Henry H. “Hap” Arnold
Visionary leaders craft clear and compelling visions that motivate followers through a shared sense of direction. Unlike institutional leaders, who draw on managerial and administrative skills, visionary leaders must identify long-term objectives and maintain their organizations’ focus and momentum. By steadfastly pursuing deliberate objectives, leaders such as Arnold change the status quo and provide their organizations with control over their operating environments. Along with other pioneering aviators of the early twentieth century such as General Billy Mitchell, Arnold developed an appreciation for the potential role of air power in modern warfare. His vision was to create a massive, technically advanced air force that was organizationally independent of the army and thus operationally capable of strategic bombing campaigns. Research and development were central to Arnold’s conception of building and sustaining America’s air dominance, and he envisioned close and continuous collaboration between air force personnel and civilian scientists in academia and industry. Unlike other air power visionaries, Mitchell included, Arnold demonstrated considerable political skill to oversee the transformation of America’s air power. His leadership success was defined by the clear articulation of a comprehensive vision, an extensive knowledge of aeronautics and logistics, and a fierce resolve to achieve his objectives.
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