Lead with the best version of yourself.

Maintenance Tips from the Field for Junior Leaders

By Victor Littleton

The best professionals in any given field have a deep understanding of their profession, and they use that to mentor and lead the next generation of professionals. The best doctors seek out teaching positions and help create better doctors; the best lawyers oversee practices with numerous junior attorneys. The officer corps in the Army is set up differently; we place young and inexperienced men and women in positions of authority and ask them to lead the Soldiers of all ages and backgrounds without the experience to guide them.

This article’s goal is to assist platoon leaders, executive officers, maintenance officers, or staff officers gain an understanding of maintenance knowledge by providing three tips–listen, acquire knowledge, and seek development– which will help them become more effective maintenance leaders.

It’s Not About the Money: Retaining Through Inspiring

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

by Terron Wharton

It is no secret the Army is having recruiting and retention challenges. The Army’s primary response has been a tried and true one: money. Big bonuses to sign up and re-up are proven methods that have worked in the past. 

However, despite the $1.8 billion the Army budgeted for 2023 recruiting and retention efforts, exit surveys show that many reasons for leaving are not solvable by big checks. In short, soldiers may join for the money and benefits, but they do not stay for them. Instead, soldiers say the sense of purpose, the ability to realize their potential, and the shared camaraderie keep them in uniform. Simply put, people like feeling they are a part of something. Instead of focusing on financially incentivizing retention, professionals should focus on inspiring commitment through engaged, inspirational leadership.

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. 

AI for the Win: Four Game-Changing Resources for Your Organization

by Joshua Caballero

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. -Alvin Toffler

Innovation is no longer a choice but a necessity in today’s constantly evolving world, where organizations need to continuously improve to stay ahead of the competition. The Army, with its level of responsibilities and complexity, is no exception to this rule. To thrive in this environment, our enterprise needs to embrace innovation, and adopt the latest tools and best practices. Artificial intelligence (AI), one of the most powerful tools available for driving innovation, is transforming the way organizations operate. 

Today, we will explore four AI tools that the Army can use to automate and streamline tasks, gain new insights from data, and create new products. By embracing AI and other cutting-edge technologies, our organizations can become true innovation leaders and build the military of the future – one that is more efficient, effective, and requirements-centric. 

The Importance of Property Accountability and Readiness

by Jakob Hutter

From helmets to Humvees, property accountability is a critical aspect of sustaining operational readiness. Property accountability refers to an organization’s ability to effectively track, manage, and report on equipment and assets. At the company level and below, leaders and subordinates are crucial in being good stewards to care for the property entrusted to them to execute missions and maintain readiness. The following article will explore why property accountability is important and how leaders can maintain and sustain it to optimize their readiness.

The Department of Defense policy states that all persons entrusted with the management of government property are expected to possess and demonstrate a high level of competency in property management, while adhering to ethical standards. They are also responsible for the appropriate use, care, physical protection, and disposal of all government property in accordance with policies and procedures. Additionally, this responsibility includes the appropriate disposition of government property, following applicable laws and regulations. For the Army, the property accountability policies are found in Army Regulation (AR) 735-5 and AR 710-2.

4 Types of Officers; and How to Develop Yourself and Others

By Joel Smith 

The Four Types of Officers

As a young officer I read German General Kurt Von Hammerstein-Equord’s four officer categories; they are 1) the clever, 2) the industrious, 3) the lazy, and 4) the stupid.

“I divide my officers into four classes as follows: the clever, the industrious, the lazy, and the stupid. Each officer always possesses two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious I appoint to the General Staff. Use can, under certain circumstances, be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy qualifies for the highest leadership posts. He has the requisite nerves and the mental clarity for difficult decisions. But whoever is stupid and industrious must be got rid of, for he is too dangerous.” (Von Hammerstein, 1933)

“You can use the brilliant but lazy man as a strategist, a brilliant but energetic man as a Chief of Staff, but God help you with a dumb but energetic man.” (Gen Douglas McArthur)

 By swapping out a few terms for contemporary ones, we get four base archetypes:

Lazy and dumb: Doesn’t do much, but doesn’t cause problems, can be of use under certain circumstances. Needs supervision and you can trust them with simple tasks.

Lazy and intelligent: Has the intellect necessary to make strategic decisions, and doesn’t expel too much energy on inconsequential issues.  They focus their energy on gaining efficiency, saving cost, and reducing risk over the long-term.

Hardworking and dumb: Not self-aware, doesn’t know what they don’t know, and won’t ask for directions. They actively make things worse. These people can be quite affable and charming. They often ‘talk a big game’ but can’t deliver, they are dangerous.

Hardworking and intelligent: Tackles problems, relentless, does not accept defeat. This type, when armed with commander’s intent and end state, will find a way to solve any problem necessary to achieve results.

You Are Your Best Career Manager

by  Brandon Eans

As a career manager, I think daily about the advice my former First Sergeant offered me over eight years ago: “You are your best career manager”. 

I was a First Lieutenant serving as an Executive Officer for a Field Artillery Battery. At the end of the workday, I would occasionally sit with the First Sergeant in his office where we would discuss the operations of the Battery. As a young officer, I valued this time as it was an opportunity to gain mentorship from the most senior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) within the Battery. On this particular day, my First Sergeant voiced his frustration on certain NCOs who were not properly managing or maintaining their records in preparation for an upcoming promotion board. It was here that he gave the simple, yet profound, advice that I would use to guide my own career and as a cornerstone for my mentorship philosophy. It drove me to actively manage my own career, update my Officer Record Brief (ORB), and initiated thoughts of how I hoped to serve in the Army. 

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 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.

Lessons From the Dark Side: Leadership by Vader

by Eric Shockley

The presentation with the Emperor had not gone well. Progress on the completion of the Death Star had been slow.  Delays, complications with contractors, hiring challenges, and the ongoing war with the Rebel Alliance had all negatively impacted the site becoming fully operational. The Emperor had honed in on every task with a Red completion status, quizzing Vader relentlessly for over six hours. He’d been on the job for all of two days. As he let out a slow sigh, he remembered that this was the life, the constant demands simply a given now that he was a senior leader.