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Thread: Another Loopy Anthropologist

  1. #21
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    I though was left with a feeling that the social/anthropological sciences are pretty nasty to each other.

    Kissinger nailed it when he said, "University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small." I've seen blood spilled over whose parking place was six steps closer to the building or whose office was ten square feet bigger.

  2. #22
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default You know, Steve,

    I really think you should invite him to teach a course there .
    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
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  3. #23
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Gian,

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian P Gentile View Post
    But I read the article, and as abrasive as it was it did bring up some points that merit serious discussion on this blog; e.g., the theoretical underpinnings to political power and military structure; the link between the military, the political, and academic departments.
    I think part of the problem is with the specific theoretical underpinnings he chose. One of my main problems with Marxian theology is that it all rests on St. Karl's flawed theory of the value of labour. At the same time, it has also focused so heavily on production side economics that it has, in many ways, forgotten distribution (at least in its classic forms). As for Gramsci, I far prefer Luigi Sturzo if we are talking about Italian Sociologists...

    Gian, just out of interest, what would you use for such an examination?

    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/

  4. #24
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Hi Gian,



    I think part of the problem is with the specific theoretical underpinnings he chose. One of my main problems with Marxian theology is that it all rests on St. Karl's flawed theory of the value of labour. At the same time, it has also focused so heavily on production side economics that it has, in many ways, forgotten distribution (at least in its classic forms). As for Gramsci, I far prefer Luigi Sturzo if we are talking about Italian Sociologists...

    Gian, just out of interest, what would you use for such an examination?

    Marc
    I wasn't taking issue with that--I've read Prison Notebooks. It was an important and interesting work. What set me off was the implication that he's so smart that he'd throw a few intellectual bon mots at a room full of war college students and they'd see the errors of their way and recognize that they are tools of imperialism.

    I guess this struck a nerve because I am intimately familiar with both military professionals and latte leftists, and therefore know which have better understanding of the reality of the world and have used that to develop a ethical code.

  5. #25
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    I wasn't taking issue with that--I've read Prison Notebooks. It was an important and interesting work.
    I've read them too and, honestly, didn't find them that interesting at all. A lot of the points he makes were made in earlier works.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    What set me off was the implication that he's so smart that he'd throw a few intellectual bon mots at a room full of war college students and they'd see the errors of their way and recognize that they are tools of imperialism.
    Oh, I agree with that! The arrogance he displays is, IMO, quite humourous in its scope - that's why I suggested you actually invite him (okay, I have a viscious sense of humour - just make sure you post the videos on YouTube!!!!).

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    I guess this struck a nerve because I am intimately familiar with both military professionals and latte leftists, and therefore know which have better understanding of the reality of the world and have used that to develop a ethical code.
    Again, I don't disagree with you. I think it would be interesting to dig into the power relationships, as Gian noted, but to do it in a way that as far as possible tries to avoid the theological stridency of Marxism or any other theoretical model.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
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    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  6. #26
    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Default Marc, Steve,

    Perhaps we could all help the good professor by investigating the Ygoloporhtna cult.
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

    An unruffled person with some useful skills.

  7. #27
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Hi Steve,



    I've read them too and, honestly, didn't find them that interesting at all. A lot of the points he makes were made in earlier works.



    Oh, I agree with that! The arrogance he displays is, IMO, quite humourous in its scope - that's why I suggested you actually invite him (okay, I have a viscious sense of humour - just make sure you post the videos on YouTube!!!!).



    Again, I don't disagree with you. I think it would be interesting to dig into the power relationships, as Gian noted, but to do it in a way that as far as possible tries to avoid the theological stridency of Marxism or any other theoretical model.
    Ok given his background how about we ask him to serve on a PRT or HTT helping retore the marsh Arab's way of life after Saddam's draining of the area in post DS to punish the Shia; that would allow him to use his expertise OUTSIDE the US.

    Then let him speak to the War College.

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 05-30-2008 at 05:43 PM.

  8. #28
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Oh, I agree with that! The arrogance he displays is, IMO, quite humourous in its scope - that's why I suggested you actually invite him (okay, I have a viscious sense of humour - just make sure you post the videos on YouTube!!!!)
    Several people have suggested that but I'm not inclined to waste the time of a buch of war college students just to teach the guy a lesson. I personally have never been in a war college class where I felt I was the smartest guy in the room (or a CGSC class for that matter). I suspect that would be a shocking revelation to him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    I suspect that would be a shocking revelation to him.
    Sadly, I doubt it would register in the way that you would hope that it did--he would likely just presume that his day-with-your-class was insufficient to excavate through all the false consciousness...

