From the Green Notebook

Lead with the best version of yourself.

Moral Injury: A Primer

by Caleb Miller

Military professionals are relatively familiar with general mental health and PTSD; a newer concept, “moral injury,” has been growing in popularity for the past few decades among top leaders, counselors, psychologists and chaplains. Since the month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month and June is PTSD Awareness Month, I would like to highlight the concept of moral injury as it has emerged in the military lexicon by answering three questions.

What is it? Why does it matter? How can we address it?

Strength in Inclusion

by Jakob Hutter

A unique characteristic of the United States military is the diverse makeup of people and their ideas. 

When service members of different races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and other identities have a shared understanding and commitment to the same mission the team can perform at a higher level, are more likely to be innovative and adaptive to shifting circumstances, and more likely to achieve organizational outcomes. 

The Science and Art of Command

by Michael Everett

Does the Army practice Mission Command? Or Command and Control?

After the 2019 update to ADP 6-0 Mission Command, many young leaders are confused about the terms command and control and mission command.

The bottom line is this: Mission command is the United States Army’s approach to command and control (C2). It became clear that doctrine devoid of C2 is not the optimum way to communicate where mission command lies in the spectrum of warfighting. The 2019 version of ADP 6-0 makes it clear that mission command is meant to enable the command of troops and the control of operations. This vital piece of information clarifies the purpose of mission command and how to frame its implementation.

The Field Grade Leader and Domestic Operations: A Primer

 

by Rick Chersicla                                                                             

You’re in garrison, and you get the Warning Order (WARNO) for the Battalion (or Brigade) to deploy for a real world mission. Your organization, however, is not preparing to deploy overseas, or for an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise (EDRE), but is instead preparing to deploy and support civil authorities within the United States. 

The odds are that very few—or perhaps none—of the personnel in your organization has conducted Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) operations. You and your leadership may find yourselves asking “what is DSCA?” on the eve of an operation, and more importantly “how can we prepare for it?”

Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) is support provided by federal military forces (and DoD civilians, DoD contract personnel, and National Guard forces in a Title 32 status) in response to a request for assistance (RFA) submitted by civil authorities. DSCA operations can be in response to manmade or natural events and can range from hurricane relief, to supporting wildland fire fighting, to COVID-19 vaccination support at the request of FEMA. 

Given the frequency with which some Governors activate their National Guard for emergency response operations, many Guardsmen are well versed in DSCA operations. While Active Duty forces respond to domestic crises with less regularity than National Guard compatriots, they can still prepare for DSCA missions, rather than end up in an on-the-job-training situation when time could be of the essence.

Leading at the Crossroads of Experience and Personality


by Kyle Trottier and William Branch

Upon being selected to serve as the BCT Executive Officer (XO) and BCT Operations Officer (S3), William Branch and I held a series of sensing sessions with each Battalion Commander and Battalion Command Sergeant Major (CSM), peer battalion field grade officers, the brigade staff, key leaders on the division staff, and finally the brigade commander and CSM. Our intention was to understand each command team and their staff leaders to inform how we would best be able to enable the success of each battalion and the brigade as a whole throughout the duration of our time in these positions. Will and I developed a simple rubric to visualize and understand the experiences of commanders using Personnel, Supply, Equipment Readiness, Training (P, S, R, T) and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to understand personality characteristics. These two products allowed us to understand the previous experiences of each leader and ourselves, and inform where and how we as the brigade XO and S3 could best communicate with and enable that command team. This methodology also informed how we could best lead the brigade staff and our coordination with the division staff.

This article aims to share these lessons with field grade officers soon to assume Key Developmental (KD) positions and assist them by providing a way to quickly understand themselves and their commander. Ultimately, these lessons can help Soldiers prepare to lead their formations both effectively and adaptively.

The SFAB: A Lieutenants Experience

by Christopher Wilson  

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article was published in the Spring 2022 issue of Infantry magazine and has been reproduced with permission.

