By Alex Licea and Harlan Kefalas
Whether it is flipping through the pages of military journals or reading articles on various military websites, we both notice one trend:
Many if not most of the pieces we read are written by officers, both active and retired.
Now, we appreciate and respect our officers for writing about great topics which foster meaningful discussions. However, the NCO perspective is lacking, especially when compared to our representation across the force.
By Regina Parker
The Army let me study abroad in China this year to deepen my understanding of international relations, but I have also learned quite a bit about the Army itself. Last week, for instance, I was riding a train through Tianjin when my Australian friend asked me to explain Mission Command after glancing at the article on my iPad screen titled “Mission command is not a software!” by Thomas Ricks in Foreign Policy. As I flipped through ADP 6-0 and ADRP 6-0 on my iPad and explained the doctrine, her two questions on the subject notably challenged my preconceptions.
By Alan Hastings
Recent debate among military professionals on the subjects of mission command and detailed command has highlighted a common misunderstanding about each’s role in tactical operations. While we cannot expect to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative without embracing the philosophy of mission command, it is not a panacea to every tactical problem leaders are likely to face. Operations often require detailed command and control in order to achieve the overwhelming effects on the enemy necessary to accomplish the mission. Thus, both mission command and detailed command provide value to the tactical leader during operations.
By Brad Hutchison
The troops were ready: SHARP, OPSEC, SAEDA and CTIP training complete; field sanitation, environmental compliance, and ammunition handling teams trained and identified; all Soldiers who would come within the 385 days of their exit from the Army before their return to home station complete with Soldier for Life; everyone current on dental and vaccinations. Every task highlighted green from their pre-deployment checklist to the commanding general’s “roll-out card”. For his abilities and competence, the company commander was rewarded with a battalion headquarters company command upon redeployment from the National Training Center (NTC). Yet, after 11 days of fighting Blackhorse in the unforgiving California desert, the company tallied only three destroyed enemy vehicles against their own forty eight lost.
As a recent Observer-Controller/Trainer at the NTC I spent months watching units’ defenses crumble like this and seeing their attacks stall against materially inferior forces. What caused the failures? All that readiness. We ask more of today’s units than ever before in the history of the Army, and it is harming
both the mission and our Soldiers.
“You are always practicing something, the question is,- What are you practicing”
-Martial Arts Sensei
By David Weart
The Importance of Deliberate Practice
The above quote, found in Susan Scott’s Fierce Leadership, challenges leaders to reflect on how their actions and behaviors contribute to their leadership narrative. Everything a leader does from the constructive actions of vision setting, decision-making, and resolving conflicts to destructive acts such as lacking empathy and micromanaging, serve as indicators to the quality of their leadership practice. Towards the end of his career, management guru, Peter Drucker said that effective management “demands doing certain-and fairly simple-things. It consists of a small number of practices” . Applying creative liberty by swapping out management, for leadership, Drucker’s adage still applies. If practicing leadership is vital to becoming an effective leader, the questions to answer then become what type of practices and how do I practice?
By Jason Gallardo
1.Build relationships- your ability to succeed will depend on your aptitude at working with your sister BNs, BDE, DIV, and post agencies.
You have been told throughout your career that relationships are everything, but it becomes even more vital as a field grade officer. If you try to go at it alone, you will fail. Be genuine and always be the first to help your peers when you can. This will make it far easier to ask for help when you need it. Remember that you are the face of your organization and how you interact on post can determine the reputation of your unit.
2. Your commander’s priorities are your priorities- but it is your duty to ensure those priorities are balanced with his/her boss’s priorities. Never let them run counter to each other.
Remember that command is very personal for your boss, and while you are 100% invested in your organization, this isn’t just a BN/SQDN fight. You are a part of larger organization and it is your duty to remain objective to ensure that you don’t let your boss counter any priorities or initiatives of your next higher boss.
By Joshua C. Bowen
This past holiday season, I had the good fortune of celebrating Christmas with my family at my sister’s house in Bremerton, WA. She is a Navy Lieutenant (O-3) assigned to an aircraft carrier, the USS John C. Stennis, at Naval Base Kitsap. On Christmas day, we joined her on her carrier to receive a full tour and eat lunch on her ship’s mess deck; it was the best military meal I’ve ever received in my seven year career. We met many of her Sailors, peers, and superior officers. Characterizing the experience as impressive is an understatement.
Beyond the incredible machinery and systems on that massive vessel, one of the most impressive aspects of my visit was being served Christmas dinner by the ship’s Captain (O-6), his wife and children, and the Command Master Chief (CMC, the ship’s senior enlisted leader). I was humbled to see these leaders not only taking time to spend the holiday with their Sailors, but also include their families. Furthermore, I read multiple accounts on Christmas of battalion command teams replacing their Soldiers on duty, company command teams delivering stockings to barracks, and multiple echelons of leaders checking on their formations during the holiday.
Over the holiday break, I had the opportunity to catch up with with Dr. Joshua Spodek, author of the upcoming book Leadership Step by Step and discuss emotional intelligence. The term gets thrown around a lot in the military, but I don’t think a lot of us understand what exactly it means and why it’s so important to leading successful organizations. So, I hope readers get as much out of this post as I did!
Telemachus and Mentor from Homer’s The Odyssey
By Chip Bircher
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
In the fall of 1915, a young lieutenant fresh out of West Point reported to Fort George Wright, Washington for his first assignment. He soon met Edwin Harding, an older more experienced lieutenant. Harding saw something in the new guy and invited him to join a small group he led in informal discussions of tactics, problem solving, military history, and professionalism. Armed with the wisdom gleaned from a career filled with mentorship, this young leader would go on to command a division, corps, army, and army group in World War II, rise to the rank of General of the Army, and culminate his career with two tours as the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While Edwin Harding would certainly not have taken credit for General Omar Nelson Bradley’s success, there can be no doubt the influence mentorship had on Omar Bradley – both the relationship with Harding and his enduring mentorship under the tutelage of General George C. Marshall.
By Joe Byerly
Every December I share a list of books that I’ve read throughout the year with the hope that readers will check them out and consider adding a title or two to their libraries. This list is a testament to my amazing network of friends, colleagues, and leaders who continually pass along book recommendations. They are without a doubt a critical component to my development as a professional. All the book covers below are hyperlinked, so you can click on the picture to learn more about them.