Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL)


Arthur Heinz


NATO, Joint, International, Manning, Mentoring, Career Support, Defense, Air Force


Business | International and Area Studies


The nature of joint and international military service is built on a foundation of multiple service components sending their best officers to support, develop, and strategize for operational impact. If leaders fail to support sending or training their officers in a joint context, then military defense may become myopic, stemming from an internal focus on air or land functionality instead of an external focus on joint air and land functionality. While several studies have highlighted the need for greater support in the joint officer community, there seemed to be other factors that contribute to senior leaders guiding absence of deliberate joint post support for subordinates, contrary to congressional requirement. A fundamental question is whether or not leaders influence their subordinates to volunteer for joint posts, which could affect operational output, capability, and defensive posture for the United States and NATO allies. To assess this question a case study of NATO’s joint environment was conducted that included twenty interviews with officers in the rank of major and lieutenant colonel. Findings showed that while officers were encouraged to serve in joint posts they experienced a lack of senior leader mentoring, insufficient training, NATO cultural bias, and ignorance of the difference between international and joint duty by leaders. To mitigate these issues leaders could deliberately implement joint education across the Air Force early in officers’ careers as well as afford officers designators that honored their joint-international duty experience.