Leadership Quiz

1. Does your plan require a Hero to make it work? A “Hero” is defined as one person, and one person only, whose action creates success. 2. Does your plan resemble the business plan presented by the Underpants Gnomes? 3. Does your plan require your competitor to play nicely? 4. Does your plan require critical thinking skills? If you answered yes to any or all of these, you have a future in our State Department, where Miracles exist, and America is always a loser! Not that you’ll ever know, once the internet is gone and you’ll only have MSNBC for […]

Ethical leadership

My last post endeavored to open up the general topic of ethical leadership by looking for a reasonable, rational base for ethical behavior. The three types of ethical frameworks offered are virtue-based, rules-based, and outcome-based. In a discussion of these, Mike_B73 offered up a treatise by Profesor Challons, Ph.D. that had some good points but still lacked something, besides my understanding. I’m still reading his argument against effects-based (outcome-based) leadership. Today, General Officers are ruled by rules, and measured by outcome. This is a recipe for disaster which doesn’t even factor in the variable of ‘what is legal today will be made […]

Wanted: an ethical construct for today’s military leaders

Here on Op-For, whenever the subject of leadership comes up, we applaud those leaders who are technically capable of 1) leading; and 2) not jumping into scandal and disrepute. The technical skills we get. Personality types we get. But what causes so much of our discussion is the absence of ethics demonstrated by the subjects of our posts. The germ for this post was the observation ‘we are removing virtue as demonstrated by ethics form our armed forces – the same thing the Nazis and Communists did to create terribly efficient, vastly indifferent soldiers who murdered on orders, on initiative, and for fun;’ and […]

“Wish I had gone to VMI”

What sealed the deal for me in deciding to attend VMI was a crusty old Ranger with a CIB from tour in Vietnam. “This place [referring to the I] reminds me of the Point in 1963.” R. M. Hollander’s comment reminded me of a time when being from VMI was the goal, along with Lieutenent’s bars. We laughed, some of us bitterly, as our Cadre Corporals read an article about how brutal life was for West Point’s Plebes, forced to do 10 pushups at a time, and given breaks (poor, poor Plebes). It is good to be from VMI, even when the […]

Fish rot from the head: Senior Officers Behaving Badly

Earlier today Townie directed us to an article praising Commandant of the Marine Corps General Dunford. It was good to see the general performing the physical fitness test. From the looks of things, being a leader AND a flag officer are becoming mutually exclusive. From XBradTC: If naval officers were guilty of bribery or other misconduct, by all means, haul them in front of a court martial or a federal court. But do not allow the process to become the punishment, particularly when that process is fouling the duties of others with no direct connection to the scandal. [emphasis added by author] […]

Rules for Leading

Very interesting article over at Military Times on exceptional leaders.  The writer is a recently retired Air Force Brigadier General, writing about what he was taught by his last boss in the military, General Joseph Dunford.  When you follow the link, I was particularly struck by the fact that as Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, General Dunford allowed himself to be pictured taking the Combat Physical Fitness test.  That is leadership by example.

The most critical tool for training leaders

Saint Augustine wrote The City of God Against the Pagans. In this philosophical work, the Saint discussed time as subjective to the mind and viewed as three presents: the presents of past, current, and future. The Present of the Past is memory. The Present of the Current is sight. The Present of the Future is expectation. All three presents exist now in the moment and are in that way connected. In gunnery, I had the memory of failing to pass the test to compute Concurrent Met the first time I took it. I had the memory of re-taking and passing the test, […]

Leadership Failure

This article is very disturbing. In the late 1970’s my first assignment was as a training officer (Executive Officer XO) and later Company Commander of a Basic Training Company. I learned very quickly that being associated with a Basic Training Company was not a 9 to 5 job. Clearly there were leadership lapses, as a Training Officer I pulled Staff Duty Officer, it was an all night affair, and you were expected to go through the Brigade Area once before midnight and once after. I always made it a point to check in on one or two Charge of Quarters […]

“[W]e are in need of a religious revolution”

So says Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. This speech is a truly remarkable for its direct assault on the heretofore unaccountable Muslim clerisy. The speech made by Egypt’s latest military strongman ensures he won’t die peacefully in his sleep of old age, but that said, the implications are enormous. Raymond Ibrahim provided the translation, which was picked up by Roger Simon at Pajamas Media. Michael Ledeen, also of PJ Media, notes the deafening silence. Key graph from Raymond Ibrahim’s translation: I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I […]

Knowledge Management & the Competence of Officers

In an earlier post advocating abolishing West Point and the other service academies (and I would belatedly include the Merchant Marine Academy since we have no merchant fleets), the question of the value of the academies is a red herring. The value of the academies is not its graduates, grounds, or current body of students and staff. The value of the academies is the information stored, developed and conveyed to students. This information is what the academies hold onto with a Vulcan death-grip. ROTC and OCS can not compete because they do not have access to the information, nor to the men […]