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Posts Tagged ‘Military Leadership’

The injury we do and the one we suffer are not weighed in the same scales.
   ―  Aesop
[As an American, I would like to believe my President when he says we killed a foreign general (Iranian General Qasem Soleimani) who was in the process of ordering / organizing terrorist attacks on Americans in the middle east.  Unfortunately, my President (and his administration) is a known and shameless public liar.  He has lied so frequently and about so many things – both trivial and important – I simply cannot believe anything he says without independently verified, concrete, public proof.
While I have no evidence of it, my opinion is it is far more likely President Trump ordered the drone strike to provoke Iran into taking escalating “tit-for-tat” action which might distract the American public from the up-coming Senate impeachment trial.
While we currently have the most powerful military in the world, incompetent leadership has resulted in the loss of more than one (otherwise) superior force in world history.  I pray his (Trump’s) failure in leadership will not result in any losses (injury or lives) for our brave men and women who will have to pay the real price for his ill-considered decisions and orders.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
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2018 I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Form
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2012 How Many?
2011 Too Tired To Chat Much
2010 I Must Be Crazy!!

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Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned today (20 December 2018) – effective 28 February 2019, to allow time for a replacement confirmation.   Secretary Mattis (Retired Marine Corps General) resigned due to differences with the policies of President Trump.  Below is Secretary Mattis’ resignation letter (and transcript below that).
Page 1 of Sec. Mattis Resignation Letter
Page 2 of Sec. Mattis Resignation Letter
Dear Mr. President:
I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.
I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance.  Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.
One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.  While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.  Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world.  Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances.  NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America.  The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.
Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours.  It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model – gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions – to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies.  That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.
My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues.  We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.
Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.  The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February.  Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.
I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.
I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.
[Whenever a high-ranking military officer disagrees so fundamentally with the policy, course of action or directions being given by the President (Commander-In_Chief), it is their duty to resign from their position and bring their objections to the American public.  This is an “honorable” resignation.
In our nation’s history, there have been senior officers objecting to their political commander who have acted contrary to lawful policy and direction (both Democratic and Republican) and who have stayed in post and attempted to ameliorate policy / directions they objected to.  Only historians can judge whether these officers acted with honor (or not).
President Assad rules Syria and wishes us to leave so he can continue to crush his opposition and remain in power indefinitely.  Putin wants us to leave Syria to increase Russian influence in the area and to gain access to “warm-water” ports in Syria.  Iran wants us to leave Syria in order to establish an arc of influence through Iraq to Syria (and the Mediterranean).  Turkey wants us to leave in order to crush the Syrian Kurds (and along with them, the Turkish Kurds).  The Turkish Kurds assisted us in Iraq and are now doing the same in Syria.  They want us to stay.  The Syrian Kurds want our help and want us to stay.  Israel and Saudi Arabia foolishly support President Trump because they feel he will support them.  Between Israel and Russia, Trump will support Russia.  Saudi Arabia is the enemy of Iran because Iran is not Arab and because Iran believes in the Shiite version of Islam while the Saudi’s believe in the Sunni version.  Trump supports Saudi Arabia over Iran (in theory), but he doesn’t seem to realize the long term effect of increasing Iranian influence in Syria will be to the detriment of both Israel and Saudi Arabia.
As for ISIS / ISIL, they are one of the factions seeking to over-throw Assad.  They are Muslim and Assad is Ba’ath.  Assad seeks to destroy ISIL because that’s what he does to all of his enemies.
If the U.S. abandons Syria and the Kurds, we will pay for this policy failure for decades and generations ALL around the world – not just in the Middle East.
I happen to agree with President Trump, that we should get our troops out of Afghanistan and reduce our military footprint in the Middle East – not just Syria.  In Afghanistan, as soon as possible.  In Syria, only after we have secured land for the Syrian Kurds and, after that, for as long as the Kurds need our protection from Russia, Turkey and Iran – and, of course, from Assad.  Unfortunately, this may mean decades…
Israel and Saudi Arabia will pay for supporting President Trump.  Sooner or later he will turn on them, too.   After all, Trump is a snake, they know he is a snake, and to quote candidate Trump’s campaign speech:  “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”
Just sayin’…  —  KMAB]
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The most important thing a captain can do is to see the ship from the eyes of the crew.
  —  Captain D. Michael Abrashoff (Retired)
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Amid questions, here’s what we’re sure of in the USS Fitzgerald collision…
“On the sea there is a tradition older even than the traditions of the country itself and wiser in its age than this new custom.  It is the tradition that with responsibility goes authority and with them both goes accountability.”
It continues: “It is cruel, this accountability of good and well-intentioned men.  But the choice is that or an end of responsibility and finally as the cruel scene has taught, an end to the confidence and trust in the men who lead, for men will not long trust leaders who feel themselves beyond accountability for what they do.”
“And when men lose confidence and trust in those who lead, order disintegrates into chaos and purposeful ships into uncontrollable derelicts.”
