GEN Donn A. Starry in Vietnam as a Colonel and Regimental Commander of 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

The speech below was given in January 1981 by GEN Donn Starry to a gathering of cavalry professionals at the annual Cavalry Ball. He spoke on the generational and cultural divide between older leaders and new recruits and Soldiers. I was reminded of this speech recently while attending a pre-command course with a block of instruction entitled “Generation Translation.”

I’m not sure the reflections of GEN Starry over 40 years ago are all that different from what they would be now. …

The Journey of Developmental Dialog

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Counseling is often labeled a lost art in our profession. Frequently counseling sessions become lectures and are not interactive discussions. Army Doctrinal Publication (ADP) 6–22 describes counseling as “the process used by leaders to guide subordinates to improve performance and develop their potential.“ There are three types of counseling (Event, Performance, Professional Growth) as outlined in Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 6–22.1, The Counseling Process. Event and professional growth counseling is important and essential to continual professional enrichment. This essay focuses on performance counseling as a journey and dialog aiming to increase potential and improve the…

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The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory catalogs 43 life stressor events and assesses value to each in order to determine the likelihood of a stress induced health breakdown over time. Auditing the list recently for the first time in a while, roughly half of the list includes events induced routinely in the life of a service-member, particularly when that service-member deploys. The maintenance of mental health is just as important as maintaining adequate levels of physical fitness and maintaining mission essential equipment. Leaders demonstrating personal example and empathy build trust leading to the destigmatization of help seeking behaviors and maximum potential.

On Day 1 of the new decade (and after much reflection) I did some digital housekeeping and prioritization to enable more intentionality for the new year

I noticed over the past 7 months or so the things I spent time to “unwind” doing weren’t the things that have traditionally brought joy. I haven’t read much, written even less, and let gym time slip.

This week’s discussion video provides a brief overview of the Four C’s of Leadership; Competence, Clarity, Context, and Character.

Both GEN(Ret.) Martin Dempsey and L. David Marquet have talked about each of these principles in various forums in the recent past. In Marquet’s Leadership Nudge 134 he explains the amount of control given to a subordinate is dependent on their demonstrated competence and clarity. Reciprocally, leaders must provide opportunities to build competence in specified and implied tasks, the what of the organization, through training opportunities as well as provide clarity of purpose; the why of the task, something GEN (Ret.)…

Originally Published 17 January 2019

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Regardless of your personal thoughts of the National Football League, the Philadelphia Eagles, or Nick Foles as a player, you have to admit that what he was able to do over the past two seasons has been pretty remarkable. Part of his success is talent. A significant portion is his leadership and emotional intelligence in leadership. The short article linked here hints but one reason why.

Much has been said about the parallels of war and football — The Blitz, the long bomb, a “game of inches,” “fighting in the trenches” — all imagery…

Originally Published 10 December 2018

Now that NTC is complete and we have learned many valuable lessons about leadership we will build on our experiences and prepare for our operations in the Middle East. David Kilcullen is a preeminent thinker and writer in counterinsurgency operations and helped write FM 3–24, the US Army and Marine Corps doctrine for Counterinsurgency. His article “Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-Level Counterinsurgency” is a succinct distillation of Kilcullen’s main ideas to help counterinsurgent forces. It was written when the Army was beginning to implement COIN as we know it today. …

This week’s selection was published in September 2013 in The New Yorker and can be found here.

We spoke of this article briefly last week during our LPD on This Kind of War as we discussed the nature and character of war. We talked that the nature of warfare is inherently and enduringly human, violent, interactive, and fundamentally political. Because war is a human endeavor, the personalities of those engaged in warfare and conflict are important to frame our understanding.

This particular article came out in the early fall of 2013. I remember sitting in the Subway drive through at…

This week’s selection was published by CALL in April 2016 and is a supplement to the original Musicians of Mars which we read as Self Study Reading #8 last year.

Much like the original, this is a vignette of synchronization at the Troop/Company/Battery level to be used as a primer to think about how to solve complex problems at the lowest level. As we prepare for Pinon Canyon and NTC, this is meant to start a dialog among leaders as to how to approach problem solving at the tactical level to achieve results in a complex and chaotic battlefield structure.

This week’s selection was written by BG (Ret.) Don Bolduc and published on Small Wars Journal this past April. BG (Ret.) Bolduc is the former commander of Special Operations Command — Africa and led Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan shortly after the 9–11 Attacks in 2003. You can read more about him and his Soldiers in the Doug Stanton book “Horse Soldiers” which recently was turned into the movie “12 Strong” about how his teams fought with the Northern Alliance against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in 2003. …

The Stable of Leadership

Bettering the organization starts with me. Thoughts are the author’s and do not reflect DoD or the US Army.

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