Velcro Soldiers: Global Professionalism in the Reserve Components

June 25, 2018

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We are an Army obsessed with the future. Our institutions, concepts, policies and evolving doctrines are always reconsidering the way we will fight and are always determining the tools necessary to outrange and outgun the adversaries of tomorrow. And for good reason—the character of war is evolving with the global diffusion of technologies, emerging economies and societal evolutions. But, as the character of war evolves, so too does the character of the citizen Soldier whom we recruit. The citizen Soldiers of today exist within a civil sector that is globally-oriented and is inundated with information technology. They are globally-astute and technologically-savvy and are imbued with new industry practices across all sectors of society. This human element of the All-Volunteer Force can provide the differential advantage over the diverse landscape of global threats to prevent future strategic surprise. Achieving this end will require senior leaders who first understand the changing character of the citizen Soldiers and then apply their evolving talents in the right place and time. If done well, this will have a profound effect on our operational capabilities well into the future. 

A burgeoning class of global professionals has emerged; citizen Soldiers are operating within it at all levels. They are the global project managers, cyber experts, software developers, innovation officers and social entrepreneurs among us, each with a corporate global account to manage. They possess enhanced insights to the strategic changes that often occur at a revolutionary level. They serve as enlisted Soldiers and officers in all ranks. With the onset of globalization, they have thrust themselves squarely into the growing class of global professionals. Regardless of how the character of war inevitably evolves, the global professional remains positioned to provide a unique perspective on the security environment; it is within that very environment that he or she reliably finds profit and sustenance as a civilian employee. 

A global professional embodies the global progression of the international free market enabled by information technology. This is not a career field defined by the rigid principles found within a university syllabus, but rather a new ethos that has firmly grasped a global corporate code. International trade policy, banking and the expansion of the industrial base around the globe are each contributing to this emerging cosmopolitan class. Whether it is in the arena of an internationally recognized corporation or a family export company, global professionalism has indisputably emerged. With the ubiquitous use of new technologies, a broader class of professionals is now empowered to compete beyond once impenetrable boundaries. Whether or not our American culture has moved on from industrialization to ubiquitous information technology or to the emerging global mega trends is debatable. What is not debatable is that the reserve component Soldier is deeply embedded within this culture.

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