Some quick thoughts on the implications of GEN (Ret) Stanley Chrystalís book Team of Teams. IMO this book goes well beyond the importance of trust, common purpose, shared awareness, and empowerment to act, which is what most of the reviews I have read have focused on. Those aspects are absolutely necessary for his concept to work, but looking beyond that what is the value of his concept? Why did he push his Task Force (TF) to develop an adaptive network structure in the first place?

McChrystal points out that it was al-Qaedaís structure, not their plan, that was their strategy. They had a resilient structure that his TF was having limited success against until he adapted their structure and management style. That story is fairly well known, I think the question now is how relevant is this approach for the future?

The recently released 2015 National Military Strategy emphasizes the importance of globally integrated operations (GIO), a concept described in detail in the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations (CCJO): Joint Force 2020. It emphasizes that we must adapt to an increasingly complex and uncertain security environment, with multiple threats to our interests around the globe. To deal with this uncertainty it proposes an overarching concept, called Globally Integrated Operations, summarized as:
ďThis concept requires globally postured joint forces to quickly combine capabilities with itself and mission partners across domains, echelons, geographic boundaries, and organizational affiliations. These networks of forces and partners will form, evolve, dissolve, and reform in different arrangements in time and space with significantly greater fluidity than todayís Joint Force.Ē Sounds a lot like of Team of Teams.

I think the Team of Teams concept is a method to make these integrated operations possible, but only if conventional forces, legacy SOF organizations that are not currently as agile as Task Force, and civilian leaders in Defense and other interagency members are willing to change their management style. DODís management style in many ways still has one foot in the industrial age.
McChrystal writes that management, obviously current management systems, is one of the limiting factors in the quest of human progress.

While McChrystal hailed Winslow Taylorís work on scientific management to increase production in the industrial age. It proved highly effective at enhancing production efficiency for execution of known and repeatable processes at scale. Now Taylorís processes are part of the problem, because the real world is full of complex interdependencies, and linear management processes canít force the complex to conform to the rules meant for the merely complicated.

It is not my intent to point out all the examples in Team of Teams on how they transformed the TF's structure and management. Rather I just want to use the book as a sag way on how management systems influence how we fight wars. If these systems donít evolve with the time, they can become a considerable hindrance, and probably a more significant impact on our success than whether or not we get the latest jet fighter or tank.

Samuel J. Palmisano, the former CEO of IBM, discussed how the forces of globalization and new technologies have forced the business world to embrace new paradigms for conducting their operations to remain competitive. Hence, businesses are flatter and increasingly use lateral and vertical collaboration over top-down directive management. In fact, in many cases transformation of business processes is often more important than the product (read management) they produce or the services they provide to gain a competitive edge. The transformational power of management is hardly a new concept, the historian Michael Howard pointed out that the greatest military innovation of the 19th century was not technological, but the development of the general staff for managing the challenges of waging large scale war. Now weíre waging a global netwar, and need to consider a DOD wide change in management, not just for the TF.