Assuming Command: A Guide for Incoming Company Commanders

Well, look at you. You got selected for command. First off, congratulations, you've been given an awesome trust: the lives of America's fighting women and men. There's really nothing so amazing as this. Secondly, say gooooodbyyyyyyye to your free time, 'cause the unit owns you now, baby! But hey, it's all good. You're going to …

Readiness in the Time of Coronavirus

We spend a lot of time in the Army talking about readiness. But what does readiness look like in the face of a pandemic? Do we stop training? Stop pushing out new equipment? Where does one draw the line when it comes to providing a trained and ready force, while also looking after the health …

Take a Knee and Drink Water: Mental Health in the Army

There’s a saying in the Army: “Take a knee, pull security, and drink some water.” Some extra-caring people might even add, “Rub some dirt on it.” If your medic is extra loving, they might even tell you to change your socks. It’s what you say when someone gets injured or otherwise incapacitated, usually out in …

The Case Against Starbuck: Why Talent is Not Enough

                For anyone who watched television in the early 2000s (oh, woe be upon us before the era of on-demand, streamable drama), Battlestar Galactica was a staple of the weekly line up. For anyone who was not an avid fan, the show featured an ensemble cast and their struggle against the Cylons, a race of …

The Importance of Being a Self-Aware Leader

"You're in the Army, you must not have any problems being assertive. You just say things and people do them, right?" Sitting in my counselor's office, these words fell on my ears and caused me to smile. Even in parts of the public where people are more familiar with the military, the idea of the …

What Going Back to Tech School Taught Me About Being an NCO

By Sergeant M Once you graduate from your initial technical school training, you take a final look out the rearview mirror and confidently state “I’m never coming back here again.” Until you come back seven years later for a course taken en route as a requirement for your next assignment……and you find yourself right back …

Learning from Bad Examples: When Poor Leadership Can Be Valuable

By Sergeant Swivel Responsibilities of Leadership In many organizations, one of the primary duties of leaders is to develop their subordinates. Air Force Handbook 36-2618, “The Enlisted Force Structure,” or, as it’s known among Airmen, “The Little Brown Book,” lays out responsibilities associated with each tier of the enlisted forces, making sure to note that …

Ethics: the Leader’s Struggle

So. I've been thinking about how there seems to be problems within the general officer/flag officer ranks when it comes to ethics - as in, the violations of ethics, specifically. And for a long time I've wondered how that happens. Then I took command. Let's talk for a sec about this. So I'm currently just …

When the Force is Not With You: Mentorship and Star Wars

We talk a lot about mentorship in the military, but for most of us, we don’t have a good example of what that even looks like. It’s not as though there are mentors dropping from the sky to deliver words of wisdom whenever we need them. No, we’re more likely to end up Googling our …

Mentorship: Cross-Component Leader Development

Guest post by XO of XOs Knowledge diffusion and leader development in the Army is at best, a slapdash effort.  You finish the appropriate schooling level--maybe rotating through a leadership position, or not--and then get dropped into your newest assignment.  Primary Staff, Command, on occasion the officer in charge of the officer (I had one …