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  1. #1
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Recruiting for SWC members because....

    I promise this is not a NPR or PBS funding drive

    However, we can tell by the number of new members and the number of visits to the site that clearly there are more people who come to read and consider what is being written, then those willing to participate. This is perfectly OK.

    However, I would like those both inside and outside the council to consider some rationale for greater participation.

    - I first came to the council back in the Summer of 06 at the advice of Tom Odom. While I was comfortable on CoPs (Communities of Practice), they had largely been confined to those limited to military participation. Immediately, I was exposed to guys like "Slapout, Steve Blair, Marc T" who provided me perspective in the areas of Law Enforcement and Cultural Anthropology which helped me tremendously to do my job working with indigenous forces in a COIN environment. I also met guys like John Bellflower who helped shape Joint Service perspective and development for future jobs. I also met some outstanding retired and contract workers who provide institutional and conventional wisdom as well, superb critical reason and logic, and often - unorthodox problem solving that conserve resources. I've also had the opportunity to consider and express my personal views in the light of others who differ - and I like to believe we have both benefited from these discussions.

    - Much of the knowledge that is shared often happens behind the scenes through PMing and emailing - once a person is identified as having a skill set, that person is often solicited on a 1:1 basis for specific thoughts or requests - we build knowledge in this way and form networks for problem sets.

    - Often a new member might be hesitant to express and opinion, so it stands to reason that a non-member might be hesitant to sign up to be a member. We often see posts where a new member qualifies their participation as being without experience or "in light of a prestigious group" - I have not figured that one out yet - but we'd prefer you not to feel that way - the concern or interest that brought you to the site, and willingness and energy to devote your time combined with your personal and professional experiences are very important to a nation at war in a world that has a suite of connected issues that effect us all in our every day lives. We only ask that when providing your argument - you do so with as little bias as possible, and use your best judgment as to how you reason.

    - Recently one of our (the Council's) new members asked a question about his value as a member given he was in the marketing field and not the uniformed service - I responded that his thoughts are invaluable to me as the many problems, conditions and challenges that face us revolve around people. In many ways - given the tendency for people to identify themselves with groups - a profession that advocates, sells and appeals may be more relevant then my own - if I show up in ACUs and my mustache it probably means we already have a serious problem - his opinion may help us avoid that.

    -Given that I was thinking about the many other professions that can us better understand our environment and challenges through the cycle of conflict prevention/preserving a peace, conflict resolution, conflict termination/implementing a lasting peace and came up with a list of professions I wish were represented here:

    Education Professionals - I'm talking from elementary teacher to high school principal to professors of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences.

    Medical Professionals
    - Doctors, nurses, nutritionists, administrators, Insurance agents, etc.

    An Economist - Understanding market forces is critical I believe.

    The NGO community - You have capacity and understanding that may help us avoid terrible consequences for all involved

    Geologists, meteorologists, climatologists, and Geographers - your understanding of the environment may help build capacity, consider options, identify problems and trends and understand the physical world which impacts lives.

    Civil Engineers, sociologists, and those who deal with people and where people live - This is about humans and their environment - your understanding about how people live is paramount to preserving the focus on people.

    Small business entrepreneurs - helping people to find independence in financial terms and preserve their dignity is one of the keys toward building tolerant, pluralistic societies free from that type of large scale violence and instability - people find much less to differentiate themselves from others if their basic needs are met.

    Journalist or media professional - you bring the perspective of considering and evaluating vast amounts of information and commenting on it for public consumption. You are in tune with how people listen and perceive and your objectivity may prevent miscommunication and adverse consequences.


    This list is not exhaustive and I apologize if I did not name a particular profession or interest. I hope you will consider that if you are engaged in something, you probably have something to offer. If you are wondering why you should offer your perspective freely - I suggest you consider the world that we live in. You need only Google a Friedman, a Kaplan, a Barnett, or Huntington - or anyone else who has considered the current world and its future to recognize that globalization is a continuing theme and that because of technology it is occurring faster - what goes on outside of where you live does impact where you live. Your efforts may help prevent or alleviate not only personal and wide spread suffering, but may make your own life, those of your family, friends, and citizens better. Yo may preserve and foment a better life for our posterity. It is certain that at times there will be friction and that we will disagree, that is OK - it is even healthy! I hope that if you can participate, or know someone who can participate and bring insights - then you will do so and urge them to do so.

