Small Wars Journal


What Caesar Told His Centurions: Lessons of Classical Leadership and Discipline for a Post-modern Military

Wed, 01/02/2013 - 5:30am

Roman discipline was built upon a belief in the virtues of austerity and frugality, the dignity of labor and an acceptance of hardship – but tempered by a willingness to acknowledge the basic humanity of soldiers and not to castigate them for sins they committed away from the battlefield.

About the Author(s)

A Breakdown in Discipline?

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 6:19am

The New York Times asks if the recent list of troubling cases from Afghanistan stem from a fundamental breakdown in discipline.  Worth your time to read and consider.


Officers and analysts express concerns that some of these isolated units are falling prey to diminished standards of behavior and revert to what one combat veteran described as “Lord of the Flies” syndrome, after the William Golding novel portraying a band of cultured British schoolboys reverting to tribal violence when severed from society.

“Some of these incidents certainly seem to be the fault of a breakdown in leadership at the small-unit level,” said Andrew Exum, a defense policy analyst at the Center for a New American Security who teaches a course on irregular warfare at Columbia University.