage of Americans, though, are drawn to the opposite: a life that requires discipline, selfless sacrifice, restricted liberties, sometimes long separations, and low compensation. Those who voluntarily follow this path embrace its challenges and its commitment to protect others. For this, they are declared "in the service." It is an apt term. The Americans who accept this commitment do so willingly and recognize that danger, hardship, and low pay may be their due. They learn to put service before self and to subordinate their personal desires for the greater good of the organization. And make no mistake: America relies on these few citizens to a degree that is generally underappreciated.
The duty of these special citizens is so grave, and their obligations so important, that we make them swear an oath when they choose this path. The oath includes a pledge to "obey the orders" of those "appointed over them," even though it may put their lives at risk. What could be more significant? In return, they expect something intangible: good leadership.
What a daunting privilege and solemn obligation this is for military leaders. When we are entrusted with the privilege and responsibility of leading such individuals, how can we repay their faith and sworn obligation to us? The prospect is both exciting and intimidating. For those who are intrigued, this book is for you.
What is good leadership? How can we acquire the skills? The study of leadership is a lifelong effort, but you can achieve a solid beginning to the journey by reading, reflecting on, and absorbing the observations in this book. Don't start the book without a tool to highlight and annotate—you should enjoy the material, but also study it with some intensity. As you read, imagine how you would react in the challenging circumstances outlined in the book. Test yourself with the physical, mental, and ethical issues. My view is that the study of leadership, particularly coupled with actual examples, begins to create a personal set of principles and benchmarks that will serve you well. You'll find that your instincts—honed through study and self-examination—bring clarity to leadership challenges that vex others.
This book is organized in a way best designed to condition and then stimulate your thinking about leadership. You'll understand leadership in its various forms in Part One. Note that the fundamentals of leadership are nearly eternal, and that form, style, and requirements often change. Part Two is a wonderful reinforcement that the soul of leadership is character. Some of the events and thoughts in these chapters should provoke critical thinking, while others may inspire. Part Three elevates the discussion to those whose leadership domain often involves the strategic and engagements with the political—generals and admirals. This section of the book is deliberately and carefully crafted to ensure that the reader knows that increased rank involves increased consequences to actions, and that courage—a central tenet of leadership—takes on a meaning beyond the physical. Finally, you will note that Part Four stimulates the reader to think about how future military leadership will shift the importance of several leadership traits (agile and independent thinking, for example) without losing the necessity of the others.
And what of my own thoughts on leadership? Although it's been over thirty years since I first faced the daunting challenges of leading a unit, I still remember the traits and actions that seemed to gain the respect of the platoon of sixty-five Marines. I also remember vividly where I erred. Though much has changed in the intervening years (except my propensity for errors), I believe that many of the tenets of good leadership are eternal. You'll find them in the counsel of the ancients and repeated through the crucibles those in today's military face. My reflections may contain no great wisdom, but perhaps if they are repeated elsewhere they will at least gain weight through the lessons of experience.
Mission. The first responsibility of a leader is to the task at hand. If you are competent in all other attributes but fall short in this one, you will fail overall.
Loyalty. Traditional notions of loyalty envision the loyalty of a subordinate to a senior. In military leadership, they must apply equally. If the balance is skewed, those who are expected to follow you will do so only out of obligation, or you'll devote too little emphasis on the mission and will fail to accomplish it.
Listen. No leader can have all the insights needed to make decisions, so the good ones listen to the counsel of their subordinates. This not only is smart but also encourages those in your organization to contribute more fully.
Act. After listening to others, decide quickly. Indecisiveness will quickly dissipate others' confidence in your leadership.
An army of deer led by a lion is more to be feared
than an army of lions led by a deer.
—Chabrias 410-375 BC
Fairness. Leadership frequently involves making decisions or taking actions in which someone loses or is perceived to have suffered. The pain of losing is made acceptable only by an impression that the action was taken with a sense of fairness.
Knowledge. Though you can't know all that is essential in performing your duties, your organization will note how diligently you study and absorb the essential ingredients of the job. If you can apply this knowledge to improving the organization and its people, all the better.
Example. Those in your charge expect you to embody the essential traits and ethos of your organization. "Standards" are not sufficient for a leader—the two terms are distinct and different. As a leader, you are expected to exceed standards. You are expected to lead by example.
Presence. The mantle of leadership invariably entails instances in which you will be obliged to rule against one person or the other or make a decision that may cause hardship. Although your goal is to gain the respect—even the affection—of those in your charge, friendship is in neither their interest nor yours.
