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
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.