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    Default Small Wars Council Dinosaurs Threatened by the “liberal” Anthropologist

    -------------
    Edited by SWCAdmin
    This is 80% drive-by rant.
    We leave it in place for the 20% "are we being open-minded enough?" core.
    Not as an example of good forum conduct.
    -------------
    Headline: Small Wars Council Dinosaurs Threatened by the “liberal” Anthropologist; Become Small Minds Journal for a Day.

    You pitiful dinosaurs of the Small Wars Council:
    You talk of developing effective, thinking, proficient small warriors to fight and win on the asymmetric battlefield of the 21st Century, yet feel threatened when a liberal anthropologist challenges your status quo?

    You very same ‘agents of change’ in warfare thinking can’t look at one agent of change’s perspective on academic curriculum? You, mostly historians, want to believe you do not need a broad liberal education to force students at the War College to think outside the box? To challenge their reality? To realize that they may really be pawns to a perceived imperialism?

    You PAWNS played into Dr. McKenna’s hand, for you are the very Military-Industrial-ACADEMIC complex desiring to protect your monopoly on the HEARTS & MINDS of our future strategic leaders.

    Your testosterone-filled comments are more defense mechanisms than arguments. You are the very FUNDAMENTALIST that demand everything fall into YOUR box EXCEPT when you’re talking. When you’re talking, you can be creative and you can define creativity, by your rules.

    I bet you participants of this particular thread are the very small minds that play DEVILS ADVOCATE and RED TEAM ideas in a room full of creative thinkers. You see it’s easy to be an intellect that shoots ideas down in lieu of offering your own broadening, challenging, reflective and original ideas.

    HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE:

    Tell me how we create broadened strategic leaders ready for the challenges that our country will face in the next ten or twenty years?

    You pitiful Dinosaurs of Professional Military Education. Where is Rob Thorton in this discussion thread to bail you out? He is on the sidelines because you have not contributed to the ongoing dialogue to advance training and education. Instead, you ran out of ideas and decided to have a little retiree target practice at the local rifle range with someone else’s ideas. Hey, this guy is not a COLD WAR, McCain Republican so let’s have a little target practice. You’ve made yourselves look like protectionist of the status quo.

    Where is John Nagl, our Rhodes SWJ scholar, to bail you out? Oh, he isn’t here either. Funny. He would probably tell you to bring the brigade of anthropologists to shatter the thinking of our future strategic leaders of the Army.

    Thank you for making Small Wars Journal the Small Minds Journal, in this thread at least, you 1000+ post scholars, for a Day.

  11. #31
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    Default I think you could have made the point

    without the ad hominem attacks.

    Please restate your thesis.

  12. #32
    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Multi-skilled Leader View Post
    Headline: Small Wars Council Dinosaurs Threatened by the “liberal” Anthropologist; Become Small Minds Journal for a Day.

    You pitiful dinosaurs of the Small Wars Council:
    You talk of developing effective, thinking, proficient small warriors to fight and win on the asymmetric battlefield of the 21st Century, yet feel threatened when a liberal anthropologist challenges your status quo?
    No, the problem is that he was very rude. Many of his statements were simply inappropriate and had nothing to do with whatever legitimate points he may have had. Although I do wonder why so much time is being spent on such a trivial character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Multi-skilled Leader View Post
    You very same ‘agents of change’ in warfare thinking can’t look at one agent of change’s perspective on academic curriculum? You, mostly historians, want to believe you do not need a broad liberal education to force students at the War College to think outside the box? To challenge their reality? To realize that they may really be pawns to a perceived imperialism?
    1. I can look at it. I'm just underwhelmed.
    1. I believe in a broad liberal education. In fact I would endeavor to say that my view of a “broad liberal education” doesn't even exist any more. I am probably the greatest champion of broadening education. I also believe in a classical liberal education for that matter. My personal distaste for much of the work by anthropologist, psychologists, sociologists, etc. (also historians, literature professors, etc.) comes not from my disrespect for their field, rather them individually. I would go so far as to say that I am critical of the majority of academics (military and civilian.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Multi-skilled Leader View Post
    You PAWNS played into Dr. McKenna’s hand, for you are the very Military-Industrial-ACADEMIC complex desiring to protect your monopoly on the HEARTS & MINDS of our future strategic leaders.

