May 19, 2024

We invite you, our WAR ROOM readers, to join in the conversation and add to the Whiteboard.

If you were faced with a vexing complex problem, how would you start solving it? …After the fear, procrastination, and panic, that is.

You would do a little research, assemble your initial thoughts, and reach out to some experts to discuss. And to help with the discussion, perhaps you would employ a whiteboard as a visual aid. A place to capture your thoughts, to make connections, and to capture ideas in the moment.

Soon, amidst the distinct smell of dry-erase pens and the drawing of colored boxes, labels, arrows, and the making of lists or timelines or charts, emerge more ideas. And the need to reach out to still others. As boxes, notes, and questions accumulate, solutions, strategies, plans, and actions start to materialize. And though what’s on the whiteboard may be (and probably is) unfinished and unrefined, it’s a starting point.

It is in the spirit of this creative process that we introduce a new special series, entitled Whiteboard. As WAR ROOM’s first year shows, complex questions about strategy can produce many different answers, but our format, which is focused on single essays on self-generated topics, tends not to highlight this multiplicity. Thus, Whiteboard releases are built around a broad, strategic-level question posed to a variety of authors, each given 300 words to respond. We assemble the best responses and present it as a single release. Think of these as the initial scribbling on the whiteboard.

However, just as the initial whiteboard is never the final product (even when you accidentally use permanent markers), the initial articles in this Whiteboard are just the beginning of the conversation. We invite you, our WAR ROOM readers, to join in the conversation and add to the Whiteboard.

Each Whiteboard opening article will (we hope) have at least one follow-on article representing the best contributions (also no more than 300 words each) from readers. Instructions for how to contribute will be included in every Whiteboard.

Whiteboard serves two purposes: 1) reduce barriers to contributing to WAR ROOM; and 2) provide a platform for a variety of provocative perspectives on interesting national security or defense questions. We expect that Whiteboard will foster an active and rewarding dialogue

Look for the first three Whiteboard releases in June and July. The first (released today) poses the question of how well the Army does leader development. We are sure many readers have a view on this, so please review the answers we received and comment.

Readers are welcome to nominate potential Whiteboard questions, or even collaborate with peers in submitting an initial Whiteboard of their own. Ideally, a Whiteboard will feature a clear, concise question of self-evident significance, and at least four (and no more than six) different contributors offering their perspectives in 250-300 words.


The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.

Photo Credit: Jacqueline E. Whitt

Posts in the Whiteboard series:


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