Garrison Leadership vs combat leadership

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The primary goal of this article is to contrast combat leadership and garrison leadership as they are used in the military. Military effectiveness is heavily dependent on the chain of command in place. Leadership means that everybody follows varying directives, but that the target is met and chaos is stopped. Political leadership has operated in both war and garrison. Combat refers to combat that takes place outside of school and schools, where techniques gained are put to use and fire power is used. Garrisons are military bases that house military troops and have accommodation, restaurants, and unit areas. Originally garrisons were towns or cities where soldiers provided security to residents after taking over from a previous authority. Currently, the largest garrison in the United States is Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Garrisons also happen to offer training to new army recruits. Both scenarios thus require quite different lines of leadership.

The two leadership styles have parallelism in major aspects. Top on the priorities list of military leaders is ensuring the welfare of the soldiers under them and successful accomplishment of the mission at hand. Both leadership styles require military ethics which are loyalty all times, selfless service and duty. Leaders should be loyal to the unit they head, the military itself and the nation (Wong, Bliese & McGurk, 2003). Offering selfless service refers to putting personal interests and goals aside and putting national, military and unit goals first. Duty requires all military personnel to be ready for service. Leaders have three types of duties; specified, directed and implied. It is a common sight in any part of the world where there is US military to find a US Garrison.

The contrasts are quite clear. Training for combat is tough and rigorous. Leaders are taught how to handle situations that will be the combat field and handling of soldiers. In the garrisons, training is scaled down and is conducted to ensure that the leaders are at par with the day to day operations in combat. Also, a leader from the garrison may find it easier said than done when putting in combat leadership. This arises since there is an added responsibility for a combat leader. A combat leader is responsible for solving tactical problems facing soldiers. The leader must also remain unruffled by such problems so that the soldiers also remain encouraged. Troops in garrison were a shoulder patch which has crossed lines while in combat the patch is not worn (Wong, Bliese & McGurk, 2003). A garrison is headed by a garrison commander who is a military officer. The commander will oversee management of installations and issues policies in the garrison according to army regulations. During combat times commissioned officers are at the helm. The most senior is a General then a lieutenant general, major general, brigadier general than other variations come into place. The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief of the army, navy and air force. When a garrison hosts a unit which is led by a general officer, the officer then takes over and becomes the commanding general for the garrison. The garrison commander then answers to the new general. A combat general may be found wearing several stars while the garrison commander wears one star.

The US army is greatly headed for garrison times with many soldiers being inactivated in recent times. Combat heads step down for garrison leaders to take over though their ranks are well recognized. Combat times have also reduced since the world is becoming a peaceful place.


Wong, L., Bliese, P., & McGurk, D. (2003). Military leadership: A context specific review. The Leadership Quarterly, 14(6), 657-692.

October 19, 2022

Management Military

Subject area:

Leadership Army Security

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