    Your testosterone-filled comments are more defense mechanisms than arguments. You are the very FUNDAMENTALIST that demand everything fall into YOUR box EXCEPT when you’re talking. When you’re talking, you can be creative and you can define creativity, by your rules.

    You are reading too much into this, they are simply “testosterone-filled” and don't like being insulted. Look, I'd say most of us are guilty of thinking we are more creative than we are (some of us more than others), and Dr. McKenna is no different.


    Quote Originally Posted by Multi-skilled Leader View Post
    I bet you participants of this particular thread are the very small minds that play DEVILS ADVOCATE and RED TEAM ideas in a room full of creative thinkers. You see it’s easy to be an intellect that shoots ideas down in lieu of offering your own broadening, challenging, reflective and original ideas.

    Look, I will acknowledge that it is generally easier to find flaws in ideas than creating them. This however is important. The people who are good at making “good” ideas are those that excel at deconstructing ideas and have some creativity. For example, the same skills are used when drafting a law that has to survive scrutiny or in fact scrutinizing it. Also, there are more “bad” ideas than “good” ideas, and in this particular case the “good” ideas must work both in theory and practice.


    Quote Originally Posted by Multi-skilled Leader View Post
    HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE:

    Tell me how we create broadened strategic leaders ready for the challenges that our country will face in the next ten or twenty years?

    1. Broader history education – From the start, BA's are too focused, too early. This might have worked when students came out of high school with a strong overview of history, but it has been a long time since that happened.
    2. More cognitive psych in the survey courses less clinical. Psychology has been made into a joke the last 20-30-40 years. Also, everyone should have to study some Neuroscience/Neuroanatomy. (good for the understanding of psychology, human behavior and chemical/biological weapons)
    3. Classical Liberal Arts Education – would give greater depth to almost everything being studied. As well as give officers a solid grounding in oratory and statesmanship. (two things we are missing these days)
    4. Less boxes to check off, less SAT scores - Half the schools in this country are saying that interviews are optional and won't effect the admissions process. I doubt there is a single school in this country that would let Einstein study there even if he had shown up at the deans office with general relativity. That is unless CNN gave him coverage.


    Quote Originally Posted by Multi-skilled Leader View Post
    You pitiful Dinosaurs of Professional Military Education. Where is Rob Thorton in this discussion thread to bail you out? He is on the sidelines because you have not contributed to the ongoing dialogue to advance training and education. Instead, you ran out of ideas and decided to have a little retiree target practice at the local rifle range with someone else’s ideas. Hey, this guy is not a COLD WAR, McCain Republican so let’s have a little target practice. You’ve made yourselves look like protectionist of the status quo.

    Hey, you don't have to be a McCain Republican to dislike this schmuck. Also, considering the amount of ordinance guys on the website McKenna is lucky they're using rifles.


    Quote Originally Posted by Multi-skilled Leader View Post
    Where is John Nagl, our Rhodes SWJ scholar, to bail you out? Oh, he isn’t here either. Funny. He would probably tell you to bring the brigade of anthropologists to shatter the thinking of our future strategic leaders of the Army.

    Yes, he might. I wouldn't agree with him though.


    If Mr. McKenna's curriculum has anything to do with anthropology, please let me know. As far as I could tell it was jut plain old leftist ideology. It also happens to be pseudo-intellectual garbage of the type that no person should have to suffer through.


    “Debate on Iraq War. Two teams of four students per team will debate the question "Is the War in Iraq a Just War?" Like college debate, students will be responsible for arguing both sides of the issue in two debates.”


    This is irrelevant. It doesn't matter whether this is a “just war.” They are professionals and they must perform their duty.


    “The Deceptions of Military Recruiters. What did they tell you? Read "Lies Military Recruiters Tell”


    Hopefully our officers want to be in the military! Also, it is irrelevant.


    “A central purpose of anthropology is to help citizens recognize their ethnocentrism so that they can think more clearly about the world.”


    Really? Hmmm... Things certainly have changed. I can remember when anthropology was a serious academic endeavor.


    Adam L

  13. #33
    Groundskeeping Dept. SWCAdmin's Avatar
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    There was a bit of a flurry, this thread was temporarily closed with some posts deleted. In the light of a fine Sat AM, here's the current status:

    1) Pretty unambiguous that Multi-skilled leader was way more arrogant and offensive in his tirade than he needed to be. The little red card is an infraction. He needs to add, to his multiple skills, tact and the ability to more effectively influence people.

