April 20, 2001
Challenges to 21st century leaders:
General James L. Jones, 32nd commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, addressed the Corps of Cadets today in McAlister Field House as part of The Citadels Greater Issues Series.
As the future leaders of Americas armed forces, Gen. Jones told cadets, "much will be asked of youmore than my generation. You are the inheritors of a tremendous legacy."
In the 20th century, America has been successful as a leader, but the challenges of the 21st century, Gen. Jones warned, are not so clearly identifiable, and with fewer forces, the challenge will be to be more efficient. "The battalion of today will do what the forces of yesteryear used to do," Jones said. "In the old days, commanders gave specific orders. . . Today commanders give good guidance."
Gen. Jones cautioned to avoid giving precise orders; instead trust the troops to do the right thing. "And they will surpass your expectations because of who people are todaythey are brighter, they are more ambitious, and the technology is greater."
There is, he concluded, a great change in the challenges that face the American service men and women today. "The decisions of yesterday that used to be made by the colonel will now be made by the captain. That is the challenge that awaits you. You have an exciting opportunity."