Small Wars Journal

Disruptive Thinkers: A Face for Radio

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 6:08am

Amidst a very busy schedule this weekend, I'll be on CDR Phibian Salamander's weekly radio show, Midrats.  It will be on from 5-6 PM Eastern time on Sunday 10 June (that's 1700-1800 for those of you who are brainwashed and not disruptive).  The topic will be disruption, dysfunction, and leadership.  As my son says, if you don't have haters, you're doing something wrong, so all you supporters and haters tune in for what will either be an exposition of the nuance I see in the disruptive thinkers issue, or an exposition that radio is not as easy as it seems as I fumble for words on my first go-round.  The link to more details on the show can be found here.  Go to that link to figure out how to listen.  It is also available on podcast.

Categories: disruptive thinkers


Outlaw 09

Mon, 06/11/2012 - 2:50pm

If one looks at one of the core tenants of Mission Command---- you will notice that the Cmdr must focus on team building and trust if MC is to succeed.

Where there is a trust level in a Staff creative/critical thinking tends to occur---where there is no trust---all the articles/training about creative/critical thinking and all the training sessions about team building are wasted.

I think that where units were highly creative in Iraq you found a high degree of trust among the staff/Cmdr---and among those units where the Staff and the Cmdr failed to trust each other--- not much in the way of creative activities occurred while they were in Iraq.

We talk a good game using the word trust, but do we the Army do a good job in creating trust?

One of the issues concerning Design (which is really creative thinking) is that it can only be successful if trust exists within a staff--.

Mike Few

Mon, 06/11/2012 - 7:48am

I thought the most striking argument Peter made was if we consider what goes wrong when you have a monopoly– either in economic power (US) or military power (US Army). Monopoly in bureaucracy tends to lead to protecting the status quo and assuming that one is benevolent (think of Ma Belle (AT&T) back in the early 20th century).

So, how can this culture change?

1. External Stakeholders. In this case, Congress could cut funding, change the mission, change the senior leadership, or reorganize the force.

2. Senior Leadership. A dynamic senior leader can force systematic change. Mike Flynn could be one example in the intel world (time will tell). GEN Dempsey's decisions as CJCS could be another.

3. Mid-Level Management. In this case, field grade officers (in mass) can affect change.

4. Most Dangerous Course of Action. Culture does not change until we face a huge defeat in war where the crisis forces the change.

Fire them up! The Pentagon Establishment will viciously attack the career of anyone who offers a good idea. They will even attempt to throw a reformer in jail on specious, manufacturered charges. We saw what the establishment attempted to do to Col. Boyd, Col. Burton, Col. Wyly, GS-15 Gayl, COL. Yingling, COL Hackworth, others. The Pentagon Establishment will cling to power even when they are out of ideas.

Break a leg Peter, the disruptive thinkers series rates up there with Dave Kilcullen's posts from Baghdad when he was the senior counterinsurgency adviser to Petraeus. Both series were watershed moments for SWJ and I am most appreciative of your Herculean efforts here. BZ and S/F - Dave D.