The Legend of Korra – An Insurgency Masterclass

This article contains significant spoilers for Season 1 of The Legend of Korra Season 1 of The Legend of Korra is an insightful depiction of a counterinsurgency campaign which should be required watching for security studies students everywhere. It captures key elements of how insurgencies operate and highlights common pitfalls of counterinsurgents in a compact …

Army Organizational Issues that Prevent Talent Management

There's a lot of talk about recruiting and retention in the Army these days, as we try to build the right force for whatever lies in the future. Without a doubt, we need to have the right people in the right places. But too often we are hidebound by organizational issues or habits that keep …

Thanksgiving Operations Order

OPORD 11-26-21 (OPERATION TURKEY DAY) (U) SITUATION. Thanksgiving holiday necessitates high intake of Class I itemsTerrain and weather: White and drifted snow; biting wind MISSION. Your unit moves to Grandmother's House IOT complete Pumpkin Pie consumption operations EXECUTION.Scheme of Movement and Maneuver: Over the river and through the woodCoordinating instructions: The horse knows the way …

A Veterans Day Carol: Being a Ghost Story of Veterans Day

With all due apologies to Charles Dickens. Marley was dead: to begin with. There was no doubt ever about that. Marley and Scrooge had been buddies ever since basic training. They’d shared a bunk together. But now, Marley was dead. As dead as a door-nail. Okay, not actually dead-dead, just dead on social media, where …

Forget Love in the Time of Cholera, How About Assessment in the Time of COVID-19?

Assessment is how the military determines “the overall effectiveness of employing capabilities during military operations.”. That said, the military does not practice this dark art well. If an objective is clear-cut, measuring its performance is also straightforward. Broader objectives cause problems. This was the challenge in Iraq. It was also at the heart of the …

Mental Health in the Military: A Parable

Sometimes, as you trod along the road of life, you look up, trying to get a glimpse of what lies ahead. Sometimes it's dark and gloomy, and you realize it's been been growing so for some time. There isn't much to see. Peering through the murk is exhausting, as is trying to navigate with the …

5 Ways the Military is an Absurdist Organization

Most people think of the military as a no-nonsense place, where everyone is filled with rigid discipline and chock-full of common sense. And while that might be the image that we often like to have portrayed of ourselves, there's a lot more that goes on that would definitely elicit a few, "WTFs" if they were …

A Tarnished Legacy: Confederate Battle Honors and the Army National Guard

On July 18, 2020, an African-American woman took command of a military unit that once used to be part of rebel general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's famous "Stonewall Brigade." Captain Candice Bowen became the first woman to command an infantry company in the Virginia National Guard, assuming command of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment. …

How “Scrubs” Characters are Basically Your Military Unit

Sure, at first glance, you wouldn't think that a TV show about a doctors, nurses, and a crazy janitor at teaching hospital would have anything to do with the military. However, both the military and the medical professions have a lot in common: life and death decisions, long periods of boredom punctuated with brief moments …

Put Down Clausewitz, Pick Up Pratchett 

Step aside Clausewitz, a new thinker has entered the professional military education (PME) ring – Sir Terry Pratchett.  Military theory and history are the bedrock of PME. They should remain so. However, popular fiction, even books which at first blush have very little to do with the military, can contain very useful insights for leaders. …