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 …

Being a Rebel Leader: Disciplined Disobedience in the Army

First off, no, this is not a discussion on the merits of leaders within the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars universe, though if it were, I'd have to say that the Rebel leadership had very few merits and we should probably not emulate their chaos-based approach to warfare. What's I'd like to talk about is disruptive …

The Military “Give a S**t” Spectrum

Let’s face it: the Army can be a place that wears you down, both physically and mentally. It takes a special kind of person to be able to take the brand of crazy that the Army pushes year after year and walk away from it relatively unscathed. As such, it seems like you usually get …

7 Characteristics of Highly Successful Non-Commissioned Officers

As an Army officer, I tend to spend a lot of time talking about, well, talking about officer things. And no, that does not mean discussing polo, the price of cufflinks, sipping brandy, and thinking of ways to make our NCOs lives harder, as some circles might believe. Although the brandy thing isn’t too far …

A Leadership Vacuum: “The Last Jedi” and Mission Failure

SPOILERS AHEAD. Most determine the great struggle in Star Wars to be that between the Light and Dark sides of the Force. But from a military perspective it has always been between a highly regimented Empire and a loosely organized Rebel force. And even within these communities there have been contentions as to how best …

Guest Post: It Takes A Leader: Successful Integration of Combat Arms

Today’s guest post comes from Barefoot Boomer. Boomer is a career Army officer and strategist. He is also a historian with an emphasis in American and German military history.  The content and opinions of this article are the author’s only and do not reflect the opinions of the United States Army or the Department of Defense. Prologue:  …

War as a Human Endeavor: How do we train for that?

“War is a human endeavor—a fundamentally human clash of wills often fought among populations. It is not a mechanical process that can be controlled precisely, or even mostly, by machines, statistics, or laws that cover operations in carefully controlled and predictable environments. Fundamentally, all war is about changing human behavior. It is both a contest …

Taking Care of Soldiers: What Does that Mean?

Cover photo: Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, U.S. Army Pacific commanding general speaks with a Soldier currently training on the Gulkana Glacier near Black Rapids, Alaska, March 10, 2015. (Sean Callahan/US Army) Taking care of Soldiers. That’s a favorite catch-phrase used by leaders, usually of the sergeants major variety, to describe any number of things: extra duty, …

What’s in a Name? Blogging under a Pseudonym

Fezzik: "Why do you wear a mask? Were you burned by acid or something?" Westley: "Oh no. It's just they're terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.” -The Princess Bride Ever since I started writing under the guise of Angry Staff Officer, I've had a lot of people ask me, …

Full Spectrum Professional Development

  Like many junior officers, I hear a lot about “professional development.” We hear about it from senior leaders, it is almost always on our officer evaluations, we are told to develop our subordinates, and we assume that leader development exists...somewhere. Some of us have even been developed professionally, apparently. Most often, however, it seems …