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Why America’s Best Officers Are Leaving

Tim Kane, an Air Force Academy graduate and former Heritage Foundation scholar now at the Kauffman Foundation, has an important piece in The Atlantic examining “Why Our Best Officers Are Leaving.”  His exemplar is a former classmate of mine:

JOHN NAGL STILL hesitates when he talks about his decision to leave the Army. A former Rhodes Scholar and tank-battalion operations officer in Iraq, Nagl helped General David Petraeus write the Army’s new counterinsurgency field manual, which is credited with bringing Iraq’s insurgency under control. But despite the considerable influence Nagl had in the Army, and despite his reputation as a skilled leader, he retired in 2008 having not yet reached the rank of full colonel. Today, Nagl still has the same short haircut he had 24 years ago when we met as cadets—me an Air Force Academy doolie (or freshman), him a visiting West Pointer—but now he presides over a Washington think tank. The funny thing is, even as a civilian, he can’t stop talking about the Army—“our Army”—as if he never left. He won’t say it outright, but it’s clear to me, and to many of his former colleagues, that the Army fumbled badly in letting him go. His sudden resignation has been haunting me, and it punctuates an exodus that has been publicly ignored for too long.

Why does the American military produce the most innovative and entrepreneurial leaders in the country, then waste that talent in a risk-averse bureaucracy?

He looks to a report from the Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute and his own survey of West Point graduates for clues.  In the latter, “an astonishing 93 percent believed that half or more of ‘the best officers leave the military early rather than serving a full career.'”

Why is the military so bad at retaining these people? It’s convenient to believe that top officers simply have more- lucrative opportunities in the private sector, and that their departures are inevitable. But the reason overwhelmingly cited by veterans and active-duty officers alike is that the military personnel system—every aspect of it—is nearly blind to merit. Performance evaluations emphasize a zero-defect mentality, meaning that risk-avoidance trickles down the chain of command. Promotions can be anticipated almost to the day— regardless of an officer’s competence—so that there is essentially no difference in rank among officers the same age, even after 15 years of service. Job assignments are managed by a faceless, centralized bureaucracy that keeps everyone guessing where they might be shipped next.

The Pentagon’s response to such complaints has traditionally been to throw money at the problem, in the form of millions of dollars in talent-blind retention bonuses. More often than not, such bonuses go to any officer in the “critical” career fields of the moment, regardless of performance evaluations. This only ensures that the services retain the most risk-averse, and leads to long-term mediocrity.

When I asked veterans for the reasons they left the military, the top response was “frustration with military bureaucracy”—cited by 82 percent of respondents (with 50 percent agreeing strongly). In contrast, the conventional explanation for talent bleed—the high frequency of deployments—was cited by only 63 percent of respondents, and was the fifth-most-common reason. According to 9 out of 10 respondents, many of the best officers would stay if the military was more of a meritocracy.

[…]

The most blatantly anti-entrepreneurial aspect of the Army is the strict time-in-service requirement for various ranks. Consider the mandatory delay for becoming a general. Active-duty officers can retire after 20 years of service. But to be considered for promotion to general requires at least 22 years of service, and that applies to even the most talented and inspiring military officer in the nation.

John Nagl might have been that officer. His 2002 book, Learningto Eat Soup With a Knife, anticipated the kind of insurgency warfare America was likely to face in the new century, and it proved a prescient warning as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dragged on. After serving in Iraq, Nagl helped General Petraeus write the Army’s counterinsurgency doctrine in 2005 and 2006. Conventional wisdom holds that the “surge” broke Iraq’s insurgency the following year. But the surge was more than just the 30,000 or so additional soldiers and marines who were deployed. The key was instead a new emphasis on stability and development, inspired in large part by ideas laid out in Nagl’s book.

In 2008, Nagl hit the 20-year mark, and what happened? He retired. Since he was not yet a full colonel, let alone a general, it was clear that he could be more influential as a civilian. He is now the head of the Center for a New American Security, known in Washington as President Obama’s favorite think tank. Had he stayed in the Army, odds are he would have been a career colonel, or a professor at the Army War College. Now his work at CNAS regularly reaches the White House and the National Security Council. While I assumed the loss of Nagl would be seen as an outrage within the military, most officers I spoke to shrugged it off as typical.

