Schwarzkopf Essay, Research Paper

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf , was virtually unknown to the vast majority of

the American public until the out break of the Gulf War. Norman Schwarzkopf, also

known as “Stormin Norman” and “the Bear” was a career soldier. Having served two

tours in Vietnam, which he volunteered for both, his combat experience and leadership

skills proved essential not only to winning Operation Desert Storm, but maintaining the

multinational coalition.

The most noteworthy portion of his career was from 1988-1991 when he served

as the Commander in Chief, United States Central Command. It was during this time that

the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait demanded immediate American action. Schwarzkopf’s

command ultimately responded with the largest US deployment since the Vietnam War,

including portions of the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps as well as units from dozens

of nations around the world. The dazzling success of Operation Desert Shield/Desert

Storm marked what former President George Bush hailed as “the beginning of new era of

internationalism” as the US seeks to promote international order in the post-Cold War

world. After retiring, Schwarzkopf received the Presidential Medal of Freedom as well as

many honors, degrees, and decorations from around the world.

His views of war were shaped by his combat experiences inside Vietnam. In his

press conferences, he has avoided talking about “kill ratios” and “body counts,” seeking to

avoid turning Desert Storm into a numbers battle. His personal style was well-liked by the

troops and the American public.

After reading General Schwarzkopf’s autobiography “It Doesn’t Take A Hero”,

I realized that he was not just another war hero. His strong sense of duty, honor, and

respect for other people and cultures, made him a successful leader. It is these core values

that could be applied be managers of all types of organizations, and make them successful


Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf


Born August 22, 1934 in Trenton, New Jersey. Married former Brenda Holsinger.

Three children: Cynthia, Jessica, Christian


–B.S. in military science, U.S. Military Academy, 1956. –Commissioned 2nd

Lieutenant, 1956. –M.S. in mechanical science, University of Southern California, 1964.

–Two tours of duty, Vietnam. –Deputy Director, Operation URGENT FURY

(Grenada Invasion), 1983. –Commanding General, I Corps, Fort Lewis, 1986-87.

–Awarded fourth-star in 1988. –Commander of CENTCOM (Middle East, SW Asia,

NE Africa Command), 1988-1991.

While Norman Schwarzkopf attended West Point, he received his first taste of

leadership. He was promoted to a cadet Captain and served as a company commander.

Through the use of delegation he empowered his subordinates to complete any task that

needed accomplished. He empowered according to each persons strengths. When this

type of empowerment is utilized in civilian organizations, it proves very successful.

Through the use of empowerment, the task normally gets accomplished and the people get

a sense of fulfillment and responsibility. This not only increases responsibility but improves

morale in both military and civilian organizations.

During Norman Schwarzkopf’s first tour in Vietnam, he was assigned as an

advisor to the Vietnamese Airborne Brigade. Schwarzkopf’s main responsibility was to go

out on maneuvers with the Vietnamese, and when the need for artillery or air support was

needed he called in the orders. He would provide the American forces with there location

so that the artillery and air support would hit the enemy and not them. He also would

coordinate the medavac and supply helicopters for there support. He soon learned that

this Vietnamese Brigade consisted of dedicated and determined people. On his first night

in the jungle he was told by Captain Hop, the chief of operations for the task force he was

assigned, “You advisors come here and fight, but after a year you can go back to your

peaceful homes. But this is our home and we’re fighting for our survival.”

On Schwarzkopf’s second mission with the Vietnamese, they had orders to drive

the Vietcong away from a South Vietnamese special forces camp called Duc Co. The

orders looked fine and was impressed that it appeared that all was thought of. During the

preparation for the mission, he checked on the air support, there was none. He then

checked on the artillery, again there was no support. What had first appeared to be a fine

order now appeared suicidal. With the Vietnamese Battalion Commander, Major Nghi, at

his side Schwarzkopf requested a forty-eight hour delay in the operation from General

Vinh Loc, the commander of II Corps of the South Vietnamese army. After heated

arguments it was agreed that a forty-eight hour was in order. During the operation the

Vietnamese sustained casualties, Schwarzkopf insisted that an American helicopter pilot

transport the bodies out of the area. It took some convinced but the pilot agreed.

