Sunday, October 19, 2014

Leader Competencies for a Complex World




We continue the Twitter based professional conversation between military leaders in the United States and faculty and students at Kings College in London with a post from Ryan T. Kranc - @rkranc Ryan is an Army cavalryman assigned to Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Eustis, VA.  The views expressed in this post are his alone and not representative of US Army or DOD. If you’re interested in participating just “tweet” your response with #CCLKOW



On October 7, 2014 the Army published TRADOC Publication 525-3-1, TheUS Army Operating Concept, Win in a Complex World[i].  The Army Operating Concept explains how the Army must operate in the future, describes the Army’s contribution to globally integrated operations, and provides focus for future force development.  The Army Warfighting Challenges within Appendix B of the Operating Concept detail the first order capabilities the Army must possess to win in a complex world.  Army Warfighting Challenges 8, 9, and 10 speak specifically to those capabilities required  of our Soldiers and leaders to thrive and succeed in environments of complexity and uncertainty.  
 They are[ii]:

8.   Train Soldiers and leaders to ensure they are prepared to accomplish the mission across the range of military operations while operating in complex environments against determined, adaptive enemy organizations.

9.   Develop resilient Soldiers, adaptive leaders, and cohesive teams committed to the Army professional ethic that are capable of accomplishing the mission in environments of uncertainty and persistent danger.

10.  Develop agile, adaptive, and innovative leaders who thrive in conditions of uncertainty and chaos, and are capable of visualizing, describing, directing, leading, and assessing operations in complex environments and against adaptive enemies.

Leadership is the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization (FM 6-22).  What are the “mission essential tasks” for leaders at echelon?  What are the tasks or skills that allow leaders to succeed in environments of uncertainty and chaos?  What are the core tasks that build the foundation and baseline for excellence in leadership in the profession of arms?


The following are proposed fundamental organizational leader skills.  The mastery of these skills are required successfully lead and improve organizations and are built upon to develop additional skills later in one’s career (i.e. fluency in Troop Leading Procedures (TLPs) and Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) later assists in developing competency in the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP)):

1.     Training Management

2.     Troop Leading Procedures

3.     Counseling

4.     Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield

5.     Writing and Delivering an Operations Order

6.     Actions on Contact

7.     Reporting

8.     Maintenance Management

The list of 8 competencies above serves not necessarily as an authoritative or definitive inventory but as a conversation starter.  What on the list above resonates?  What should be replaced? What would you add?  If you were a company commander receiving a new lieutenant what do you expect?  How many are applicable to both officers and non-commissioned officers

“Tweet” your response with #CCLKOW



Ryan T. Kranc is an Army cavalryman assigned to Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Eustis, VA and has served as a combat engineer platoon leader, tank platoon leader, scout platoon leader, cavalry troop commander, armor and reconnaissance tactics instructor, squadron and Regimental operations officer, and Cavalry Doctrine branch chief.  The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.





[i] Training and Doctrine Command, TRADOC PAM 525-3-1, Army Operating Concept, US Government Printing Office, Fort Eustis, VA, October 7, 2014


[ii] Ibid, p30



=======

The Quadshot Warrior blog is hosted by Jonathan Silk, who is a Major in the U.S. Army. He has served as a Cavalry Scout platoon leader , and has commanded both a Tank Company and an Infantry Company. He is currently an Academic Instructor and serving as the Operations Officer for the Center for the Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational Learning (CALDOL) at the United States Army Military Academy, West Point, NY. He was a recipient of the calendar year 2009 General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award. The views expressed in this blog are not representative of US Army or DOD
 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Does the United States need a capacity to conduct a strategic raid?


 
We continue the Twitter based professional conversation between military leaders in the United States and faculty and students at Kings College in London with a post from Paul Tanghe - @pftanghe Paul is a U.S. Army Cavalry Officer and Doctoral student at Denver University’s Korbel School.  If you’re interested in participating just “tweet” your response with #CCLKOW


Does the United States need a capacity to conduct a strategic raid?



Contingency in the world is nothing new. However, recent national security crisis such as Ukraine, ISIL, and Ebola illustrate a paradox in our knowledge: we seemed to know very little in foreseeing such events, then suddenly the event is everywhere in our 24/7 news and information overload. Such events seize our national attention and interests in a single news cycle.



