A FEW THINGS LEADERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DATA AND ANALYSIS – PART 2

Information has never been more available as it is in this modern age of the Internet, 24-hour news, streaming services and endless sources of data collection devices and methods. Jeff Baker and Bob Bradford are back with their second and final article dealing with data and analysis and its role in strategic decision making. This part of the series addresses challenges with data and types and implications of errors in data analysis. It’s a great primer on the types of error that leaders encounter in data collection, processing and presentation and how they can lead to bad decisions.

A FEW THINGS LEADERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DATA AND ANALYSIS – PART 1

Information has never been more available as it is in this modern age of the Internet, 24-hour news, streaming services and endless sources of data collection devices and methods. But as the old saying goes “figures always lie and liars always figure.” Now, no one is calling anybody a liar here, but information that has been collected, analyzed, used, manipulated, or just presented always has the potential for bias and even deception–intentional or not. WAR ROOM welcomes back Jeff Baker and Bob Bradford as they present a two-part article that tries to tackle the difficult task of making sense of data in decision making. Part one addresses the sources of data and how the social sciences can be used to arm leaders with better questions and improved judgment.

HONORING THE PAST WHILE SPEAKING TO THE FUTURE

The U.S. Department of Defense has had its difficulties over the last decade with recruiting and retention. The high operations tempo of the last 20 years, long separations, the danger of combat, and an ever-shrinking pool of eligible recruits are just some of the factors that have made the sustainment of the force more difficult than in many years past. The all-volunteer force depends on attracting, recruiting, and retaining the right people and managing that talent properly. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Robert Gerlach and Silas Martinez to discuss a project that hopes to address the attracting and recruiting aspect and hopefully indirectly improve the retention piece. They join podcast editor Ron Granieri in the virtual studio to explain Rob’s unique Strategy Research Project (SRP). Creating the first ever video SRP, Rob worked with his advisor, Silas, to try and solve a real problem for the U.S. Army by answering a unique question; “What if the Army Museum Enterprise could be utilized to attract or identify the right people to the Army and make sure they find their way into the ranks?”

Transcript: https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/21-077-HONORING-THE-PAST-WHILE-SPEAKING-TO-THE-FUTURE-Transcript.pdf

SURPRISE! YOUR ORGANIZATION NEEDS CHANGE

Organizations frequently face surprises and how they react to them impacts their future prospects for success. WAR ROOM welcomes back Bob Bradford and Jeff Baker as they describe a new framework for understanding organizational response to surprise. They define four basic types of organizations based on how they react to surprises and then apply the framework to responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOS 101: DECODING THE STATE DEPARTMENT PART 2

To many people the U.S. Department of State (DOS) is as foreign as the countries in which our embassies are placed. Fortunately, we here at A BETTER PEACE know some people, and on this episode we welcome back Alex Avé Lallemant to share his experiences as a career Foreign Service Officer. For this second installment in the series he once again joins our own Associate Editor Amanda Cronkhite to discuss the ins and outs of the State Department. Currently the Consular Section Chief in Harare, Zimbabwe, Alex has served overseas in every one of the State Department’s geographic bureaus, including multiple tours in Afghanistan. That experience makes him the perfect guest to conduct what we’re calling DOS 101.
Transcript – https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/21-076-DOS-101-DECODING-THE-STATE-DEPARTMENT-PART-2-Transcript.pdf

THE COMPLEXITY OF DETERMINING RETURN TO DUTY

The question of whether or not a service member with musculoskeletal injuries (MSKIs) will return to duty is a complicated process to answer. And MSKIs significantly impact medical readiness, burden the Military Health System, and contribute to service-connected disability costs. Jeffrey Tiede and Sean Moore question whether the current return to duty process is worth the effort it requires and the resources it consumes while providing unreliable outcomes. Tiede and Moore, based on their respective experiences at the Center for the Intrepid and the San Francisco VA, propose that the process must be reviewed and further developed by experts in complex systems in order to provide a timely and reliable framework for decision.

