Fixing Veterans Day

On Veterans Day, at my son’s request, I sat in a crowded elementary assembly as part of a Veterans Day ceremony.  I listened uncomfortably to fifth and sixth graders repeat what they had been taught in their classrooms about veterans and about military service: that veterans represent the best our country has to offer, that …

Warfighter: Helm’s Deep

Enemy forces in depth. Mass over maneuver. As an engineer officer, I care passionately about just a few things: castles, engineer buttons, and combined arms breaching. And while there were no engineer buttons at Helm's Deep - a simple oversight, I'm sure - that engagement encompasses a wide swathe of engineer lessons learned. Yes, this …

Pandora’s Inbox: The Army and Social Media

It's become cliche to say that social media is changing the world that we live in. But what the hell, I live for cliches, so let's go for it. I guess it would be more accurate to say that social media has already changed that world, and we just haven't seen all the effects yet. …

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory on Wakanda

By Matthew Ader Captain Roger’s performance at the Battle of Wakanda has been widely and rightly panned. But nothing has been said about the profound failures of his enemy, the Thanosians. Despite every possible advantage in manpower, materiel, and circumstance, they still failed. All students of the military art should examine how they so masterfully …

Getting the Elephant in the Room to the Front Lines: Engineer Sustainment at JRTC

Sustainment. It’s always the elephant in the room; the thing that “warfighters” don’t want to talk about. Neglect it, however, and maneuver suddenly ceases, combat support can’t support, and the whole operation collapses. So how do we get that elephant from the brigade support area to the front lines? Let me start, right off the …

If the U.S. Army had Elephants in the Civil War

In 1862, the King of Siam offered President Lincoln war elephants for the Civil War. Lincoln politely declined. But what if he hadn't? Artist rendering of guidons and equipment of the 1st Ohio Volunteer Pachyderms, by Dr. Nyri A. Bakkalian, @riversidewings The long, low lines of white pup tents, punctuated by the larger A-frame and …

Thaddeus Kosciusko: The Polish Engineer You Never Heard of who Saved America

So, we know all about the heroes of the American Revolution, right? George Washington, John Adams, Paul Revere – OK, well, not him, he was a good silversmith, an average errand rider, and a godawful general. But odds are you probably haven’t heard of Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kosciuszko. Nor can you spell it or pronounce …