In the current Army, promotion through lieutenant colonel is virtually automatic.  We simply need the manpower and are having difficulty keeping enough people in.   And Kane’s right: Despite being an obvious standout, John Nagl was exactly the same rank as everyone else from the Class of 1988 at the twenty year mark.   (Indeed, ridiculous as it sounds, spending three years at Oxford getting his DPhil likely hurt more than it helped, since he had one less “real Army” assignment on his record.)  The first chance to get ahead of the curve is at promotion to major and the second at promotion to lieutenant colonel.  And those only allow you to get one year ahead of your class.   Essentially, then, there’s no real differentiation between the top 1% and the most mediocre officers in the service until they’re in their 40s.

In this regard, the military is behind not only the private sector but the rest of government.   If Nagl had instead gone to, say, Yale and began his career at the Pentagon, State Department, or intelligence community at 22 (or, better yet, at 24 after completing his Rhodes Scholar work) he could have been a lieutenant colonel equivalent (GS-13) before he turned 30 and a general officer equivalent (SES/SIS) at 35.   DC is positively overrun with GS-15s in their 30s; there’s no such thing as a 35-year-old bird colonel.   And, while it’s rare to be in the Senior Executive/Intelligence Service at a very young age, it happens.

Interestingly, too, it wasn’t always this way with the American military.  As recently as World War II, it was possible to rapidly advance in rank during wartime.  We had battalion commanders  who were four years out of West Point.   Now, despite the fact that the American Army has been pretty much continuously deployed for two decades, everyone has to wait their turn.

Kane’s proposed solution is a radical overhaul of the personnel system; indeed, he turns it on its head.

In today’s military, individuals are given “orders” to report to a new assignment every two to four years. When an Army unit in Korea rotates out its executive officer, the commander of that unit isassigned a new executive officer. Even if the commander wants to hire Captain Smart, and Captain Smart wants to work in Korea, the decision is out of their hands—and another captain, who would have preferred a job in Europe, might be assigned there instead. The Air Force conducts three assignment episodes each year, coordinated entirely by the Air Force Personnel Center at Randolph Air Force Base, in Texas. Across the globe, officers send in their job requests. Units with open slots send their requirements for officers. The hundreds of officers assigned full-time to the personnel center strive to match open requirements with available officers (each within strictly defined career fields, like infantry, intelligence, or personnel itself), balancing individual requests with the needs of the service, while also trying to develop careers and project future trends, all with constantly changing technological tools. It’s an impossible job, but the alternative is chaos.

In fact, a better alternative is chaos. Chaos, to economists, is known as the free market, where the invisible hand matches supply with demand. The Strategic Studies Institute report makes this very point. “Giving officers greater voice in their assignments increases both employment longevity and productivity,” it concludes. “The Army’s failure to do so, however, in large part accounts for declining retention among officers commissioned since 1983.”

Here is how a market alternative would work. Each commander would have sole hiring authority over the people in his unit. Officers would be free to apply for any job opening. If a major applied for an opening above his pay grade, the commander at that unit could hire him (and bear the consequences). Coordination could be done through existing online tools such as monster.com or careerbuilder.com (presumably those companies would be interested in offering rebranded versions for the military). If an officer chose to stay in a job longer than “normal” (“I just want to fly fighter jets, sir”), that would be solely between him and his commander.

Now, I should note, the Army didn’t adopt its current personnel system in 1983.  Promotions and assignments have been centralized for decades.   So I’m not sure it’s the total explanation for the retention problem.

Regardless, I’m intrigued by Kane’s idea.   And, really, it’s not all that radical.  Indeed, it’s pretty much how the rest of the Federal Government manages personnel!  There are career GS-9s who just do their job with no thought toward moving up the management chain.   And there are eager beavers who become GS-15s by 30 and move into the executive ranks and/or become presidential appointees by the time their military peers are still waiting to pin on the silver oak leaves of a lieutenant colonel.

The obvious down side of this, however, is that it virtually invites cronyism.  Those who’d curried favor with the right mentors would move ahead, whereas those officers who either backed the wrong horse (say, their company and battalion commanders from their lieutenant and captain days got out of the service) or weren’t part of the Good Old Boy network would get shunted aside.   Depending on which wave was in favor, those who liked to hang out at the bar or at the Officers Christian Fellowship meetings would be In or Out.