These two acts of looking out for the best interests of the Vietnamese Battalion

gained him respect with the Vietnamese soldiers. Throughout the rest of his first tour of

duty in Vietnam, this mutual trust and respect, prove crucial to accomplish all future


Organizations working in international business, can learn from General

Schwarzkopf’s actions. By gaining the respect of your international partners is crucial in

maintaining good business practices. An understanding of another groups culture is

another step in establishing good business relations. If conducting international business in

a global economy is needed for an organization, these steps need taken.

In July of 1988, Norman Schwarzkopf accepted the position of Commander

Central Command. General received his four star on November 18, 1988 and took over

Central Command on November 23, headquarters in Tampa, Florida. General

Schwarzkopf wasted no time in getting adjusted to the new command. With-in two weeks

of taking his new command he set off to visit the leaders of the Middle East Nations.

General Schwarzkopf established good relationships with these leaders and received an

understanding of there military concerns. General Schwarzkopf soon found himself in

front of the Senate Armed Services Committee urging them to ease restrictions on arms

sales to the Arab moderate countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. He did not get very

far, but the minor concessions he did get helped boost his credibility with these countries.

General Schwarzkopf, even before the beginning of the Gulf War, showed he had

the insight on the importance of this region of the world. The Middle East to this day has

the vast majority of the worlds oil. If this region became unstable not only would the

supply of oil become scarce, but the entire world economy could be shaken tremendously.

By maintaining good foreign relations in this region, was crucial for the future deployment

of U.S. Armed Forces.

A true test of General Schwarzkopf’s leadership came when Saddam Hussein

invaded Kuwait. In knowing the Arab culture, no one including the other Arab nations

thought that Iraq, an Arab nation, would attack another Arab nation. In July of 1990, Iraq

invaded Kuwait and a true crisis began. General Schwarzkopf had an aggressive Saddam

Hussein with an army of close to one million troops and half of them less than two

hundred miles from Saudi Arabia. Within four days after the invasion of Kuwait, General

Schwarzkopf had assembled his staff, briefed the President on what was needed to defend

Saudi Arabia and what may be needed to go on the offensive against Iraq. By the end of

the first week after the invasion, General Schwarzkopf had a commitment of military

troops to the defense of Saudi Arabia by the U.S. President and had meet with King Fahd

of Saudi Arabia. King Fahd agreed to the deployment of American troops and weapons

for the defense of Saudi Arabia at this meeting.

August 7, 1990 was the official beginning of Desert Shield. Within 161 days

General Schwarzkopf had coordinated the largest deployment of U.S. Armed Forces

since the Vietnam War. This force build up was not only to defend but now to liberate


During this short period of time General Schwartkopf overcome many obstacles.

One obstacle was sustaining the Saudi Arabia sovereignty. Saudi Arabia being Muslim in

religion and culture is a very different society than that of the United States. General

Schwarzkopf went to great lengths to ensure that the Saudi’s were not offended by the

American’s. Minor problems occurred, but for the most part the American troops

understood they were there to perform a mission and then go home. Another obstacle was

the Arab collation forces. Syria had reservations of being the front force in attacking Iraq,

because Iraq was an Arab nation. General Schwarzkopf compromised with Syria and used

their forces as a back-up to the Egyptian forces.

Desert Storm official began on January 17, 1991 and within 45 days, Iraq was

decisively beaten, Kuwait was liberated, and Prisoners of War exchanged.

Desert Shield/Storm will most likely be written in history books as a short skirmish

in the Middle East that was won by the United States and a coalition on allied armies.

When someone writes down the events of this war, I hope they not just mention General

Schwarzkopf as the Commander. I hope they include that he was resourceful leader, fair

and respectful to his subordinates, and culturally sensitive to his host nation. These values

are not just for Generals they are for everyone.

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