    Best Regards, Rob Thornton
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 09-06-2007 at 05:28 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Agreed!

    I'm not a military member, nor do I play one on TV....

    However, I do work for ROTC, paid my dues as an Air Force brat, and have been interested in military history and theory since I was about eight years old. I've learned here, and hope that I've passed along the occasional speck of wisdom at the same time.

    Small wars are small only in terms of the number of troops committed. In terms of scope, impact, and resources (in a holistic sense, not just "dollars on target") they are very broad and touch on many areas of society and government that people don't necessarily think about. Our membership is already broad, but every new, thoughtful addition is welcome and needed.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  3. #3
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Rob

    Good post and I agree completely. We have a pool of knowledge here that covers the experience spectrum, the cultural gamut, and spans the globe.

    Best

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 09-06-2007 at 07:08 PM.

  4. #4
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    This might not be a bad sticky for new users to read. Speaking of which (because I can't remember) do you have to read the intro sticky before posting the first time? Is there a way to get the intro sticky to pop up before the first post, just to make sure?

    Having said that, I have no problem with others coming here and imparting wisdom. I do have problems with the drive bys and people who don't put their knowledge into a context (ie. no intro post, no user profile, etc). I think we do a good job as a council of policing these people up quickly and they, in turn, are quick to reply and correct. Is there a way to streamline the registration process or make profile completion a mandatory, "do not pass go" station before their first posts?
    Last edited by RTK; 09-06-2007 at 07:09 PM. Reason: other thoughts
    Example is better than precept.

  5. #5
    Council Member Graycap's Avatar
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    Hey Rob, reading from your post maybe I could be one SWC superstar!

    My curriculum:

    I'm from Italy

    Engineer graduated at Milan University in 1992

    Military experience: Army second lieutenant in Italian Army (artillery). At that time In Italy there was compulsory military service and I volunteered to serve as an official. That made my service duration longer. Not involved in any real operation (the only one active abroad at that time was Somalia) but I have taken part at my regiment's training for partecipation in the Army intervention in Sicily against Mafia's territorial control.

    Working position: small entrepreneur in heavy machinery maintenance (we work on cranes and aerial platforms)

    Part-time : I write, when I can find spare time, for an italian webzine http://www.paginedidifesa.it about coin and irregular warfare. This is the principal reason why I visit regularly this incredible site.

    Three different characters in one person...Maybe too much

    But as you can see my post count is running low..

    The reasons: First of all the very high level of dicussions. I'm here to learn. This community has so much experience embedded that I've nothing to add.
    Maybe it's difficult for you to imagine how this wall seems high.
    The second reason is my poor ability (my fault!) to write in english. I read perfectly this language but to write at the level requested by this forum is difficult.

    In this very moment I'm realizing that I never introduced myself in the dedicated thread ...I'm flying at the Tell Us About You topic in a second!

    Thanks to you all for your information and experience sharing. It's invaluable.

    And now back to lurking.

    Graycap

  6. #6
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Hi Greycap,
    Being from Tennessee, some might challenge my ability at English as well - reading your post it seems like you have very good command of the language indeed. I certainly understand you commitment to learn - however you have some incredible experience - as you get more comfortable with the council I hope you will benefit us all with that experience - but based on this:

    Not involved in any real operation (the only one active abroad at that time was Somalia) but I have taken part at my regiment's training for partecipation in the Army intervention in Sicily against Mafia's territorial control.

    Working position: small entrepreneur in heavy machinery maintenance (we work on cranes and aerial platforms)
    I already want to hear what you have to say

    My Best Regards, Rob

  7. #7
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Don't spend all your time lurking

    Some -- most -- Italian equipment is top class and from an engineering standpoint is worthy of discussion and emulation. The application tactically being the goal of discussing...

    Plus the Carabinieri experience has some lessons.