Relatedly, it would privilege those officers whose view of the Army matched that of the current leadership.  Right now, it would presumably mean that the COINdinistas and acolytes of David Petraeus would move ahead of the old school Big Army types.   Five years ago, though, it would have meant just the opposite:  Those trying to upset the applecart would have been left behind, since those in position to make key hires would have felt threatened by those who wanted to transform their Army.

Still, the private sector, intelligence community, and diplomatic corps manage to rapidly promote the best and brightest despite those obstacles.*  And I do think the problem that Kane has identified — the inability to promote the superstars ahead of their peers during the first two decades of their careers — is a significant one that needs to be fixed.

But here’s the thing:  Despite the inability to retain the John Nagls of the world, our armed forces nonetheless manage to retain enough of its stars to produce some pretty terrific colonels and generals (and captains and admirals).  Like Nagl, Petraeus is a West Pointer with a prestige PhD.    Admiral Jim Stravridis, the current SACEUR, is a Naval Academy grad with a PhD and MALD from Tufts.   Most of the lieutenant colonels and colonels I meet — and I meet a lot — strike me a bright, competent officers.  And, again, this is in  an environment where promotion to those ranks is much less selective than it has been traditionally.

Kane cites Paul Yingling’s recent classic “A Failure in Generalship,” which argues that America’s military leaders made the same mistakes in Iraq as their predecessors did in Vietnam.  Namely,

First, throughout the 1990s our generals failed to envision the conditions of future combat and prepare their forces accordingly. Second, America’s generals failed to estimate correctly both the means and the ways necessary to achieve the aims of policy prior to beginning the war in Iraq. Finally, America’s generals did not provide Congress and the public with an accurate assessment of the conflict in Iraq.

Despite paying lip service to “transformation” throughout the 1990s, America’s armed forces failed to change in significant ways after the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Yingling argued that, “An understanding of the larger aspects of war is essential to great generalship. However, a survey of Army three- and four-star generals shows that only 25 percent hold advanced degrees from civilian institutions in the social sciences or humanities. Counterinsurgency theory holds that proficiency in foreign languages is essential to success, yet only one in four of the Army’s senior generals speaks another language.”   Like Kane, he attributes these flaws to the personnel system:  ”In a system in which senior officers select for promotion those like themselves, there are powerful incentives for conformity. It is unreasonable to expect that an officer who spends 25 years conforming to institutional expectations will emerge as an innovator in his late forties.”

Yet, while I agree with every bit of that, I’m not sure this is fixable.  Much less that it would be solved by Kane’s bottom-up promotion and assignment system.   Unless a David Petraeus or Jim Stavridis is doing the picking, what are the odds that a commander is going to prioritize graduate degrees and language skills?   Especially since, until the last 15 years, it was by no means obvious that these traits were desirable.

Furthermore, I’d argue that the more important flaw in our system as it stands today is that there simply isn’t any time for officers to acquire these skills.   The mid-career officers that I talk to have a hell of a time scheduling a War College assignment, much less civilian education and language training.  While those things were easy to do twenty years ago, today’s young officers are too busy being deployed to war zones and getting ready to redeploy to do much of anything else.   And, since going to grad school for a couple years comes at the expense of gaining combat experience, it’s quite likely that today’s battalion commanders would look askance at a captain with a new master’s degree from Princeton.

*UPDATE:   To come full circle on this, while I agree fully that the problems Kane and Yingling identify exist and largely agree with the causes they identify, I’m not at all convinced that the United States military does a worse job of promoting outstanding leaders than the private sector.

Indeed, I’m not even sure that it’s any worse at retaining superstars than are American corporations.   If John Nagl had gone to work for IBM or Microsoft 20 years ago, he’d doubtless be a wealthier man today.  And he’d likely have advanced more quickly relative to his peers.   But he may well have left those firms well before the 20 years he gave the Army.

All large organizations are bureaucratic and tend to look askance at those who haven’t paid their dues.   The military is just more ritualized, because there’s a set career path that requires certain tickets be punched, in terms of both assignments and schools.