    2) At the core of his message (we think, in hindsight), beyond the petty attacks, he echoes the concerns we have as operators of this forum over getting to be too much of an old boys club, set in our norms, etc. This forum only works if it is open, tolerant to new messages and new messengers.

    3) We have undone some of the deletes, and neatened things up to continue the discussion. With that done, this can of worms is re-opened.

    It is hard enough to hear criticism and grow from it. It's a lot harder to not close ranks when then criticism is couched in a ridiculously petty assault, in particular when blessed with the God-like powers of forum administrators to make things go away. We do not wish to be parochial or self-serving.

    Please continue (or, some cases, start) to discuss the issues in a civil, professional, and open manner. Including the issue of whether we're in a rut. All is on the table. Just do it more multi-skillfully.

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  14. #34
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Referring to Dr. McKenna as a "liberal" is a drastic dis-service to liberals. Let's look at his "Introduction to Anthropology" course (so-called)

    So, if I had a chance to teach "Introduction to Anthropology" at the War College, here is how I might do it.

    Day 1: Orientation: Discussion. Introductions. Overview of Course. Where are you from? How long have you been here? What's the best thing about the military? What's something you'd like to see changed? Film screening: In the Valley of Elah

    Day 2: Smedley Butler Day. Review and discussion of War is a Racket Speech; View and discuss Eisenhower's farewell address. Read Uri Avnery's "The Military Option" in CounterPunch. Film screening and discussion: Ghosts of Abu Ghraib

    Day 3. NACIREMA: Discussion Where is this? What is capitalism? Discussion of Marx's labor theory of value. George Carlin on Football & Baseball.

    Day 4: Fieldtrip to US Veteran's administration hospital. Tour Guide: Wheelchair veteran Bobby Muller from Vietnam Veterans against the War

    Day 5 Iraq Veterans Against the War Day; How to file CO, information on war resisting. Film screening and discussion: Hearts and Minds

    Day 6. How to keep from Dying: Are you safe? Discussion of April 17, 2008 RAND report which details 101,000 U.S. casualties a year. See "Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery. Other Readings: Grand Theft Pentagon: How they made a Killing on the war on Terrorism.

    Day 7: Rod Ridenhour and the My Lai Massacre. Discussion of war hero Ridenhour who was a whistleblower against this war crime. Discussion of Geneva Convention. Film screening: In the Year of the Pig

    Day 8: Hitler and Totalitarianism: Can it happen here? Film screening: Seven Days in May

    Day 9: Debate on Iraq War. Two teams of four students per team will debate the question "Is the War in Iraq a Just War?" Like college debate, students will be responsible for arguing both sides of the issue in two debates.

    Day 10: The Deceptions of Military Recruiters. What did they tell you? Read "Lies Military Recruiters Tell" by Ron Jacobs.
    Nowhere in all of this do I see any teaching of any of the core concepts of Anthropology: Culture, Kinship, Social Organization, Power, Religion and Ideology, etc. This is not an Introduction to Anthropology but, rather, an Introduction to Anti-military Ideology.

    Furthermore, how does he view the role of military education?

    [quote}At boot camp, soldiers need a proper military education so they can actively know how to resist immoral orders, report abuse and leave the military as a C.O., and university students require critical military education it in order to help lead civic engagements against the national security state.[/quote]

    This is "education"?!?

    Quote Originally Posted by Multi-skilled Leader View Post
    Tell me how we create broadened strategic leaders ready for the challenges that our country will face in the next ten or twenty years?
    The first thing is to define erms such that they have some type of meaning rather than meaning what people will them to on a use by use basis a la Humpty-Dumpty. So, let's start with a few terms then...

    Data: sensory input, either "real" (i.e. individually observed), "inferred" (based on previous associations) or "assumed" (usually via a theoretical construct.

    Knowledge: data organized according to some form of schema

    Knowledge base: a collection of organized data held by internally by an individual in their memories and externally by various storage devices (e.g. books, journals, blogs, databases, etc.).

    Learning: the action of individuals who take data and construct interpretations of them and, as a result, construct internal models of data processing.