Honor. A leader's moral compass is her or his sense of honor. Just as a journey without a compass can lead to a wrong destination, a compromise of honor will surely lead your organization—and your credibility as a leader—astray. The shorthand among those you will be charged to lead is revealing—"not only doing it right, but doing the right thing." A special note on honesty: Nothing is more injurious to the credibility of a leader than a perception that someone is less than honest. This trait is binary. You are honest, or you are dishonest. If you are perceived as dishonest, you'll probably never recover your subordinates' full confidence.
Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if
you must be without one, be without the strategy.
—General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Seek no credit. Those in your charge will observe closely who takes credit for actions. We've all known individuals who were quick to take credit and equally agile in avoiding responsibility. This trait is closely tied to how loyal your individuals perceive you to be, and how loyal they are to you.
A good leader inspires others with confidence in him; a great leader in-
spires them with confidence in themselves.
Praise in public; counsel in private. Almost without exception, this advice should be heeded studiously. Remember that those who berate in public probably lose esteem to the same degree as those berated.
Now . . . it's time to start the book and learn the lessons from distinguished authors. But before you do, establish an objective in mind. When you close the final page in the chapter on the Future of Military Leadership, what would you like the result to be? If the answer is to take an incremental step in becoming a better person and a more effective leader, then you'd better be ready to highlight and scribble notes. It's that important.
You can assign someone to a leadership position, but no one will ever
really be a leader until their appointment is ratified in the hearts and
minds of their soldiers.
Lieutenant General Gregory S. Newbold previously served as the Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as the Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division.

This book is substantially different from prior editions in that we have included only six articles from previous editions. Four of the new selections are original pieces written for this book. We also discovered two very interesting books from the archives at Harvard University that provide comparative perspectives of military leadership from different eras. Contrasted with our choices for the fifth edition, we had a rich array of articles to review for this edition. We expanded our searches and uncovered nearly 160 articles written since the last edition in 2005 and selected what we believe to be the best articles to complement the important classics. Ultimately, we found that the decision of what to include came easily.
We continue to mix classic and contemporary articles, authors, and settings in an attempt to reflect all the armed services. Either because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or interest in writing about leadership, we found that most of the writing came from or was published by the Army. Our focus is leadership and our choices reflect articles that are relevant beyond a single military service. We wanted to include articles that will be attractive to students and practitioners as well as scholars. Fewer of our selections come from outside the military journals, which makes us wonder about who will independently examine military leadership perspectives in the future.
We added a third editor to begin the transition to a new generation. Eric Rosenbach joins us to provide a contemporary perspective. His political science background and experience in the military and government yielded a new network for us that links writings about the military to the issues of today. His experience of living and working abroad increases our range of international approaches so we can look at military leadership with more breadth.
There are four parts to this edition: leadership perspectives and context; character as the heart of leadership; general officers' leadership challenges and opportunities; and the question of the future of leadership. Because of increasing scrutiny of the performance of our senior military leaders over the past several years, we do concentrate a bit on flag officers. Some may question the emphasis, but clearly the leadership lessons apply to everyone. In many respects, it is the same attention that has been given to corporate and organizational executives in recent times. No matter where the successes and failures occur, the people at the top are, and ultimately should be, held accountable.
This book is designed to stimulate an intellectual, as well as practical, understanding of leadership development. Traditional leadership studies explore the various theories and research findings. Our companion text, Contemporary Issues in Leadership, provides theoretical perspectives as well as current thinking from business and politics. This volume presents a specific military perspective with the purpose of identifying factors and issues that define the domain of military leadership. We provide selected articles and essays we believe will help our readers understand and appreciate the complexities of leadership in today's world.
In the quest to find the best possible material, we discovered two books: one written in 1918 and the other written in 1936. We enjoyed reading about leadership and leadership development in earlier times because it gave us context as we explored the current literature. You will not be surprised that not much is really "new." Much of what people describe as the characteristics and behaviors for effective military leadership has not changed. What is different is our understanding of transactional and transformational leadership. Thus, this edition gives us the opportunity to structure leader effectiveness in terms of transformational leadership theory.
We trust that you will discover a logic and order to the book. At the same time, we recognize that readers may want to select articles without a specific rationale or context. Whatever the format may be, we propose this book to those who continue their leadership development and those who are responsible for training the military leaders of the future.


On Sale
Dec 30, 2008
Page Count
352 pages