Even in the think tank sector, John would likely not be running Brookings or CSIS had he been there 20 years.   He’s president of CNAS because he got in on the ground floor of the nascent operation and was tapped to take over two years later when its founders went into the administration.

Ultimately, the way a true superstar gets to the top in the private sector is to start his own company.   John did the next best thing.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    I will not make a privatization joke.

    Maybe I’d ask if the system has actually failed in any sense, given that we seem pretty solid in military capability. Criticism of military advancement might be coming out of the post Iraq and Afghanistan zeitgeist, but neither is a military failure by any means.

    We exact a horrible toll on our enemies with minimum cost in American lives.

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  2. Daniel says:

    Interestingly, you see a bit more of this flexibility in the Army National Guard. I just had to apply for a chance at a Company command, and while there are constraints (must be CPT or 1LT(P), the right branch and whatnot) it really is up to the BN Commander to select who he wants to take that unit. Of course, as described there is a good deal of the “good old boy” network in the Guard. But at least it isn’t just left to faceless S-1 person to select who they feel should fill a slot, it is left in the Commanders hand.

    I also got selected as XO because that was my Commanders choice, even though the other 1LT had me by TIG….

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  3. sam says:

    “I’d argue that the more important flaw in our system as it stands today is that there simply isn’t any time for officers to acquire these skills. The mid-career officers that I talk to have a hell of a time scheduling a War College assignment, much less civilian education and language training. While those things were easy to do twenty years ago, today’s young officers are too busy being deployed to war zones and getting ready to redeploy to do much of anything else.”

    It’s ironic, isn’t it? We find ourselves engaging in wars that prevent our officers for adequately preparing themselves to fight the kind of wars we find ourselves engaging in.

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  4. James Joyner says:

    @sam:

    I’m sure it’s always been thus. When you’re in a shooting war, you’re fighting. The time for training is ahead of time.

    And Yingling is right on this score: It was easily foreseeable (indeed, I was writing about it in grad school) in the early 1990s that we needed more civil affairs, language, intelligence, and other assets/skills appropriate to peacekeeping and special ops/low intensity conflict ops.

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  5. steve says:

    When I was up for major, I had to go get my picture taken. I was surprised to learn that the picture counted for a significant part of my promotion assessment, 10%-20% IIRC. That tells you something right there. I also saw of of my best fellow officers let go because they did not participate in enough extracurriculars.

    You articulate the problems well with Kane’s proposals, but the crony system is already in place for 0-6 and up. Not sure it would be that much worse if we instituted it for lower ranking officers. The problem would still lie with trying to retain and advance the true innovators. Maybe set up an alternate promotion board that would include Civilian business leaders who had prior military experience of less than 10 years would help. That way you would get input from people who did not succumb to the conformity that gets you promoted.

    As a pure retention issue, they should stop arbitrarily moving people every 4 years or so. Go to an incentive system to fill openings.

    Steve

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  6. sam says:

    “I’m sure it’s always been thus.”

    I wonder if it’s been like this, though. WWI and WWII were not counter-insurgency wars. WWII was essentially a war of annihilation. You really didn’t need an officer corps trained in languages and history (though we had that to some extent.) Korea was more like WWI, especially toward the end. Vietnam was the beginning of counter-insurgency war in the modern era. Desert Storm was a kind of throwback.

    I certainly agree with this, though: “When you’re in a shooting war, you’re fighting. The time for training is ahead of time.” If you’ll recall, sometime ago, I argued that had we followed the Marine theory of counter-insurgency warfare in Vietnam, instead of Westmoreland’s battalion -maneuver theory, the outcome might have been different. I realize that’s highly contentious.
    But I’m wondering how much of the mindset at the top was still informed by the battalion -maneuver model when the counter-insurgency model was becoming more and more important. (And I’d say our success in Desert Storm was more supportive of the battalion -maneuver model, and that fact may have not worked in our long-term best interests, given the kinds of wars we’re in now.)

    You were a young officer in Desert Storm. When you were going through training, was the emphasis on large unit maneuver or on counter-insurgency, or some mix of both?

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  7. ponce says:

    “In this regard, the military is behind not only the private sector but the rest of government. ”

    Yeah, nobody mediocre ever gets promoted in the private sector…and nobody has an ass-covering mentality in it either.