  8. #8
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    Default Re Profiles

    Having just found this site I am interested in RTK's comment above re. profiles. I have no relevant specialist knowledge. I am a moderator on another completely unrelated site (about disease tracking H5N1 etc.) and have found many of the regular non-specialist posters make some of the most interesting - and knowledgeable - posts. While it is interesting to know if they are virologists or epidemiologists etc. I try to take each post on its own merits and not worry too much about the posters academic back ground, there are plenty of well credentialed 'experts' making factually incorrect statements.

    I am British, a computer consultant, and my interest - in this area - relates to the foreign policies of Nation States and their global impact. As the US is the biggest player in this arena and its foreign policy seems to have an increasingly military face this site looks like it will be a very useful source of data.

  9. #9
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    JJ,
    You read like value added to me based on your solely on your ability to reason - however your IT skills, understanding of CoPs and the subject matter you cover on the other board will be of great use.

    ref:
    and have found many of the regular non-specialist posters make some of the most interesting - and knowledgeable - posts. While it is interesting to know if they are virologists or epidemiologists etc. I try to take each post on its own merits and not worry too much about the posters academic back ground, there are plenty of well credentialed 'experts' making factually incorrect statements.
    I concur, both for the reason you mention - while Holiday Inn Express has poked fun at a non-professional making astute observations - there is certainly truth to the some of the most qualified people I've known have missed some pretty obvious connections in their own field based on the way they look at things.

    I also would like to see greater interest and participation by concerned "non-professionals" (meaning those with no military experience) because it fosters civil-military relations by helping them understand war and peace from various perspectives, and provides them the opportunity to play a positive role by educating the uniformed professional, statesman, diplomat and other stakeholders in things that may have escaped them (or in my case us ).

    Best regards, Rob

  10. #10
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJackson View Post
    Having just found this site I am interested in RTK's comment above re. profiles. I have no relevant specialist knowledge. I am a moderator on another completely unrelated site (about disease tracking H5N1 etc.) and have found many of the regular non-specialist posters make some of the most interesting - and knowledgeable - posts. While it is interesting to know if they are virologists or epidemiologists etc. I try to take each post on its own merits and not worry too much about the posters academic back ground, there are plenty of well credentialed 'experts' making factually incorrect statements.
    While I agree with your final statement, I always like to be sure that the bit of advise I'm taking for the real-time or near-real time application of foreign policy at the tactical level isn't from the shmedlap sitting in the office next to mine. It also helps gain a perspective from a different direction, one perhaps I'd not thought of having a relevent application in a certain realm. I'm also not into getting foreign policy tips from a sophomore in high school.

    It's not that I'm just looking for some Soldier or policy maker's perspective. Regardless of background, I (and others) would like to see what exactly the background is for a lot of the same reasons Rob wrote on in the first post. Many have much to add to the discussion from a lot of different angles. We're just trying to figure out which angle people have.
    Example is better than precept.

  11. #11
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi JJ,

    It sounds like a lot of "value add" to me as well . I'm another one of the non-military people on this site. I'm a symbolic Anthropologist with an interest in applied symbology. I'm going to be supervising a directed reading course for a student of mine on the security effects of infectious diseases this term, so I will definitely want to pick your brains on that.

    I think Steve hit it nicely when he said "One of the keys to experience, in my view, is knowing what you DON'T know." In a lot of ways, the SWC is more a Community of Interest with a focus on Practice, and that is one of our greatest strengths.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  12. #12
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default SWC 'quite disappointing'?

    Created following a post in a separate thread and raises an issue that needs an airing in its own thread and for members only. The title is mine, not the authors.

    This post will come second now the post has been moved.
    davidbfpo

  13. #13
    Registered User sennef@cimic-coe's Avatar
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    Default SWC 'quite disappointing'?

    Here I had expected to find here a place where Coalition partners could have posted interesting stuff about their respective approaches and experiences in small wars.
    Being Dutch, I could have posted on the Dutch 3 –D approach (the comprehensive approach of Defense, Diplomacy and Development) and its results in Uruzgan province;
    or on how well the re-employment of the French colonial ‘ink blot’ strategy worked
    or on the intensive use of cultural competence in an operational setting.