Yet our military response to such events is far less nimble. On the one hand, special operations forces and modern lines of communication enable the U.S. to reach out and touch almost any area of the globe with ease. However, that special operator touch is by its nature light and critically dependent on the desired behavior of fragile networks vulnerably subject to threats ranging from Anonymous cyber hackers to bad weather grounding flights. The risk in this is tragically illustrated by the Mogadishu debacle. US forces were dangerous vulnerable, and ultimately reliant on a decisive intervention by Pakistani and Malaysian armored forces (although this aspect is downplayed in the film Blackhawk Down and thus excluded by pop culture’s imprimatur and our memory of the event). Compounding the tragedy of Somalia was a decade of US aversion to military action, including the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans, that ended only in the brutal reality of 9/11. Even so- would a strategic raid to punish the Taliban and degrade their military capability have been preferable to our decades of occupation and nation building? How would such a calculus bear on the questions of Syria and ISIL?


Our military is built to be heavy- massive logistic requirements and clumsy operational configurations like divisions, support brigades, and Reserve and National Guard soldiers ensure a high cost to operations, and ideally, an aversion to bearing such costs without deep public support. This was appropriate for an era when war was inseparable from the risk of interstate nuclear holocausts.



However, is this institutional inertia- seen mostly clearly in our inability to strategically raid- appropriate in the face of postmodern security challenges?



Two significant aspects of globalization should make us reconsider this. Strategic raids have historically been a neglected policy option due to their reliance on accurate intelligence and the aversion to violating state sovereignty (see Adam Elkus’ 2011 study examining the failures in the punitive expedition to capture Pancho Villa (http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p499263_index.html). However, our intelligence today enables (while not assuring) unprecedented knowledge about security challenges. Moreover, sovereignty today is a far more permeable concept, or as Stephen Krasner calls it, is “organized hypocrisy.”



Have increased informational velocities and shifting notions of sovereignty enabled a return to the strategic raid as a feasible end? Can our military capabilities provide such means?

“Tweet” your response with #CCLKOW





Paul  Tanghe is a PhD student in International Studies at the Korbel School. His research interests include environmental governance, comparative politics, and Southeast Asia. A cavalry officer in the U.S. Army, Paul has led reconnaissance and tank units in Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea. Paul is a native of Edina, Minn., and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2004 with a BS in political science. In his free time, Paul enjoys firefighting, exploration, transportation, and design.


=======

The Quadshot Warrior blog is hosted by Jonathan Silk, who is a Major in the U.S. Army. He has served as a Cavalry Scout platoon leader , and has commanded both a Tank Company and an Infantry Company. He is currently an Academic Instructor and serving as the Operations Officer for the Center for the Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational Learning (CALDOL) at the United States Army Military Academy, West Point, NY. He was a recipient of the calendar year  2009 General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award.


 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"Once upon a time..." Storytelling as a Weapon


This post continues the Twitter based professional conversation between military leaders in the United States and faculty and students at Kings College in London. If you’re interested in participating just “tweet” your response with #CCLKOW





Storytelling is a powerful catalyst for learning, and likely has been since humans developed language. Stories enable people to reflect on their own experiences and abstract knowledge through the lens of another. It is an effective way for catalyzing learning in any organization. In his book "Tell me a Story" Roger Schank writes “Stories illustrate points better than simply stating the points themselves because, if the story is good enough, you usually dont have to state your point at all; the hearer thinks about what you said and figures out the point independently. The more work your hearer does, the more he or she will get out of the story." The best way to convey what we learn is through stories of our experiences. Stories contain many different lessons and are educational for people who were not present for the experience.

Storytelling can also be used as a weapon. In his article "Why Storytelling is The Ultimate Weapon" Jonathan Gottschall writes "But as the bloody metaphor of the Trojan Horse suggests, story is a tool that can be used for good or ill. Like fire, it can be used to warm a city or to burn it down. "

Social media is a particularly effective story-telling platform. ISIS has proved to be very adept at using social media to tell their story. Their latest chapter comes in their recent movie "Flames of War"
 

Is the story ISIS is telling being used to warm or burn its audience? It is safe to say that the anti-ISIS coalition sees it as "burn" but how does the target audience of the video view and receive  it?

In his article, Gottschall writes "The best way to emotionally connect other people to our agenda begins with “Once upon a time…”  Is the ISIS story trying to be the "Once upon a time" for the Muslims, with the narrative being they are fighting for them in order to reinstate the Caliphate from the 7th century?

In addition to the questions posed above here are a couple more questions for the #CCLKOW discussion:

What is the anti-ISIS coalition story? How are they using digital media? Is this US State Department Video the message? http://youtu.be/-wmdEFvsY0E

Is this an effective counter to the ISIS story, or is there a better way?

“Tweet” your response with #CCLKOW

======
Jonathan Silk is a Major in the U.S. Army. He has served as a Cavalry Scout platoon leader , and has commanded both a Tank Company and an Infantry Company. He is currently an Academic Instructor and serving as the Operations Officer for the Center for the Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational Learning (CALDOL) at the United States Army Military Academy, West Point, NY. He was a recipient of the calendar year 2009 General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award.