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  8. James Joyner says:

    @sam: In my era, everything was Big War. AirLand Battle. The Soviets. Tanks and maneuver. COIN was something they did back in my dad’s day in Vietnam (which, as it happens, was more recent then than Desert Storm is now). The only people who did COIN then were running around in green berets.

    @ponce: See my UPDATE. But, to be fair, I was making a very narrow point there: The private sector makes it easier for true superstars to get ahead of their peers more quickly than the Army.

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  9. ponce says:

    “The private sector makes it easier for true superstars to get ahead of their peers more quickly than the Army.”

    I’m not sure that’s true, James.

    Most corporate “superstars” have to leave for another company or start their own company to get ahead.

    Within most companies they are generally feared, held back and back stabbed at every opportunity…

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  10. Davebo says:

    “Nagl hit the 20-year mark, and what happened? He retired.”

    Not exactly uncommon. And practically a given when you have Heritage waiting to add you to the wingnut welfare roles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  11. James Joyner says:

    @Davebo:

    I think the point is that Nagl has all the skills and training you’d want of a general officer and yet his career ended before he got the chance.

    And CNAS was founded by two former Clinton staffers now in the Obama administration. If anything, it’s a Democratic-centrist outfit. It’s certainly not “wingnut.”

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  12. “If John Nagl had gone to work for IBM or Microsoft 20 years ago, he’d doubtless be a wealthier man today. And he’d likely have advanced more quickly relative to his peers. But he may well have left those firms well before the 20 years he gave the Army.”

    I would go one further and phrase that as “He almost certainly WOULD have left those firms well before the 20 years he gave the army.”

    One of the reasons the private sector folks end up making so much more money is because they jump ship from time to time when they get a better offer. A military career doesn’t really lend itself to that.

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  13. It is a mistake to think that the private sector is a policy monolith the way the US military is. Just because there are so many companies and industries there are bound to be many more types of opportunities and philosophies for developing and retaining talent.

    Some big companies (GE and P&G come to mind) go out of their way to identify talent, nurture it, and provide rotational assignments within the company (just like the military) to make sure these leaders are able to assume major corproate responsibility when their time comes. In any large organization, building relationships is important and that takes time, not just talent. The ability to strike out on your own is something that for all intents and purposes isn’t really possible in the military, but at the same time if you want to work in some fields or enterprises, you really cannot do it except inside a much larger corporate structure.

    The technological superstar is only one kind of talent, but that seems to be all that gets focused on in these kind of comparisons.

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  14. superdestroyer says:

    What John Nagl wants is a military where he would have nothing but high profile assignments while the nuts and bolts work is left to others. It is the same as much as law firms or Wall Street where the starting conditions determine where a few get lucky at the beginning and everyone else is seen as a loser.

    John Nagl wanted to be like Colin Powell who got to spend decades in DC and a few months outisde of DC. The problem is how does the Army have a Fort Hood or Fort Bragg if none of the top officers want to be assigned there.

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  15. James Joyner says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I don’t know John very well, even though our paths have crossed many times since we met as 18-year-old plebes. But your characterization of him is unfair. He did combat tours in Desert Storm and Iraq and commanded a battalion at Fort Riley.

    The problem is that, after 20 years, he was still a LTC waiting for promotion to COL and a brigade command. But, immediately upon getting out, he was writing policy briefs that influenced presidential decisions. He’s got more influence now than most 4-star generals.

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  16. DC Loser says:

    @James – Contrast him with, say, H.R. McMaster. Nagl saw the handwriting on the wall and that he wasn’t going to be picked up for O-6 first time in the zone, never mind below the zone.

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  17. john personna says:

    I didn’t get at first that this is a “personal growth” thread.

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  18. Brummagem Joe says:

    “We exact a horrible toll on our enemies with minimum cost in American lives.”

    Except when we have a serious opponent which has only been the case twice since 1945. As Andrew Bacevich points out , if our opponents aren’t pigmies, we tend to get into trouble fairly quickly. This whole debate is bit like motherhood, we’re all in favor of it. The US military’s promotion system is at least as good as that in the private sector or acadaemia. Is it perfect? Of course not. Is it ever going to change in any substantive way? Of course not.