    Education: a system of teaching and learning that concentrates on students acquiring ways of thinking and ways of judging data that are presented to them. At the core of an education system is a grounding in Epistemology.
    Now, let's just pull apart some of the assumptions in your question. First, why do you assume that people like this can be "created"? Humans are not robots, so any attempt at creating a PME system that treats them as if they were is doomed to failure. You don't "create" broad strategic leaders, you help them emerge.

    What is a "strategic leader"? This is not a "red team" question but, rather, a Socratic question. The very concept of a "leader" needs to be pulled apart which, BTW, is one of the reasons I highly approve of the choices David Price makes in his readings - it exposes the underlying social-structural assumptions behind terms like "leader". So, let's pull it apart a bit.

    What is a "leader"? In one set of social (power) relations, a "leader" is the person who has the best knowledge of a given task or set of tasks. In Anthropology, we tend to call social settings where this type of leadership is used as "situational leadership" (in business, the organizational type is called a Matrix Organization). It also correlates with social systems organized around reciprocity.

    In another set of social relations, a "leader" is a "leader" by virtue of holding a particular office (this is what Weber called a bureaucratic organization). A minimum level of skills / competency is assumed to be held by the individual by virtue of the requirements of obtaining that office. However, nothing more than a minimum level of skills can be assumed, and that minimum level may not be enough to actually perform the jobs they are required to perform. This is the current organizational type that dominates most military organizations, and is the type assumed by the way you structured your question.

    There are other types of leaders and other types of social relations, but I'm not teaching an Introduction to Anthropology class right now (although I have taught them).

    Now, let's look at the adjective you used: "strategic". In what sense? Are you talking purely military strategy? If so, then you had better hope that the US fights another peer2peer war, because that is the only situation that allows for "pure" military strategy. If not, then "strategy" must include politics, economics, military action, communications theory, and a whole host of other areas. If that is the case, you certainly do not produce such a strategic leader in a 4 year degree program - it will take a lot more years and a lot more experience than that! And, more importantly, you certainly will not produce such a person in a 10 day propaganda fest!
    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/

  15. #35
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    Default Shape up or get out...

    Webster defines a militant as:

    Pronunciation: \-tənt\
    Function: adjective
    Date: 15th century
    1 : engaged in warfare or combat : fighting
    2 : aggressively active (as in a cause) : combative <militant conservationists> <a militant attitude>

    HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE:

    Tell me how we create broadened strategic leaders ready for the challenges that our country will face in the next ten or twenty years?
    Taking this question at its face value my response is:

    1) Increase the emphasis and resources allocated across the military to education & training of personnel while decreasing resources spent upon stove-piped weapons and command and control systems. Focus remaining resources for weapons and command and control systems on standardized COTS/Joint systems.
    a. All commissioned officers need to be brought in with a bachelors degree at an accredited school that they can gain admission to (for the most part this happens now however there are exceptions). All captains/O-3’s are sent for a masters degree at an accredited school that they can gain admission to (GI-bill is adapted for this requirement).
    b. All warrant officers are sent for a bachelors degree at W2 at an accredited school that they can gain admission to(GI-bill is adapted for this requirement).
    c. All NCO’s are sent for an associates degree at SGT/E-5 at an accredited school that they can gain admission to (GI-bill is adapted for this requirement). All E7/SFC’s are sent for a bachelors degree at W2 at an accredited school that they can gain admission to(GI-bill is adapted for this requirement).
    d. Require all service members to learn another language and remain proficient in order to stay in (aka a semiannual ‘PT’/height/weight requirement).
    e. Require semiannual CTC rotations for all units.
    f. Increase worldwide ‘humanitarian/non kinetic’ prevention missions and require all military members to participate annually.
    g. All service members (irrespective of service and Active, Reserve, or Guard status) including the lame, listless, and lazy go to the war zone and work daily outside the wire.
    h. Decrease the 3-4 year cycle of moving families to a 10 year cycle.
    2) For USG civilians increase the emphasis and resources allocated to education & training of personnel while decreasing resources spent upon stove-piped command and control systems. Focus remaining resources on command and control systems which are standardized COTS/Joint systems.
    a. All USG civilian agencies will have a deployment team and those assigned to these teams will deploy annually on ‘humanitarian/non kinetic’ prevention missions (unity of command lessons need to be learned).
    b. Require semiannual CTC rotations for all USG civilian deployment units.
    c. Drastically reduce the number of political appointments and instead work from a merit/qualifications based standpoint...
    d. Telecommuting for knowledge based skill sets is increased in order to build capabilities and systems for decentralized operations.
    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 05-31-2008 at 04:54 PM.
    Sapere Aude

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    Forum Members,
    Upfront, I have reflected on my comments and tried to understand why I laced my comments with such sharp attacks and anger. I am sorry.

