Lead with the best version of yourself.

Rise to the Level of Creativity: Assessments from Large-Scale Combat Operations

by Daniel R. DeNeve, Kevin J. Quigley, & Larry Kay

Army units at every echelon struggle to meet mission and training requirements due to lack of creativity, critical thought, and disciplined initiative. While repetition and trauma facilitate tactical and technical competence in training, they do not help units overcome these shortcomings. As an Army, we often practice singular solutions for singular problems. For a division-level exercise, this means that we only experience one way to do a wet gap crossing. At the Company level, we practice a singular way to conduct a combined arms breach. Yet, many of the great tactical and strategic victories in warfare have come from daring innovation. From scaling the cliffs of Abraham to the cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc, from the landing at Incheon, to the Anbar Awakening, some of our greatest victories have worked outside of the traditional confines of doctrinal lessons. 

Fight The Tank! A Practical Lesson in Army Leadership

by Marc E. “Dewey” Boberg, Ed.D. 

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” – John Wooden

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Shortly after commissioning and attending the Armor Officer Basic Course (now ABOLC) I reported to Fort Hood, Texas. I was quickly assigned to the 1/12 Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, where I became an M1A1 tank platoon leader in 3rd Platoon, D Company. All my Soldiers and NCOs were veterans of the first Gulf War—I literally was the only one without combat experience. My platoon sergeant was Sergeant First Class Anthony Garcia. SFC Garcia was a tank Master Gunner with more than 17 years of experience. He would become the most influential person in my training especially as it pertains to understanding tanks and practical lessons in Army leadership.

Lessons from Large Scale Combat Operations, Part III

by Larry Kay, Josh Cosmos, Dan DeNeve, Nicole Courtney, Jeremy Mounticure

Editor’s Note: In this final article of our three-part series, the authors will describe the staff’s attempt to create “decision space” for the commanding general, while also highlighting where they fell short in planning and execution.

The term “decision space” is so frequently used that you would assume it is defined in doctrine, but it is not. Ultimately, they think it best to reference the conventional wisdom of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, who opined on the definition of obscenity during Jacobellis v. Ohio in 1964, “…I know it when I see it…” While we do our best to define decision space below, each commander (and staff) will likely “know it when they see it.”

Lessons from Large Scale Combat Operations, Part II

by Larry Kay, Josh Cosmos, Dan DeNeve, Nicole Courtney, Jeremy Mounticure

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a three-part article, stay tuned for the final part tomorrow. In the previous article, the authors discussed the importance of aligning planning with targeting as well as illustrating a sense-making model which can inform when and why a staff should adjust their planning horizon. In this next post, they aim to explain the importance of assessment-driven planning, finding flexibility in a battle rhythm, and the natural tension between deception, dilemmas, and risk.

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.

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.

Faithful and True: Lessons Learned at Combined Resolve XVI

by Samuel “Joe” Nirenberg

During the past nine months, I was fortunate to command 1-5 FA while it served as a part of the rotational ABCT in support of Atlantic Resolve. Up front, I will say that the Atlantic Resolve mission allows units to build readiness. Additionally, when coupled with a Combat Training Center (CTC) rotation, the training provided does an excellent job of replicating the challenges that brigade combat teams will face in the European theater. 

The Top 10 Things I Learned as a Battalion Commander at the National Training Center

by Ethan Olberding

Editor’s Note: Over the next week, we will be running a series of articles from 4-70 AR on their lessons learned at the National Training Center (NTC). Each article is unique in that it will present a different perspective from the organization’s key leaders and staff members. Our hope is that these articles will help prepare you for success in your current or future roles in your organization. 

I recently completed a National Training Center (NTC) rotation at Fort Irwin, California as the battalion commander of 4-70 AR, 1st ABCT, 1st AD. I personally learned several lessons that I am still reviewing to inform future training plans and leader development strategies. In the interest of sharing information and creating professional dialogue, please see below for the Top 10 Things I learned through this experience. I hope these points generate conversation and useful leader discussions. 

Digital Dunkirk: Lessons Learned

Digital Dunkirk: Lessons Learned

On August 15, 2021, I doom-scrolled through social media feeds that tracked Kabul’s fall. By August 31, my phone had thousands of messages from hundreds of people I didn’t know two weeks before, and we’d helped some Afghan allies leave Afghanistan.

The in-between emphatically wasn’t me. It was (a) a coalition of ad-hoc networks that sprang into existence to help Afghans access (b) the herculean DoD/DoS evacuation effort in Kabul. I was on the grassroots side of things—a desk jockey armed with social media and email.