Tactical and Technical

Intelligent Disobedience

By The Cove June 29, 2017


 

 

Throughout our time in Defence, there would no doubt be times where either we ourselves, or someone we know, has walked the fine line (or indeed jumped across it) of insubordination when frustrated by a particular decision being made, or direction being received. Reactions to perceived insubordination can vary from threats of disciplinary action, to a complete reversal of the decision and an apology issued to the recipient. But should we be encouraging disobedience to authority? Where is the line between having the moral courage to voice concerns, and being insubordinate or out of line?

This article by Professor Lloyd Clark via the UK Centre for Army Leadership provides a German example of the successful employment of intelligent disobedience on the battlefield. He also raises some of the challenges associated with overcoming an Army culture of reflex obedience. Read the article and let us know your thoughts on the following:

  • What are the advantages of intelligent disobedience?
  • What are the potential dangers of intelligent disobedience?
  • To what extent is intelligent disobedience compatible with Army culture, values and doctrine?
  • Does the concept of intelligent disobedience apply equally to both soldiers and officers, or are the implications different for each rank level?

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.



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