A Socratic Dialogue with a Staff Officer

Way back in the hazy days of Army history (1905), there existed a mythical bird: the Oozlefinch. First sighted by inebriated denizens of the Coast Artillery Corps Officer’s Club at Fort Monroe, Virginia, the Oozlefinch was quickly adopted by that corps as their mascot. Allegedly featherless but with large eyes with which to see the …

If U.S. Wars were Arrested Development Characters

Let's be honest, we all watch far too much television. In the old days, when our ancestors had no electricity and far too many brain cells, they occupied their time by reading silly things like the Iliad and other such classics. Because of this, they were able to associate current events with Classical literature, forming …

The Art of Control

This post is part of the discussion begun by @rkranc at his site The Stable of Leadership. This discussion centers on the issue of control in leadership: how do you delegate authority, what are your concerns when doing so, and how do you mitigate these concerns, or risks? At this point in the professional development …

The Caliphate Strikes Back: Star Wars and the Islamic State

As one famous general once said, “Every military scenario is best explained using a Star Wars metaphor.” Okay, so maybe no general ever said it, but rest assured, if by some miracle I am ever given a star, it will be the first thing out of my mouth. In Episode IV, “A New Hope,” the …

What if We Had a War and No One Knew?

This post first appeared on the blog Point of Decision.  As I write this, the U.S. military is involved in armed and lethal operations in Iraq and Syria. While not officially a war, it is the most significant and — I hate to use the word — kinetic operation the military is involved in. Why then, as a member …

Drunken Disaster at Harper’s Ferry

On the morning of September 15, 1862, the fate of the Civil War was held in the hands of Union Brigadier General Dixon S. Miles. Those hands were probably shaking slightly that morning, although not from fear, but from the delirium tremens. You see, Miles was a drunk.  A graduate of West Point, Miles had not done his …

Remembering Pain: 9/11 and Collective Memory

Edited September 11, 2016. We were fifteen. The colors in the trees reflected summer, not autumn, although the air held a fall crispness. We were at home, which for us who were homeschooled, meant we were at school. We wanted the work to be done so that we could run off to read, or play computer …

History: The Overlooked Military Discipline

This article first appeared on Point of Decision, August 24, 2015. Rock of the Marne. 3rd Infantry Division, WWI. DA Picture. There are several governing metrics for unit commanders in the Army: physical fitness, marksmanship, and military education. Each Soldier is required to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test, qualify on their assigned weapon, and be trained …

Remembering the Civil War: Or Forgetting It

April 9th marked the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee's surrender of his Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant’s combined Army of the Potomac and Army of the James.  This is fact that we can all agree on regarding the events at Appomattox Court House.  And that’s about it.  Southerners believe that Appomattox should …

Memory as an Engagement Area, and what memory tells us about ourselves

Last week on the Twittersphere, a discussion began on the impact of sensory perception on memory.  It was started with this tweet: https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564959464034668544 https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564960295001804800 https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564962272624525312 You can see the tweet he was referring to, and the subsequent discussion, by clicking on the link, but in short, it was a photo of a dead Taliban commander …