This is the continuous development of an inner disposition and aspiration for excellence in service to something greater than oneself that exhibits itself through purposeful, principled and disciplined dedication to outward actions that embody the highest ideals expressed in the Navy ethic and core values.
As honorable servants to the Nation, Navy experts, and stewards of the Profession, Navy professionals are granted autonomy and entrusted by the American people to make discretionary judgment on their behalf. Guided by the Navy Ethic, they make decisions accepting prudent risk and take action with disciplined initiative under mission command. Military expertise enables Navy professionals to use their discretionary judgment daily to make the right decisions and take the right actions in complex situations that can mean life or death. Education, training, and experience in the four fields of expert knowledge enables Navy leaders to exercise discretionary judgments without close supervision.
The Navy Ethic guides Sailors’ and Navy Civilians’ discretionary judgments. When applying military expertise, Navy professionals repetitively make discretionary judgments, often with high moral implications and consequences. Sailors or Navy Civilians practice discretionary judgment daily guided by the moral principles of the Navy Ethic. The Navy Ethic guides discretionary judgment. The philosophy of mission command supports the Navy professional’s use of discretionary judgment by providing the common understanding of vision and intent that is necessary to make decisions accepting prudent risk and accomplishing the mission in the right way.
Lyons, Don. How to Be a Good Leader? Carry the Luggage. Publisher, 20 May 2017, Linkedin, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-good-leader-carry-luggage-dan-lyons?trk=portfolio_article-card_title. Accessed 3 May 2018.
In the above-referenced article, the author looks at the merit of studying how the brain and nervous system function to better prepare military leaders to make effective decisions. The author initially describes "brain basics" and two specific areas of the brain, namely, the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. Under threat, the limbic system, made up of four subsystems, is initially engaged.
Emulating raw emotion and the "flight or fight," the limbic system often reflexively responds. Physiologically, this minimizes blood flow and glucose to other areas of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, where more rationale, abstract, and complex thought and decision making occurs. In order for military leaders to make effective, real-time decisions on the battlefield, the author makes the case they must learn how to muffle their limbic systems while amplifying and fully engaging their prefrontal cortex.
The author defines the levels of military leadership he is referring to in this article, ranging from the platoon leader and platoon sergeant to the company-level commander and battalion-level commander. He offers several strategies to control the effect of emotional energy and improve cognition. As part of this, the author emphasizes the importance of isolating an effective decision-making environment, outside of the tactical situation.
Additionally, the author says that often the most effective decisions are "out of the box," where military leaders apply what they know to unfamiliar contexts. He outlines a model by author David Rock, Your Brain at Work, of five basic mental processes military leaders should follow for cognitive battle decision-making. To these five, he adds a sixth called personalizing, in which he encourages leaders to maintain their own personality and apply their own unique set of expertise to the situation.
The author explains that it is incumbent upon all military leaders to develop their own repertoire or "database of professional knowledge that will assist them in stressful situations." Finally, the author reiterates that this process of engaging the rationale mind in the heat of battle is difficult and possibly one of the most sophisticated processes that humans can perform. He states that "knowing how to think could be a combat leader’s most valuable tool."
Freakley, Benjamin C. "What Combat Leaders Need to Know About Neuroscience." The Military Leader, 1 December 2015. Accessed 13 June 2018.