  —  By John Kirby
From the article:  “Accountability, Navy Style”  Thursday, 31 July 2008
Found at:   http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/17/opinions/uss-fitzgerald-this-much-we-know-kirby/index.html
Originally from: http://conservativewahoo.blogspot.com/2008/07/accountability-navy-style.html
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A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.
     —  General John J. Pershing
[I really wish the Draft avoider in the Oval Office would stop defaming the character of a General who (by all accounts) seems to have been a decent man and a good commander.  I do not have a great deal of knowledge about General Pershing because I’ve never studied him or his achievements.  I have recently taken the time to read about President Trump’s “claims” (lies) about the General and the stores of how he supposedly dealt with Islamic fighters while he was commanding in the Philippines.  Trump’s lies were debunked during the 2016 campaign (when he first made them) and they are being exposed again after Trump’s latest tweets on the topic.  Our President doesn’t do our military forces or its historic leaders any honor when he dishonors their achievements with lies in the attempt to make himself out to be a “tough-guy” or strong-man leader.  It just illustrates how small a man he really is.   SAD…   —  KMAB]
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Early on, I had an experience that, if you’re interested, made me aware that I ought to be a little careful about what I said or did.
We were invited down to James J. Kilpatrick’s – Jack Kilpatrick’s – home down in Virginia for the Sunday lunch.  And the helicopter took us off the lawn here and in about 35 minutes or so, we were at his farm, landed.  And in walking to the house, Jack was telling me about how they’d been there for a few days, putting in the phones.
Well, this was a surprise to me.  And I said, “Wait – phones?”  And then he told me that I could reach anyone in the world from there.  And I said, “Well, you mean just to have lunch away from the White House, they have to put … Well, I guess it’s true, they do it for whatever might happen.”
But he was telling me that he didn’t believe them when they were putting in the phones, that they could reach anyone in the world.  And they said, “Well, name someone.”  Well, he had a son who was on guard in an embassy in the military in Africa.  And they got the son on the phone, and his mother got to talk to him and so forth.  So, he had another son that was an enlisted man and a quartermaster on the USS Pratt.
And he asked, “Well, okay, what about him?”  The Pratt was in the Mediterranean.  And they had to say to him no, they couldn’t get him because the fleet was on maneuvers.  And when the fleet was on maneuvers, only the White House could reach them.
When we got inside, I met the young man’s wife, the one that was on the destroyer – very lovely young lady and hadn’t seen her husband for months.
I went back out, said to these fellows, “Is this true, that I could reach someone on the USS Pratt?”  And they said, “Oh, yes, Sir.”  And I said, “Well, get him.”  And I went back in and got her.  And she got to talk to her husband.
I hadn’t really thought the thing through very much until I got a letter from him, the young man, and he told me what it was like when the fleet was on maneuvers.  I hadn’t even thought that the last part of the call has to go by air, and that the air is full of radio traffic – ships talking to ships, admirals talking to admirals.  And then a voice on the air said, “White House calling.”   And he said, “Someone said, ‘What code is that?’ ” And someone else says to him, “maybe it is the White House.”
And he said, “Even Hollywood couldn’t have silenced the air as quickly as it was silenced.”  And so the phone call went through.  And, of course, it must have been pretty public with the whole fleet listening in.
And in his letter, he then said this line, he said, “It was as if God had called the Vatican and asked for an altar boy by name.”
…  Suddenly – believe me, it sobered me a little bit to discover that I could just say this and then all of this could happen.  And I was almost scared to death of what I might have done to the fleet maneuvers.
   —  President Ronald Reagan
In a interview with Susan Watters of “M” magazine
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Like any art, the craft of battle requires proper tools, good craftsmanship and a little inspiration.  In this case, the proper tools are good weapons, sound tactics and effective organization.  Although these differ a bit from army to army, there is little to be gained by any one, or any combinations of them against a corresponding combination in the enemy’s bag.  In other words, systems, tactics and organization are about even.
What makes the difference in battle?  It is the excellence of the craftsmanship and the combined inspiration of soldiers and leaders.  It is the excellence of the training, the quality of the leaders and the courage of the soldiers, there is no doubt.  The problem is to get that courage harnessed in usable fashion and put to work on the battlefield.  That is a problem for leaders.  May I further suggest that the day of the instant hero is gone – the time when charisma alone can be made to suffice for technical skill and excellence in battle is past.  Certainly, this is so when one considers the number of competent leaders who will be required to win in modern war.  A few may be charismatic in addition to being technically competent; many, many more will not.  Therefore, the leader problem is likewise a training problem.  Quality leadership comes from sound training of leaders.
Sergeants are leaders.  Sergeants’ business is leadership.  Therefore, the sergeants must be trained as leaders – not as administrators.  The cement that binds together good weapons, sound tactics and effective organizations into winning battle teams is training.  Training develops excellence in the skills of leaders and soldiers, to the end that they have both the capability to fight the tough battles and win, and the conviction that they can and must fight hard and well, and that, if they do, and have a little luck, they will win against all odds.
   —  General Donn A. Starry
U. S. Army
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