Small Wars Journal

General Martin E. Dempsey in Four Slides

General Martin E. Dempsey in Four Slides. BLUF: "Every morning on the way to work, I walk past the pictures of all the former Chiefs, and then I drive past row after row of the headstones in Arlington National Cemetery. If you find me eager to get things done, that's why."


Army General Picked for Joint Chiefs, Sources Say
Published May 25, 2011
| Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Two people familiar with President Barack Obama's search for a new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff say he has chosen Army Gen. Martin Dempsey.
The two spoke on condition of anonymity because the White House has not announced the decision, which is expected to be made public next Tuesday.
Dempsey is a surprise choice because he just began a four-year term as Army chief of staff on April 11. If confirmed by the Senate, he would succeed Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, whose term ends Oct. 1.

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Carl Smith (not verified)

Wed, 05/25/2011 - 6:54pm

I wish we had more leadership with infantry combat experience instead of managers. The current Chief has no combat experience, the new Commandant of the Marine Corps (for the first time) has no infantry combat experience.

Here's hoping we are not getting politicians who want to send men into battle who have never been with men in battle. Yes, I know that is PC incorrect, but woman are not yet officially allowed in infantry units.

Paul Olsen (not verified)

Fri, 04/15/2011 - 8:53am

I'm glad to see that GEN Dempsey distilled his thoughts and philosophy into his inter-related focus areas for the Army under his watch. The human dimension and leader development are critical areas we as an Army must address if we want to build the right force for the next 10-15 years. What struck me as most unusual about the CSA's focus area slide was the mention of the squad instead of the platoon or company. Perhaps he sees this as the building block and regards this a the foundation for future operations. I'm curious to see how this is operationalized in the DOTMLPF arena.

The human dimension and leader development also seem to address that area as well, but I viewed this through the lens of a recent report that raised issue of junior officer retention. The report, JUNIOR MILITARY OFFICER RETENTION: Challenges & Opportunities, was authored by two graduate students at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and provides a summary of former and serving officer perspectives on their professional development and career progression. Granted, the survey is not Army specific, but I found its findings of interest. Specifically, the topics of business enterprise when it comes to assignments and the perception that the military's "bureaucratic" personnel policies are a factor in why some of those officers left the service.

If we're going to continue to operate in an environment typified by complexity and uncertainty, the "one size fits all" model for leader development and assignments do not make much sense since we don't seem to identify and develop our leaders or provide them with broadening experiences outside of the military until mid-career.


Thu, 04/14/2011 - 4:24pm

Don't we caution Soldiers continuously about using Facebook and other social media sites? Not sure there's a better alternative for GEN Dempsey. However, he won't be hearing from me - as I don't use Facebook.

Interesting idea though.

Jason Thomas

Thu, 04/14/2011 - 3:02pm

I find it interesting. He doesn't use power point as a shield that tells you what to think but as a tool to generate dialogue. God knows we need more thought when addressing complex problems and less checklists.
By the way he has a facebook page and is asking some interesting stuff.

It might get interesting there.


An' on a mouse (not verified)

Thu, 04/14/2011 - 11:26am

dislike powerpoint in a powerpoint brief?
Makes many good statements in one.

Willing to do disliked tasks to accomplish missions - "no tolerence to whining" includes himself.
Succinctness demonstrates correct use and prevents "death of message by powerpoint"

Read-aheads, expectations, alternatives, everyone's opinion, and other things can reduce meeting times and powerpoints or increase efficiency.

If I could say so much in one bullet, I would not be rambling now.


Thu, 04/14/2011 - 12:46am

The last slide has four items that are catch-alls for distractions, more mandatory training, chain teaches, and more paperwork for leaders.

It is unfair to GEN Dempsey, but after watching some Div and Corps Cdrs, as well as several BN and BCT Cdrs in Iraq all go off in different directions, try to re-write the book of war, contradict and countermand each other, and work toward everything but a unified message and end state - I just can't take anything from the GOs without the proverbial grain of salt. It all comes across as well chosen words that will not be backed up by deeds.

That being said, I hope that GEN Dempsey proves to be the exception and that he follows through on the sentiments and ethos he outlines in those slides. I love being in the military and it's disheartening to see so many of our senior leaders focused on nothing but the next promotion. I hope GEN Dempsey can bring some much needed changes.

cjr (not verified)

Wed, 04/13/2011 - 11:17pm

I would expect every 2nd Lt on up to have the same 4 slides. It's about as basic leadership101 as you can get.

Ghikas (not verified)

Wed, 04/13/2011 - 4:26pm

What's significant is that it's a grand total of four slides. So yes, I believe it.

Ray Kimball (not verified)

Wed, 04/13/2011 - 2:54pm

"You may have heard that I dislike powerpoint. Its true."

Does anyone else find it odd to see that in a slideshow?