As I in-processed to the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade (2SFAB) at Ft. Bragg, NC last summer, I anticipated running into at least a few peer-lieutenants. It did not take many double-takes and greetings of “So you’re the LT,” before I realized that I was the singular variable in 2SFAB’s lieutenant-trial experiment. I immediately assumed that my relative inexperience would be a great weakness here, but I was wrong. SFAB is structured so that everyone adds a niche capability to the team, one’s unconventional experiences become his or her value-added. I was not even in the organization for two weeks when I walked-in on a battalion meeting at the tactical operation center during a live fire exercise. CSM Jacob D. Provence immediately turned to me and said, “Sir, I’m so glad you’re here. You know why? Because you’ve got fresh eyes. Tell us what you think about this [situation].” Now a whole room of senior or at least disparately experienced Soldiers stare at you expecting you to provide them with something worthwhile. That’s what it is to be an Advisor.

Urban Combat Fitness: Preparing Today for Tomorrow’s Fight

by Benjamin Phocas

Urban warfare is a costly endeavor with a broad litany of demands. Among these vitally important demands, one that requires months if not years of preparation, is physical fitness. 

The physical toll of combat has long been a known quantity. However, the nature of urban terrain means that warfare conducted within its environs presents more physical challenges compared to other environments. A useful starting point to better understand the demands of urban warfare is 9/11. Firefighters moved as fast as they could up 110 flights of stairs, wearing up to 75lbs of gear. Anyone who has replicated this grueling physical event as part of a memorial workout knows just how physically taxing this can be without gear or the added physical stressors of combat. In a modern urban battlefield, soldiers will be doing this with all the added stressors of combat, day after day, potentially week after week. 

It is time to seriously consider how we prepare soldiers for the physical challenges of urban warfare. 

A Leader’s Challenge: Sharing Information in a Low-Information Environment

by Joel Concannon

Leaders have always struggled to balance two virtues of communication: transparency and necessity. They strive to be open and honest with their team, while also controlling the quality of information. Doing one of those too much, or not doing either one enough, can degrade trust in an organization. In my experience, this balance is difficult, but possible. 

It requires asking two simple questions: is this information factual, and is this information necessary? If it does not fully meet both of those criteria, it should not be shared. If it cannot be shared, it is important for “ambiguity tolerance” to overcome the discomfort. Let’s take a look at why this is crucial.

A Tale of Two Majors: A Simple Way to Seek Shared Understanding

by Tom Dull and Matthew Schardt

It is the middle of the night and the Brigade is on schedule to uncoil and maneuver into the vast training area of the National Training Center (NTC) in just a few hours. Two Army Field Grades, Majors, are conducting one last condition check as the night battle staff works around them in the Brigade Tactical Operation Center. They are preparing for the imminent operation and  reviewing Friendly Forces Information Requirements (FFIR) such as ensuring the sustainment, fires, and collection assets in place for the next transition. 

The Army Needs More Introverted Leaders

by Aaron “Butch” Pucetas

After reading Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, I have reflected greatly on how the Army People First campaign can be improved. Up front, my recommendation is for the Army to make a conscious effort to promote introverted leaders in roughly equal amounts as their extroverted peers to bring balance and diversity of behavior to the organization. This may actually help the Army meet its People First ambitions, while also providing a more flexible, innovative, and effective fighting force.

Optimal Ignorance: A Filter for Intent-Based Leadership Above the Tactical Level

by Joel P. Gleason

Temptation of Details

Mission command philosophy is an intent-based leadership style that encourages commanders to eschew the overly controlling methodology of detailed command. The principles of mission command philosophy are all meant to free commanders from small decisions by creating independent agents on the battlefield who operate off of intent alone. 

Yet executing intent-based leadership often conflicts with a military culture that demands details. Perhaps even unnecessary details. Any organizational leader using an intent-based philosophy will suffer from a certain cognitive dissonance as they encounter detail-focused processes. Add in the volume of data available in a large organization and the temptation of details often distracts leaders from truly executing mission command.