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 […]

James Fallows on Civil Military Divide

James Fallows who writes for the Atlantic has written a splendid article on Civil Military relations.  Whether one agrees or not with his premise, I urge all to think critically about what he has to say.  This is a subject of great importance.

A Man worth Following

Yesterday Senator James Webb announced an exploratory bid for the presidency.  I honestly never thought of him as a Candidate for the job.  The reality is that the bench on the Democratic side is extraordinarily slim.  The Republicans have a few guys I’d take a look at.  Many of you might recall him as the combat boot wearing candidate who ran for the Virginia Senate seat.  Although it was in solidarity of his son who was deployed at the time.  Webb, a Marine, is a Combat Veteran of Vietnam who was award for conspicuous gallantry on numerous occasions, an accomplished […]

Book Review of George Marshall: A Biography

Not sure if I shall bother reading this new biography of George Marshall, but here is a review of it in the New Republic.  Concluding paragraph says a lot about George Marshall the man: For a military man, Marshall’s heroism was peculiar. It did not arise from his conduct on the battlefield. It arose from his modesty, including “a modest daily schedule that often ended at three or four o’clock in the afternoon” and his avoidance “of lucrative corporate board memberships so commonly available to retired high military officers in our more avaricious times.” Most importantly, Marshall’s modesty flowed from […]

Lessons on Leadership

Leaders never blame subordinates because Leaders are responsible for their subordinates’, as well as their own actions and inactions. Meanwhile, Virginia’s Leader awards spoils. Three points to consider: 1) we’ve had a spoils system since the Constitution was ratified and while people profess outrage, they vote incumbent; 2) governors’ political philosophies translate into education philosophies and budgets; and 3) the donor connected to VMI contributed the least. Perhaps those contributing over $100,000 would be so kind as to donate that money to VMI’s English and History professors? Or pay off some keydet loans?  

Shinseki is not the problem

Whatever else he is, GEN (R) Eric Shinseki is not the problem at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Firing him solves nothing, and serves only as a distraction: everyone offended by the criminality and incompetence of the VA will feel good about his ouster. “Feeling Good” is what the Leftists preach – our veterans and their families and care-givers need results instead. Taking ‘feel good’ actions only serves to distract from the structural problems of the intrinsic lack of respect for the Secretary, philosophical homogeneity, and resistance to change that makes the VA a collection of rogue satrapies that murder veterans.   […]

How to Break An Officer-Bump

Young officers are like moldable clay; they take lessons to heart fast.  Some of them will be amazing, most will be good, and then you will have a lot of bad.  It is easy for them to become enraptured by their own image when they’re doing well; it is even easier for them to fall flat on their face.  How do I know this?  I’ve been there.  When a new officer comes into the FORCE/FLEET he needs to be embraced by the battalion and company level organizations he is a part of.  In the Army we tend to have a […]

Seduced by Success?

This needed to be written, the question needed to be asked. In fact, the military conditions under which we’ve operated for the past two decades have been historically atypical. They have allowed too many in uniform to believe the hype. What happens when men whose whole professional life has known only success meet real challenges and the threat of defeat? The article is aimed at the Army, but applies to all the Services. And think too, of the coming austerity, the political correctness, the quotas, the feminization of combat arms, the punishments for anyone who speaks out. The worst is […]

Hold up the mirror

Behaviour is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.     – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe   Op-for presented a series of posts featuring toxicity in leadership, corruption in acquisitions, and servicemembers who cheated on their competency examinations. From each of these posts, of which Townie’s is the latest lagniappe, one has to wonder who holds the mirror up for introspection? For an examination of self and a determination of one’s own boundary?   No one put a gun to the head of those servicemembers and told them to lie, to cheat, to steal, and to tolerate the putrefaction of […]

Toxic Leadership in Today’s Military

Toxic leaders. You know them. Male, female, in uniform or Armani, you know them. No day goes buy without being subjected to ridicule in a public briefing, or yelling that can be heard over the 60Kw generators. The air stinks of doom. Every day is a special report to the RDC of Hell. There are VMI grads among them, much to my chagrin. I am equally embarrassed, as a Soldier Emeritus, to learn of the Army’s on-going deception when dealing with the Washington Post in its expose’ of toxic leaders in DoD. The Army mentioned it promoted competence over likability, and […]