    I believe my father, a professor emeritus in Engineering, trained me at the kitchen table to try to understand the goodness of others thoughts.

    I did not intend a "cheap shot" to the forum but was offended at how you where beating the geek up on the playground. I did intend for some to get a "cold shower" and get off their high horse.

    I consider you all more mentors than peers. Thank you for the coaching and patience.

    I have learned alot today. And it was all free. Heck is anyone shooting at us?

    Sincerely,
    In need of tact and persuasion, I am
    Multi-skilled Leader

    Iron sharpens iron--Look at the quality of the posts now!
    Again, thank you for your mentoring, coaching and teaching.

  17. #37
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Multi-skilled Leader View Post
    Forum Members,
    Upfront, I have reflected on my comments and tried to understand why I laced my comments with such sharp attacks and anger. I am sorry.

    I believe my father, a professor emeritus in Engineering, trained me at the kitchen table to try to understand the goodness of others thoughts.

    I did not intend a "cheap shot" to the forum but was offended at how you where beating the geek up on the playground. I did intend for some to get a "cold shower" and get off their high horse.

    I consider you all more mentors than peers. Thank you for the coaching and patience.

    I have learned alot today. And it was all free. Heck is anyone shooting at us?

    Sincerely,
    In need of tact and persuasion, I am
    Multi-skilled Leader

    Iron sharpens iron--Look at the quality of the posts now!
    Again, thank you for your mentoring, coaching and teaching.

    As a life long geek, I believe that some of us sometime need beating up.

    I probably shouldn't have started this whole thing. It is absolutely true that senior military leaders need to understand a range of viewpoints. Heck, I worked hard (but unsuccessfully) to bring Daniel Ortega in as a guest speaker when I taught at the Air War College.

    I, unfortunately, got spun up because based on what I saw, I didn't believe McKenna truly had anything to offer war college students, but yet seemed to think that he could intimidate or wow them with what he had. The visit a hospital is a case in point. I'll bet you that 90% of war college students have visited wounded warriors. It would surprise me if the professor had.

    So I don't think anyone here was defending a particular ideology, but rather taking issue with ignorance.

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    Default Color me Unimpressed by the Good Doctor....

    ...and here's why (which contributes to a point made by Tom Odom):
    Ok given his background how about we ask him to serve on a PRT or HTT helping retore the marsh Arab's way of life after Saddam's draining of the area in post DS to punish the Shia; that would allow him to use his expertise OUTSIDE the US.
    Happen to have a very extensive exposure to "Environmental Health" as it is conducted by local Health Departments throughout the US. "Environmental Health" normally covers all sorts of Health Department functions such as Food Establishment inspections (i.e., restaurants, schools, churches, ext.), Day Care, tanning facilities, radon, all sorts of solid waste facilities regulation, private (potable) well, and private sewage (septic), etc., etc. And that's only a taste of the issues at play here.

    Knowing what I know about the state of enforcement and issues (environmental health; well and septic issues) up in the State of Michigan (and to be fair, not just limited to Michigan), I'd say Dr. McKenna talks big, but nothing major has yet been accomplished politically up in Michigan over environmental "water issues". In fact, "Dead On Arrival" comes to mind.

    It's probably fairly unlikely that anything Dr. McKenna might bring to the table regarding issues the marsh Arabs might be facing would be useful. There would have to be practical solutions, and based upon what the local political outcome (actually, "Blowback" might be a better term) was from the study/proposals from the Inghan County plan over regulating/inspecting private wells and septic fields, well it's unlikely there would be much in the way of anything useful he could contribute.

    We're probably better off with Dr. McKenna teaching than we would be with him out in the field actually trying to accomplish anything. When you're actually working out in the field, you've got to make the effort to keep up with the latest in technology and procedures, because things are always changing.

  19. #39
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Having had only a brief few months and change up at Carlisle Barracks for BSAP (the Army 59s go there for their intro into the field of plans and policy) I was very impressed with the range and rigor of the place. While I attribute a great deal of its standard to its faculty (many of which came and talked to us as part of our program), what really make it superb is the quality of folks in attendance.