DOS 101: DECODING THE STATE DEPARTMENT

To many people the U.S. Department of State (DOS) is as foreign as the countries in which our embassies are placed. Fortunately, we here at A BETTER PEACE know some people, and on this episode we welcome Alex Avé Lallemant to share his experiences as a career Foreign Service Officer. He joins our own Associate Editor Amanda Cronkhite in this multi-part series to discuss the ins and outs of the State Department. Currently the Consular Section Chief in Harare, Zimbabwe, Alex has served overseas in every one of the State Department’s geographic bureaus, including multiple tours in Afghanistan. That experience makes him the perfect guest to conduct what we’re calling DOS 101.
Transcript – https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/21-061-DOS-101-DECODING-THE-STATE-DEPARTMENT-Transcript-2.pdf

BOOSTING BIPARTISANSHIP OUTSIDE OF GOVERNMENT

Where does a U.S. politician, appointee or staffer go when their party isn’t in power? Quite often to a think tank where they apply their vast experience in economics, international relations, technology and apparently a large dose of their party’s partisanship. WAR ROOM welcomes back Chandler Myers to take a look at the influence these private entities have over U.S. public policy. He considers how organizations that should welcome innovative thought and fact based analysis that benefits the whole of the nation are all too often trapped in ideological silos of confirmation and desirability bias and become groupthink machines.

RETHINKING THE QUAD 2.0 – A PARTNERSHIP OF DEMOCRACIES

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), which comprises of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, was formed due to the common concerns of a rising Chinese power in the Indo-Pacific. However, the partnership of democracies has been primarily focused on military objectives to confront China’s assertiveness in the region. WAR ROOM welcomes back Tony Palocaren to explain why the varying levels of economic interdependence between the members of the Quad and China, and the economic opportunity cost of provoking China will be dire and it could lead to the failure of the partnership. To succeed, he posits the Quad must focus on international development objectives to first shore up the partnership’s international credibility while challenging China’s soft power ambitions in the region.

NOT JUST WAR GAMES: SIMULATING CRISIS NEGOTIATIONS

The U.S. Army War College is a vast repository of experience and expertise. Every day that knowledge is used to further develop joint officers and enlisted personnel along with many of their federal civilian counterparts. Every once in a while, the War College is able to share its development techniques and curriculum outside the gates of Carlisle Barracks. One of those instances is the International Strategic Crisis Negotiations Exercise (ISCNE) and on today’s episode Ed “Cliffy” Zukowski is in the virtual studio to explain the program. Cliffy joins Ken Gilliam in the latest installment of the WARGAMING ROOM to explain the value of the two-day strategic negotiation event and how he and the team take the show on the road to prominent universities. ISCNE is not only a great example of the DoD sharing knowledge but it’s a crucial part of the War College’s outreach mission.

Contact Cliffy: edmund.zukowski@armywarcollege.edu

Transcript: https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/wp-content/uploads/21-049-EXPOSING-NEXT-GEN-DIPLOMATS-TO-CRISIS-NEGOTIATIONS-Transcript.pdf

THE DEEP FAKES ARE COMING

As if watching the news or social media wasn’t already complicated enough, now you have to deal with deep fakes. The stuff of information nightmares, deep fakes map the face of a celebrity, a political or military leader to another person’s head. The result is a video of the leader/celebrity enacting the facial expressions, behaviors, mouth and eye movement of the target individual, and even worse saying whatever the faker desires. And the deep fakes are getting tougher to spot. WAR ROOM welcomes Matthew Fecteau as he considers the implications for national security, information operations and propaganda in the modern age as deep fakes become even more sophisticated. He looks at the near and long term actions the United States has to take to harness the technology as well as guard against it.

POWs IN AMERICAN MILITARY HISTORY

As long as there has been war, there have been prisoners of war (POWs). If you have served in the U.S. military in the last 50 years you know of the Law of Armed Conflict, the Code of Conduct and the extensive efforts the nation takes to recover U.S. and allied POWs and those listed as Missing in Action (MIA). But it might surprise many people to learn that throughout history often little preparation has been made by any nation to account for, feed, house and transport enemy prisoners. And it is only recently that historians of these conflicts have begun to study the topic of POWs. Professors Daniel Krebs and Lorien Foote are in the virtual studio for this episode to discuss their work in this field and their book Useful Captives: The Role of POWs in American Military Conflicts. They join podcast editor Ron Granieri to examine how the treatment of POWs has changed over time to include some of the most recent actions in the middle east regarding mistreatment and release of prisoners.

THE SOUL OF BATTLE: DEMOCRACIES AT WAR (DUSTY SHELVES)

The DUSTY SHELVES series welcomes Mitchell Klingenberg to dust off Victor Davis Hanson’s The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny. Klingenberg examines Hanson’s analysis of the human personalities of Epaminondas of Thebes, William T. Sherman, and George S. Patton. Looking at the nature and character of war through the actions of these three leaders, Hanson illustrates the imperative of a nation to exercise moral authority through armed conflict when confronted with evil.