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  19. James Joyner says:

    @Joe: “The US military’s promotion system is at least as good as that in the private sector or acadaemia. Is it perfect? Of course not. Is it ever going to change in any substantive way? Of course not.”

    It actually has changed, quite radically, numerous times over the years. It’s current, highly centralized and bureaucratic, model has only been with us maybe four decades.

    “As Andrew Bacevich points out , if our opponents aren’t pigmies, we tend to get into trouble fairly quickly. ”

    I’d be interested to see what Bacevich actually said, in context. It’s certainly true that we’ve had trouble fighting large scale counterinsurgencies. But even in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan our forces have in fact extracted a huge toll on those of the enemy, killing them at an extraordinarily high rate in relation to our own casualties. The problem is that killing bad guys by the bushel doesn’t necessarily win you the war.

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  20. DC Loser says:

    But even in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan our forces have in fact extracted a huge toll on those of the enemy, killing them at an extraordinarily high rate in relation to our own casualties. The problem is that killing bad guys by the bushel doesn’t necessarily win you the war.

    Yeah, the Wehrmacht had that same problem :) If your metric is how many you kill (body counts) and ignore political objectives, then you’re bound to fail sooner or later no matter how many you kill. The US military need to get out of the mindset of these phony metrics (and the current fad on force protection) and really try to figure out the political objectives of the wars we are fighting.

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  21. Paul K. Wyatt says:

    I’ve read all the SSI papers on Officer Retention, etc. I’m a West Point Graduate year group 08′ and a 1LT in the Engineers and currently on my second deployment to Iraq. I was an economics major who studied under MAJ Lyle (key developer in the SSI study). I recommend the book Utility of Force – The Art of War in the Modern World, by General Rupert Smith. The general arguement in the military over wheather we should gear towards a “Big War” or a “Limited War” mind-set. I would make this argument. World War II was the pinnical in total war. If a World War III was fought today it would be over in two weeks. The techonlogical advancements in weaponry would ensure total destruction of all military targets very quickly. War progression throughout history has gone from limited to total back to limited. The Clauswitz trinity (people, state, military) dictates how war is fought. The will of the people of the United States would be very hard pressed to tolerate the type of destruction a total war could facilitate in terms of human cost. If this assumption is correct then the application of force with the military must be given at a limited level. In WW2 the mind-set was to use force to unleash as much destruction as possible. It is the exact opposite now. An officer now must weigh all consideration before unleashing the power of the Soldier’s he commands.
    In terms of limited war, if the U.S. Military is to be used in that capacity, it is important to look at the political and economic aspects of the force. Can the U.S. afford another Iraq or Afghanistan? I would argue it can not given the cost of fighting a “Nation building war” in terms of dollars, at least not for several decades. So,1LT Wyatt what’s your point? If the U.S. Military is to access, retain, develop, and employ talent in order to fight and win the nations wars, the top military leadership needs to make a decsion as to what capacity the military is to be used. The problem with this is the enemy always gets a vote, as the saying goes. People look to the first Gulf War as an example that we need to gear our military towards a conventional force on force type of battle. Saddam made the gravest of errors given he fought the U.S. in a way that played only to our strengths. The answer is to have agile innovative leaders that take innitiative to accomplish the mission: Singling out Talent over Competence. Talet means as DC loser put it: “figure out the political objectives of the wars we are fighting.”

    in terms of Military dogmatic practices, we are not in a Cold War. Officer’s are paid to think and accept risks IOT accomplish the mission. Give power to young leaders and they will astound you at their ability to critically think through a problem. Deployment is a way to escape the Dogma. Try running a range in home station. You have to jump through hoops just to fire your weapon. It de-incentivizes training. If an Officer is worth his/her weight they will not allow “safety” violations to occur, and no matter what a person says a cut and paste risk assessment does nothing to mitigate risk. I have found that practices carried over from a peace-time army that are still in place in garrison are not applicable in combat. To often adaptive leaders are told to “shut up and color” because of risk adverse officers.

    Managing Officers: No one wants to serve under a less talented individual than themselves. That leads to job dis-satisfaction, and I believe is the case with many of my peers who are leaving the army.

    Just some thoughts from a LT’s perpective, but I could talk for days on this subject.

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