WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS?

It’s an election year, and leaving all politics aside, the use of opinion polls is already in full swing by all parties involved. Polling performance in recent years has called the accuracy of polls into question. Was the sample size big enough? Did the questions lead to predictable answers? Who is actually willing to answer […]

THE INFORMATION APOCALYPSE, PART VII: COMPETENCE AND ETHICS

  “People grant their trust based on two distinct considerations: competence and ethical behavior.” Richard Edelman CEO, Edelman Communications   Just days before the Davos International Economic Forum in January, global public relations firm Edelman Communications released the 2020 Trust Barometer. The result showed trust in institutions at record lows. CEO Richard Edelman described the […]

A SMARTER WAY TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN

“Be All You Can Be”, “Army of One”, “Army Strong” these are just a few of the most recent slogans used by the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in the last 40 years. The first remained in place for over 20 years. The last was 12 years running. But if the Army is going to meet […]

THAT ONE MOST IMPORTANT THING: (A WHITEBOARD)

War College students are at a point of significant departure in their careers, as their post-study assignments will generally put them in rapid-paced, constantly shifting circumstances.   For this Whiteboard we reached out again to several scholars with the following prompt: What is the most important thing a war college student should learn in their year […]

AN ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE: INNOVATION AND TERRORIST DRONES

In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, characters who increase in wisdom are those who ascend from the cave’s darkness (ignorance, crudeness) to the surface’s daylight (knowledge, sophistication). In early 2018, 13 small drones armed with explosives swarmed the Russian-occupied Hmiemim airbase in Syria. Russian forces accused the United States of launching the attack, citing the […]

THE INTERFACE: REESTABLISHING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TACTICS AND POLITICS

Considering the mutual relation between strategy and tactics helps establish the extent of what is possible, or necessary, in strategic competition.   Marco Polo describes a bridge, stone by stone. “But which is the stone that supports the bridge?” Kublai Khan asks. “The bridge is not supported by one stone or another,” Marco answers, “but […]

IT’S WORLD WAR THREE ALL OVER AGAIN (DUSTY SHELVES)

Today, as the United States once more finds itself in a situation of near-peer competition with China and Russia, this four-decade old novel seems relevant once again. Sir John Hackett’s 1978 novel The Third World War was one of the best-selling books of the decade. The retired British General’s fiction debut sold three million copies […]

YOUR HAMBURGER AND NATIONAL SECURITY: VEGANISM, FOOD INSECURITY AND AMERICAN POWER

National security analysts primarily consider external threats before assessing whether or how the nation can and should secure itself. National security experts rarely consider the complexities of the American diet and food systems being tied to United States (U.S.) military readiness and effectiveness. Similarly missed is the link between food insecurity and environmental damage or […]

THE TURMOIL OF IDENTITY CRISIS: SPECIAL FORCES ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE

Organizational culture, on its face, is a relatively easy concept to understand; who “we” are as an organization is defined by the underlying beliefs, assumptions, and values – spoken and unspoken – held by the members, leadership and the organization as a whole. Truly understanding and identifying those beliefs, assumptions and values can be incredibly […]

CHANGING OUR TOOLKIT FOR “CHANGE”

Leaders affect change at the individual, unit, and enterprise levels both in response to the external environment and internal pressures to build and sustain readiness for the next mission. For years, a common theme in military doctrine and conventional wisdom has been that leaders must lead change. If sustaining competitive advantage in a complex and […]

MIRRORING VIETNAM’S FAILURES IN AFGHANISTAN: DOD’S DESCENT INTO WAR FATIGUE

Wars are expensive in terms of blood lost and treasure spent, but there are other, more subtle costs. The long road to the trilateral U.S.-Afghanistan-Taliban memorandum of agreement was wearisome on all fronts. Wars are expensive in terms of blood lost and treasure spent, but there are other, more subtle costs. They take an emotional […]

DEMOBILIZING THE KHOST PROTECTION FORCE: PARAMILITARY GROUPS IN AFGHANISTAN

These groups, although a strategic and powerful asset for the U.S. mission in fighting terrorism, are disruptive to forms of justice of Afghan society and weaken Afghan institutions. The Khost Protection Force (KPF) is an Afghan paramilitary group that operates in the east along the border with Pakistan, primarily on covert, kill-or-capture operations referred to […]

THE LAST LION AND THE NEXT WAR: LESSONS FROM CHURCHILL (DUSTY SHELVES)

Churchill, an avid painter, ‘saw the beauty and vitality of details, and their effect on larger strategic issues, and demanded that they be scrutinized all the time.’ You have likely come across a quote, article, or visual media reference to Winston Churchill in the past couple of years.  The British statesman is one of the […]

THEY REALLY READ IT FOR THE ARTICLES

Playboy magazine first hit newsstands in December 1953, so it was quite well established by the time the United States joined the conflict in Vietnam. Derided by a portion of the population as disgraceful smut, the common retort from the men who perused the sordid pages was “I just read it for the articles.” A […]

NEW WEAPONS FOR NEW DOMAINS? (EISENHOWER SERIES)

Getting that idea from the battlefield…back into the hands of someone who can fix it back in the states or elsewhere in the world rapidly is absolutely critical. In September of 2019 we introduced you to the Eisenhower Series College Program. Members of the Eisenhower Program began the year on the road visiting colleges and universities, […]

LOSING THE STRATEGIC “BATTLE” AGAINST THE PRC (BUT NOT THE “WAR”): PT I – EMERGING CONFLICT DOMAINS

Despite facing innovative, global rivals, the U.S. military remains a downward-directed, personality-driven organization – one that lacks the flexibility it needs to meet current threats. The word “military” conjures images of rifle-bearing soldiers being yelled at by angry, loud, older leaders, imposing their proverbial ‘my way or the highway’ versions of order. Unfortunately, such images […]

WHOSE HISTORY? WHOSE HERITAGE? MEMORY AND MEMORIALS IN THE ARMED FORCES

I would venture to say that there are a lot of black troops that understand what those names mean and just have chosen not to take it up as an issue. Bragg, Benning and Hood are names that are universally known throughout the Army and most of the Department of Defense. They are some of […]

SOCIAL MEDIA: GOOD MEDICINE OR A BAD PILL (EISENHOWER SERIES)

There is a concept called collective coping. It’s using social media and specifically social relationships to cope with issues…more than ever you can see that people are reaching out.   In September of 2019 we introduced you to the Eisenhower Series College Program. Members of the Eisenhower Program began the year on the road visiting colleges […]

INCLUSIVITY, DIVERSITY AND THE MILITARY AS A LEADER OF CHANGE (EISENHOWER SERIES)

What you’re describing…always has been a leadership problem. It’s leadership at the extreme echelons. So leadership at the top of the Army and leadership at the bottom of the Army are primarily where you address and solve this problem.   In September of 2019 we introduced you to the Eisenhower Series College Program. Members of the […]

MORAL LEADERSHIP IN COMPLEX STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTS

AT ALL TIMES…LEADERS MUST ENDEAVOR TO DEMONSTRATE UNIMPEACHABLE INTEGRITY AND CHARACTER. We can—and should—expect leaders to make honest mistakes in the face of complex challenges, hardships, dilemmas, and difficult decisions. At all times, however, leaders must endeavor to demonstrate unimpeachable integrity and character. Leaders must be the moral and ethical compass for those they lead […]