    What I found instead is a place where coalition partners are being bashed plus unfavorable, unflattering and IMO uninformed comparisons with the American approach. This I find quite disappointing and not a real encouragement for posting.
    A nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its laws made by cowards and its wars fought by fools. Thucydides

  14. #14
    Council Member Kiwigrunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sennef@cimic-coe View Post
    Here I had expected to find here a place where Coalition partners could have posted interesting stuff about their respective approaches and experiences in small wars.
    Here is a place where Coalition Partners can post interesting stuff about their perspectives and experiences. Bring it on.


    Quote Originally Posted by sennef@cimic-coe View Post
    Being Dutch, I could have posted on the Dutch 3 –D approach (the comprehensive approach of Defense, Diplomacy and Development) and its results in Uruzgan province….
    Please do.


    Quote Originally Posted by sennef@cimic-coe View Post
    What I found instead is a place where coalition partners are being bashed plus unfavorable, unflattering and IMO uninformed comparisons with the American approach. This I find quite disappointing and not a real encouragement for posting.
    It is not my perception and experience that coalition partners and other ‘outsiders’ are being bashed by a predominantly (and logically so) American membership in a way that is out of proportion to the criticism that they portray to their own side and actions (sure, amidst a lot of chest-beating). If it is your perception, and you find it disappointing, than perhaps that should be a real encouragement for posting. Please inform us.
    Nothing that results in human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. (Christopher Columbus)

    All great truth passes through three stages: first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
    (Arthur Schopenhauer)

    ONWARD

  15. #15
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default USA bashing is OK too

    I may be one of the aforementioned four (4) that is causing trouble of late and although Fuchs has taught me to be humble I have yet to experience humiliation (probably on its way).

    I'd have to echo Kiwigrunt's comments - we are far harder on our own than we are on foreigners herein.

    Tough, Strange and Diverse crowd and getting thin skinned will only egg us on

    I hope you stick around and teach us a little about the use of cultural competence. Isn't that in fact what your beef is ?

    In closing...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
    Bring it on.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

  16. #16
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    What did I do?
    I can't teach what I don't know.

    - - - - -

    I can in general understand the thread opener's problem.
    It's a general problem in contact with most people from the U.S., though.

    The relative isolation and the illusion that the anglophone world is big enough (=all that counts) allowed for a set of assumptions, myths, points of view that can easily collide with their non-anglophone counterparts.

    On top of that, anglophone people are typically numerically superior on their (anglophone) turf and numerical superiority can easily mislead in regard to correctness of claims and views.


    It's almost a hobby of mine to provoke cracks in their assumptions, myths, points of view...
    I have a troll (or two) on my blog's comments section who calls me anti-American for it.

  17. #17
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    You should have seen this place ins 2008...the Americans here have learned humility in comparison to 2007/08.

  18. #18
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    David,

    Where did you move the post from? Where did he feel his counter ideas were attacked? To be frank we are seeing more and more of that across the council. On the other hand some people are excessively thin skinned. We have four or more folks who repeatedly come up with same counter argument regardless of the topic (they get credit for staying on target, regardless of whether it is relevant or not), so a new person may have taken some their knee jerk responses out of context.

  19. #19
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    it was a necro-post Bill, from a short thread about NATO/Dutch issues.

    It wasn't this one, but I came across it during the search for the one I had seen the comment: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ighlight=dutch

    I think if he had seen that one, he's have realized that not everyone was down on the Dutch.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-26-2011 at 06:08 PM. Reason: Bulk of text copied to Winning in Afg thread, author aware.

  20. #20
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    Default Some stats

    I did a Members List Search for those members with 100 or more posts (all years) and with at least one post in 2011. Less 3 SWAdmin "members", the total is 93. Of them, at least 22 are Non-USAians. Fair conclusion: the "SWC Culture" has not inhibited those posters.

    Of course, belief is belief and perception is perception - and I ain't going to try to change anyone's mind in the face of a firm belief and/or perception. We are what we are.

    From my vantage point, I'd like to see more posts on CIMIC (as to which, sennef@cimic-coe has obvious experience).

    As Ken said (link) in response to sennef's first post (link):

    from Ken
    Welcome aboard, Sennef
    Jump in -- you'll bring a great perspective...
    Regards

    Mike

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