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Strategic Compression The compression of roles and effects. The Strategic Corporal meets the "turn left" National Security Advisor.

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Old 09-25-2006   #61
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I think we have to put it on the unit when the people arrie in it. The BOLC idea is good. The intnetnt behind it was for the officers of all branches to get a chance to work together, and more importantly to set the tone of aht the Army is all about (war, not admin). Of course, there are issues with this. LT's are trained by captains and senior NCO's.

The problem with the startegc corporal concept is the NCO development system, much of which has been enumerated in earlier posts. As an officer, I think that NCO's need to focus on being NCO's, not college students or block checking gurus. I think the fix for this is in the SGM/CSM area. if the E-9's can start to focus on what will make their "subordinates" successful in the contemporary operating environment, instead of focusing on block checking for career progression. I have seen alot of good junior and senior NCO's trying to do the right thing as far as training, but there is always the 2,000lb E-9 gorilla out there.
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Old 09-26-2006   #62
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As a troop commander, it was my responsibility to teach, coach, and mentor my platoon leaders. Through continual assessment of their capabilities, limitations, and in providing feedback, part of my job was to observe and guide marked improvement in their performance over time. It's okay for the lieutenant to make mistakes, so long as the same mistakes are not repeated every other day. Failure for the lieutenant to improve his/her performance meant, to me, one of two things:
1. I was not providing good enough feedback through direction, counselling, OPORDs, commander's intent, or end state.


2. The kid was an idiot and just didn't get it.

In the context of possibility #1, I always would assume this first, in that I was not providing for that young lieutenants professional development. I'd talk to his PSG and my 1SG and look for alternative methods of development that I hadn't used yet. If this lack of professional growth continued to occur, I'd give solution #1 one more shot (unless a gross negligence or inability to lead was identified). Again, if this failed, then I'd resort to assumption #2, which meant he was going to go work on a staff and stay as far away from soldiers as possible.

This happened to me once as a commander, and when it was all said and done, after numerous attempts to right this kid's leadership ability he had to go. It didn't come as a surprise to him, as it was placed numerous times in writing that a failure to adapt would result in his continued employment elsewhere.

We don't counsel our soldiers enough anymore. Particularly on the officer side of the house, some feel there are better things to do than to conduct the once a month counselling session. A few rely too heavily on it. The point is to find that happy medium. A young officer who is eager to learn and do well will adapt well, unless he simply doesn't have any leadership potential. It's up to us as their rating officers and mentors to teach, coach and mentor them into becoming successful platoon leaders and, later, commanders.
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Old 10-12-2006   #63
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I believe that the "strategic corporal" will further erode with the new Army land-warrior system that is to be fielded in the near future. It is another step towards total information integration that feeds directly into a distant TOC where a battle will be managed by a battalion or even brigade commander.

Eventually, I believe, every fighter will simply be a soldier carrying a weapons system and a live video-link with the BC literally telling individuals to "look over there more closely" or "engage that target". You will eliminate the real need for a frontline leader and the PL will merely be a "future BC in training".

Maybe that's the cynic in me...
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Old 11-17-2006   #64
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Default Back to the beginning

As the guy who started this thread, I am impressed with the responses. Many of these show deep understanding and experience with today's militiary.

Two comments, deliberately too simple for sake of clarity.

1. It's a terrible idea. The need for a "strategic corporal" stems from bad tacics.

In the 21st century we're fighting -- we might spend most of our time fighting -- insurgents. Experienced street warriors with modern weapons.

Their tactical doctrine is the simplest possible.

If our people have to perform complex mental calculas during a firefight, we best stock up on body bags and US flags.

A prerequisite for success in these wars might be simple mission orders. Complex directives equal hopeless, guaranteed to fail, wars.

2. The Special Forces have people capable of operating at this level.

We'll never have an army of SF. It's a contradiction in terms. A few lessons from the SF have broad applicability, but must be considered with care.

3. Relationship of officers and NCO's.

This is the fascinating hidden thread in these posts.

What fraction of people in a volunteer army are officer material -- officers not in a sense of having technical skills (e.g., doctors) but capable of leading soldiers.

The traditional answer is 5%. We have aprox 10% -- very rough, excluding the technical folks who are not leaders.

Imagine this: reduce the officer corps to 5%. What happens to the role of NCO? Note the reference to US Army history when we had fewer officers.

Do we need more experienced NCO's? Better educated (e.g. college, book learning)? Pick one, as I doubt we'll get both.
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Old 11-17-2006   #65
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The problem with any talk of officer reduction, is that the Army, when reducing officer strength, traditionally gets rid of the good officers while protecting the bad. After every major role, the officers promoted for merit have had to hit the road.

I don't trust the army to execute that plan.
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Old 12-31-2006   #66
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Default In addition...

To hinge off this, I, along with a friend of mine, am working on a project to provide the US Army and Marine Corps with a book that captures tactical lessons learned in combat. This project is intend to transcend branch of service, as the Transportation Corps soldier may have as much to lend on convoy operations as the Civil Affairs officer has to bilateral engagement as the infantry or armor soldier has to direct fire engagements. We're looking for some submissions. That's where you come in.

Attached is the concept brief and an example. There is imagery attached to the vignette, though including such would not meet the council's filespace requirements. Feedback is welcome. So are submissions. I must say, however, that we're in more need of submissions than feedback, so fire away. Thanks.
Attached Files
File Type: zip Concept Brief, no (9.8 KB, 1625 views)

Last edited by RTK; 12-31-2006 at 11:43 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 01-01-2007   #67
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Default Not a tactical lesson, but...

Discussion of the strategic corporal, specifically his training and education, can be shaped by leaning back on Clausewitz's concept of coup d'oeil, or "stroke of the eye".

From an online Air and Space Power Journal article by Majors Caraccilo and Pothin:

The 19th Century military philosopher, Carl von Clausewitz, wrote that, "the aspect of war that always attracted the greatest attention is the engagement."1 To gain and maintain the initiative, as Bergerud states above, is based on the commanderís ability to make quick and knowledgeable decisions. Clausewitz calls this quick recognition of the truth the commanderís coup díoeil or intuition. It is the leaderís ability to recognize at the precise moment in battle the truth, or in other words, a high level of situational awareness "that the mind would ordinarily miss or would perceive only after long study and reflection."2
I think many confuse the concept of the strategic corporal because they feel the military is trying to hoist responsibilities on them typically appropriate to a platoon commander. I would agree that even within the Marine Corps, we confuse the issue to some extent.

In the realm of a strategic corporal's decision-making process, perhaps we need to focus on developing his cou d'oeil, or ability to recognize the pattern of what is happening before him. When I was an infantry officer in training, pattern recognition was a theme used to justify the volume of reading required of us, as well as the repeated iterations we conducted on the sand-table.

Having said this, I'd like to offer a question in this thread: Are the tactical lessons we are looking for actually supporting pattern recognition?
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