THE GRIT AND GROWTH MINDSET

Adversity and resilience are incredibly relevant topics in light of what’s going on in the world today. People around the world are facing challenges and adversity that they’ve never seen before and are seeking new ways to deal with it. A BETTER PEACE welcomes Jennifer Alessio to share her story of a potentially career-ending injury and how she found a path forward to not only survive but thrive. Jennifer joins podcast editor Ron Granieri in the virtual studio to discuss the grit and growth mindset. Based in the works of Dr. Angela Duckworth and Dr. Carol Dweck, Jennifer discusses how the mindset can benefit innovation, talent management, soldier development and even recruiting in the U.S. Army.

THE INFORMATION APOCALYPSE PART X: THE ROAD AHEAD

 “Great leaders have a vision of the future that does not yet exist, and an ability to communicate that vision. When we put words to the world we imagine, we can inspire others to join us in creating a brighter future.” Simon Sinek The future is replete with opportunities for managing the pace of change, responding to change, […]

THE INTERIM NSS: A TOUCHSTONE

Mandated by public law, the National Security Strategy (NSS) is the report that the President of the United States sends to Congress to communicate the administration’s strategy and vision regarding national security. It is to be submitted to Congress in a classified format no later than 150 days after the date on which a new President takes office. But Congress isn’t the only audience of the NSS as there is typically an unclassified summary that communicates the administration’s intent to the military, the citizenry, and friends and foes alike. Editor-in-Chief Jacqueline Whitt is in the virtual studio with podcast editor Ron Granieri to discuss the Interim NSS that the Biden administration released on 3 Mar 2021. Ron and Jacqueline take a look at what’s different in this document and perhaps more importantly what is similar to previous administration’s NSS reports.

REFRAMING THE MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN

If the western world truly seeks victory in Afghanistan there needs to be a better understanding of what that victory looks like. The ongoing peace talks with the Taliban are a necessary first step. And a wide look at history over many conflicts reveals that western nations have succeeded in the past at reaching political solutions through similar negotiations, patience, and international cooperation. WAR ROOM welcomes Tom Spahr to examine why a U.S. military exit from Afghanistan in May 2021, or shortly thereafter, is not feasible. He predicts getting to an acceptable agreement with the Taliban will take years, if not decades, and political and military leaders should plan for the long haul.

NATIONAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE: THE BENS REPORT

Business Executives for National Security (BENS) a nonprofit comprised of senior business and industry executives commissioned a study and produced a report it refers to as “A CALL TO ACTION” to strengthen U.S. emergency response for sustained, widespread events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. BENS President and CEO, Joseph Votel, joins our own Editor-in-Chief in the virtual studio to discuss the findings of the report. Their conversation reviews the recommendations of federal, state and local government responsibilities and relations and the need for a national strategy for emergency response. Not surprisingly, as in any large scale operation, the need for clear communication and information sharing is highlighted as one of the crucial factors for success.

THE ARMY’S ROBERT E. LEE PROBLEM

On 5 February, 2021, newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed military leaders to lead a one-day stand-down within the next 60 days to address extremism within the nation’s armed forces. That same afternoon our Editor-In Chief, Jacqueline Whitt sat down with Ty Seidule in the virtual studio to record this episode. Seidule, a prominent figure in the conversation about extremism, has long fought against the veneration of Robert E. Lee and the Confederate cause in the Army, specifically at the United States Military Academy. His 2015 video on Prager University, “Was the Civil War About Slavery?” has been viewed over 34 million times. And his newest book Robert E. Lee and Me is drawing both praise and anger. Their discussion ranges from his childhood in the south to his time at West Point as the Head of the Department of History, and what he’s been doing since his retirement as a brigadier general in 2020.

WHAT NORMS ARE AT STAKE WITH A RETIRED GENERAL AS SECDEF?

The fourth offering in this brief series is this article by Marybeth P. Ulrich and Noah C. Fisher. They examine the erosion of norms that has occurred with the nomination and confirmation of retired Army General Lloyd Austin as the Secretary of Defense. Austin’s confirmation is the third time that a waiver for the “cooling off” period has been granted, but perhaps more importantly the second in four years. Ulrich and Fisher appraise what impact this waiver may have and remind us that “norms that are not enforced cease to be norms, having lost the shared understanding that underpin them.”