• Air Force Vistors at DMZ.

    Air Force Vistors at DMZ. (Daren Reehl AF Photo)

  • Practical Guide to Negotiating in the Military

    Click above to see the Practical Guide.

  • Click above to visit Practical Guide to Negotiation Online

Welcome to the Air Force Negotiation Center of Excellence (NCE) website. This NCE provides this site to inform you on the art and science of negotiation. Negotiation is a skill you use every day whether as an engagement tool of today's military leaders or as a part of a problem solving process. Skillful negotiation is a proven positive tool for success. For more information on the NCE's proven record of education, training, and research please view our mission brief. Our goal is to make you successful in current and future negotiations.

You are here for a reason. You may have a problem with a current negotiation. You may be deploying and will be negotiating with coalition and host-nation partners. You may be conducting research on negotiation. You may be working on your education. For whatever reason, the center's job is to assist you.

As an example, if you are looking for resources to help with an ongoing or potential negotiation in the operational environment starts with warrior resources . This link provides a current guide and checklist on cooperative negotiation strategy. The rest of the website is designed in a similar fashion. If you cannot find the information you are looking for contact us and we will assist you.

We also have a feedback loop to access our corporate email account. We will respond in a timely manner. We are always asking for critiques of our materials, courseware, and website. Please take a minute to share any stories of how you used negotiation to succeed (or even fail) in your mission.

Good luck - The NCE faculty and staff

What is Negotiation?
"A deliberate process for two or more people or groups to solve a difference or problem"
Dr. Stef Eisen, 31 March 2011

ne-go-ti-a-tion - noun, ne.go.ti.ate - verb
"Negotiation is a process whereby two persons or groups strive to reach agreement on issues or courses of action where there is some degree of difference in interest, goals, values or beliefs. The job of the negotiator is to build credibility with the "other side," find some common ground (shared interests), learn the opposing position, and share information that will persuade the "other side" to agree to an outcome."

National Defense University Strategic Leadership and Decision Making

Bookshelves are full of volumes on negotiation. They are filled with stories and examples of how we use negotiation each day. Negotiation is a fact of daily life using many different styles and strategies. We negotiate at home, in business, when shopping for expensive consumer items, and during strategic, operational and tactical military missions.

Our bottom-line mission is to help you learn to negotiate better. Step one is to read the NCE's Practical Guide. This is our primary reference on the art and science of negotiation.

Why Negotiate in the Military?
Leaders are charged with mission accomplishment working with people they have no direct authority over.
In the past, Military education and training did not emphasize negotiation as a leadership and management tool. Leaders did use negotiation, but traditionally looked to application of power for mission success. Military leaders were and are also quick to use legitimate authority to solve problems. We have led, fought, and trained in this manner for years.

Military leader still have the ability to apply force, but is limited by situation, mission, or rules-of-engagement. On an average day, an operational commander may have a large span-of-responsibility with a very limited span-of control. Necessary forces now available to the commander may reach across the host-nation, international coalitions, governmental civilian agencies, non-governmental agencies, etc. Your job, however, is to convince these groups to apply their tools when you have no direct authority over their actions. Negotiation will be a key skill to successfully complete your mission or task.

Negotiation will not be just an operational skill. As resources shrink, military leaders will negotiate each day. Just sitting down with your peers allocate training resources may require intense internal and external negotiations. You might bargain proposals both up and down the chain-of-command to balance resources and time to meet your units training objectives while also negotiating with outside agencies to find training locations and resources. Now add the Joint community to this process and you are now with cross-cultural issues. Studying negotiation techniques and skills will help you prepare for success.

How can I improve?
The Air Force has a world-class ability to train and prepare Airmen for their specific operational mission. This effective and proven training and education process prepares each Airman to be part of the Joint war fighting team. The best way to improve negotiating skills is to study and train (including live and virtual practical exercises if possible). As always, learning on-the-job while working with a successful negotiation mentor will only improve your success. The first step in preparing yourself to become a better negotiator is to spend time answering a few questions:

1. Why did I come to this website?
- What is your specific situation? Are you deploying? Do you want to improve your negotiation skills? Are you having a specific negotiation problem?
2. What is my interest?
- Negotiation is a basic skill set that has many subareas including alternative dispute resolution. What are you looking for?
3. What is my goal?
- Is your requirement for an operational mission, acquisition, personnel issues, etc?
4. How much time do I have?
- Your time constraints and current location will determine available resources. This website can provide a primer and worksheet to help or you can take a longer term look at negotiation education.
5. How much funding can I devote to negotiation training?
- All the downloadable resources on this website are free. Any other expenses, such as travel to negotiation training, would be funded at the unit level. If you need specific help than contact the NCE for assistance - contact us.

Quick Tips
Air Force General Counsel ADR
The NCE Partners with the Air Force General Counsel Alternative Dispute Resolution Division. Click here to access the Air Force Mediation Compendium.
NCE One Stop Shop
Best single and shortest guide to negotiation issues