    Going through Dr. McKenna's list, I think he'd be surprised with the diversity of thought and opinion on the topics he puts forward. The student body (as with most of those who serve) have probably seen the very best, and the very worst of human life in the last 7 years. The sort of things they've seen and endured, and watched others endure naturally lead you to ask the type of questions that have meaning beyond what any book or film can possibly capture.

    In my brief time there we were fortunate enough to attend four quality speakers (one was on VTC) in the lecture series. The student body asked these guests some really hard, and thoughtful questions. While respectful, the questions were of a nature as to question some of the most basic and closely held beliefs we profess to. They certainly were of a caliber beyond what I've heard from any university lecture/speaker program, or from any media interview. These were the questions of men and women that had come face to face with their own mortality and those of whom they are given responsibility over. You don't get that many other places either.

    Our learning institutions are better and more broad then they may have ever been I think. Although good by any standard during peace time, the wars have caused us to hold everything up to scrutiny. It has nothing to do with seeking out a job that might open its doors based on where a degree was stamped, it has everything to do with better understanding the challenges that we are charged to carry out.

    I think the critical challenge in producing strategic leaders is getting them to understand the requirement for it. War has certainly shaped our understanding of that requirement, and from what I've seen our institutions and faculty are living up to their end.

    Best, Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 06-01-2008 at 01:48 AM.

  20. #40
    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    a. All commissioned officers need to be brought in with a bachelors degree at an accredited school that they can gain admission to (for the most part this happens now however there are exceptions). All captains/O-3’s are sent for a masters degree at an accredited school that they can gain admission to (GI-bill is adapted for this requirement).
    1. I have to disagree with you on this. Bachelors degrees used to mean someone was educated (most of the time.) Now most bachelors degrees are only an assurance that they NOW know what they should have known coming out of high school. (Most of the time.) I am not saying that all people are like this, just too many. The work I have seen out of schools that are touted as being among the finest institutions in the country is not what it should be. (This is a very generous way of putting it.) What I am trying to say is that I don't care if someone has a BA, MA or PHD. I care about the quality of their work, their capabilities and knowledge. The masters should have to in some way be relevant to their duties. If you are proposing this as a benefit, that might be a good idea. No matter the concentration, I have been very underwhelmed by many of the MA and PHD students I have run into. (Again I am not saying all of them.) I have read doctoral thesis of students out of some very good schools, and they are not what they should be. Sorry if I am offending anyone with this, but I challenge anyone to say that education has not gone down over the last 50 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    b. All warrant officers are sent for a bachelors degree at W2 at an accredited school that they can gain admission to(GI-bill is adapted for this requirement).
    Again, is this a benefit or a requirement. Although I see it as a good idea for many, I really question whether it would be better to provide the education in house. It would not be hard to out-do even the most prestigious universities these days.


    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    c. All NCO’s are sent for an associates degree at SGT/E-5 at an accredited school that they can gain admission to (GI-bill is adapted for this requirement). All E7/SFC’s are sent for a bachelors degree at W2 at an accredited school that they can gain admission to(GI-bill is adapted for this requirement).

    I don't see the point in this. Most associates degrees (excluding those in technical areas) in my opinion are not worth much. Unless there is a specific educational objective in any of these (see above) I really believe that exposure to broad array of subject matter must be the goal. (A liberal arts education as it should be.) If this is the case, wouldn't it be more reasonable just to encourage them to gather a certain amount of credits? This would be of far greater benefit. If they are academically capable let them matriculate at a good school. Is the reason you are mentioning associate degrees that they are a shorter term of study that is less expensive and has fewer credits? If this is so, the military should make arrangements with state schools so that they can simply accumulate credit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    d. Require all service members to learn another language and remain proficient in order to stay in (aka a semiannual ‘PT’/height/weight requirement).
    I absolutely agree with this. I've been meaning to get around to writing something about this but that never happened. On top of this I would suggest that the DoD create a program where language programs in Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, etc. (the more exotic but useful languages these days) are subsidized in public schools.

    If there is enough planning it might be possible to make it so every platoon, or maybe even squad, had someone capable of speaking one of maybe a half dozen or so languages that we feel we are likely to run into.


    I should add to my comments above that I am not saying that I do not believe more education would not be useful, rather I question whether there are more useful forms of education/training.


    Adam L
    Last edited by Adam L; 06-01-2008 at 03:27 AM.

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