by Andrew J. Papathanasiou
No one who has earned one of the Army’s coveted expert badges (EIB, ESB, & EFMB) wants to ever have to relive that week of mental stress again.
But should they have to?
by Kristen Griest
One of the most critical professional relationships in the Army is the one between officer and NCO command team counterparts. Often described as a marriage, the dynamic of a command team relationship sets the tone for the entire organization for 18-24 months, whether at the platoon or division level. However, despite the importance of this relationship, the Army does not make any effort to align officers and NCOs based on their personal compatibility. While leaders are expected to work well with everyone, we all know what it feels like to meet someone with whom we just seem to “click” – or clash. For something as important as command team alignment, the Army should attempt to orchestrate these complementary relationships and avoid the incompatible ones, both of which are currently left to chance. Aligning counterparts by compatible personalities will maximize personal growth for individuals, increase cohesion and effectiveness of command teams, and improve the overall quality of life for everyone in the unit. Simply put, every person has a personality, and it should be taken into consideration in team-building if we really want to put people first.
by Brandon Shroyer
An ancient proverb says “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” As 21st Century military leaders serving in times of great power competition, the citizens of the United States depend on us to go farther. Today, there are thousands of self-help books, academic articles, and hours of podcasts dedicated to being a better leader. Spoiler Alert – none of these resources worth picking up will tell you leadership is easy and give you “the answer”. Further, I’ve discovered that you don’t always get to be the leader you want to be but rather the one your service members need you to be. I also don’t believe your character is innate or set in stone. Rather, research shows that you can change with conscious and focused habitual actions. Thus, I offer four specific character traits that I found especially important as the commander of the 40th Airlift Squadron. What follows are concrete ways to improve them.
by Jakob Hutter
Note taking may seem like a simple task of processing information and writing down ideas, thoughts, and other important information any time. However, it earnestly takes skill, time, and effort to be able to later retrieve this information and use it for impactful decision-making requirements or effective communication. Despite the digital methods of note taking available, pen and paper continues to serve humanity well.
Over the last few years, and largely through trial and error, I finally found a system of journaling that allows me to plan, track, and organize my life. This system, commonly known as Bullet Journaling, utilizes bullet points (hence the name) as its main structure. Created by digital product designer and author Ryder Carroll, the Bullet Journal method is an efficient way to track the past, organize the present, and plan the future.
by Tom Dull
The military community stands apart from others due to its emphasis on inclusion and acceptance.
While small in population, the military community is highly efficient and effective in operation; its ability to find common ground to accomplish a mission is impressive. Steeped in service and practice, our military community does not tolerate wrong and performs right on behalf of our nation. What separates the military community from other organizations and establishments are the people that form the community and specifically the assurance these people individually dedicate themselves to by giving their word through their oath of office.
by Ron Sprang
Eleven years ago I wrote an article in the middle of one of the greatest trials of my life, A Silent Warrior’s Struggle: PTSD and Leader Resiliency. I wanted to follow up on that experience, address the positive change in Army culture when it comes to mental health, and offer encouragement to those that have PTSD and others who are facing a setback in life. No matter how others may try to define you as a failure, failure is never final. Mistakes are never unforgivable. We fail more often than we succeed. We have more small failures than we have large successes in our lives.
It gives me a lot of encouragement that in the baseball hall of fame, no one has ever batted 1.000, .500, or even .400. George Brett, one of my childhood heroes, had a .305 career batting average. He struck out more than he hit.
by Brennan Deveraux & Katie Haapala
For the past few years, the Army has prioritized a holistic approach to health and fitness, epitomized by the service’s overhaul of its physical fitness test. However, the Army’s establishment of its new Combat Fitness Test, and the subsequent controversy with implementation and equipment, has overshadowed other critical initiatives. One of the most pressing of these is the Army Body Composition Program (ABCP) assessment, sparked by the combination of complaints concerning the effectiveness of the tape test, the relevance of a dated height-weight chart, and the potential for discrimination.
While many authors have written on the ABCP, often challenging the service to update its body fat testing methods, an assessment of the program’s fundamental purpose is missing from the conversation.
Simply stated, why does the Army care about a Soldier’s body fat percentage?
While the answer to this question may seem obvious, an examination of the ABCP’s justifications and human costs highlights a need to reimagine the program.
by Kevin Sandell
Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series focused on improving your unit’s communication efforts through your Public Affairs Office. The second part of this series will be published later this spring.
An on-post training accident occurs involving your unit’s Soldiers, and now the local news media are calling – what do you do and who do you contact? You need talking points and messaging for the rollout of the Army’s new sexual harassment policy – who do you contact? Your unit just received an accolade from an Army Senior Leader – how do you get the word out and promote your team?
Public Affairs Officers and NCOs are professionally-trained to appropriately respond to these types of scenarios, and face them daily. As experts in public information, command information, and community relations, your unit’s PAO should be the first resource to synchronize your unit’s communication efforts. Additionally, as seen in recent overseas contingency events, providing credible, accurate, and timely information is the best way to counter mis- and disinformation and propaganda, which can lead to deterred competitors and defeated adversaries.
by Jakob Hutter
Our world is diverse and ever changing. As such, organizational leaders must be able to effectively deal with changes that can influence the organization’s current systems and processes.
For the Army, developing leaders involves a holistic, comprehensive, and purposeful group of activities where success stems from a culture of developing others using daily opportunities to learn and teach. As a current National Guard Company Commander, developing subordinate leaders can be challenging due to limited daily interactions, time constraints during drill weekends, and annual training events. In this effort, I will share my perspective on leadership development and how I try to challenge and develop my subordinate leaders to improve each day as people and Soldiers.
by Jay Carmody
The game of chess has experienced a resurgence in the United States, due in large part to popular tv series and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic driving people to board games. As the civilian world rediscovers chess, it is time that military leaders take a fresh look at the oldest war game. When viewed through social, historical, and strategic perspectives, chess demonstrates its value as both a fun and relevant hobby for service members of all ranks.
by Thang Q. Tran
It is an exciting time of the year as Assignment Officers and Detailers notify individuals of their upcoming assignments. A select group of field grade officers from across the Department of Defense will get assigned to a position listed on the Joint Duty Assignment List (JDAL) within a joint organization. If you are one of those individuals, enroll and complete Phase II of Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) through the Joint and Combined Warfighting School (JCWS) at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) prior to showing up to your next assignment.
by Henoch Gassner
A relatively late addition to the Brigade Combat Team (BCT), the Resource Management (RM) staff, or S-8, enables the brigade commander to make informed decisions on how to maximize lethality by executing their budget. Although the S-8 is a brigade asset, it supports all subordinate echelons. From buying a platoon’s engine blocks during a Combat Training Center (CTC) rotation to resourcing battalion level logistic support agreements with security cooperation partners, the S-8 team empowers key stakeholders by resourcing valid requirements in support of mission success. Like all good staff, the S-8 provides essential mission analysis and various courses of actions (COA) to get our commanders to “Yes.”
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