Critical and Creative Thinking, a Means to an End

900 Words4 Pages
The days of the Cold War scenario are long gone when we understood our enemy tactics. We often hear our seniors harken back to a time when we knew our enemy, their order of battle and perdict their actions based on their formation or equipment. Today’s fight is a thinking man’s game, a chess match requiring constant thought and analysis to match wits with our ever-evolving opponent. Critical and creative thinking skills are an essential set of skills that every leader must employ and eventually master to succeed in today’s modern operating environment.
The purpose of this paper is to argue why critical and creative thinking skills are essential for today’s Field Grade officers and how these skills will translate into success in next ten years of our career. The unique problems such as the drivers of instability faced while operating in a Counter Insurgent (COIN) environment over the last decade has forever changed the way we conduct warfare. Leaders with critical thinking skills are necessary to understand and frame complex problems. Furthermore, problem solving skills and the ability to determine the root cause prevents unnecessary effort being squandered solutions with little effect. Developed creative thinking allows for the development of “out of the box “solutions to the problems at hand. The bottom line to problem solving must be systematic, qualitative, quantitative and encompass a holistic approach.
Gone are the days when we knew our enemies based on our doctrine and training. Fighting in irregular warfare or counter insurgent scenarios are complex and requires constant thought, adjustments and refinements to the plan, with no guaranteed metric for success. Understanding that the operational variables, political, milita...

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...of the box solutions to complex problems. These problems are complex and have multiple variables to take into consideration. Without readily available answers, leaders need the skills to develop solutions within the available means. Critical thinking allows you to look at the problem from many perspectives and determine the most appropriate course of action
Critical thinking and problem solving abilities are essential skills needed by every leader. The complexity of warfare over the last decade confirmed the need of thinking leaders. At this point in our career, Intermediate Level Education is the time to refine our individual and team skills. As we prepare to move from the tactical level to operational and strategic we will find ourselves spending most of our time in staff positions. Having these skills will allow us to build our team and mentor our subordinates.
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