Hanging Around the Flagpole

At the end of my final semester in grad school, I have noticeably trimmed back B&B content for the sake of focusing on my thesis and other school work. But when a piece of research jumps out at me, I feel compelled to write, as with my last post in February regarding college credits for military service members and veterans. This time is like that. Continue reading Hanging Around the Flagpole

E-to-O: Enlisted Commissioning Programs & the Problem with Credits

To complete my Public Policy master’s degree, I chose to develop a policy analysis aimed at improving enlisted commissioning opportunities at my university. The Army’s version of these programs is Green to Gold. (In the Navy, it’s STA-21, MECEP in the Marine Corps, and the Air Force has a few programs under the enlisted commissioning umbrella.)

The general problem is that my school doesn’t support prospective enlisted-to-officer candidates very well, though they want to—that’s where I come in. I sent out a survey just this week to several university admissions offices and various ROTC programs (of all services) to ascertain trends and capture best practices. Although the work is far from over, a concerning trend is already clear: many troops don’t have credits for core college courses. Continue reading E-to-O: Enlisted Commissioning Programs & the Problem with Credits

Captain Dad: On Being a Modern Parent Leader

Parents are the leaders of families. This is not a new concept, and it has been recognized when considering things like parents’ role in leading their kids’ education and upbringing. The tie between parenting and leading outside of the household is also fairly easy to see, and you can check out other pieces that identify the similarities between leading kids and adults (written by a former SEAL), note the boost to leadership parents receive, and list the numerous lessons learned from parenting that are applicable to leadership. Not to be forgotten, The Military Leader ran a piece a couple years ago about this very topic. (A version of that same post also ran on Task & Purpose.)

All of that is to say that the body of literature on parenting vis-à-vis leadership is fairly saturated. But even after reading much of the existing work, I found little mention of some of the comparisons I had in mind. I don’t claim to be a stellar example of either a leader or a parent, but I can certainly see the overlap. So, here’s my contribution to that “scholarship,” with a mind especially to company grade leadership and the help of the TV show Modern Family:

Continue reading Captain Dad: On Being a Modern Parent Leader

Bourbon & Battles: One Year In

During Christmas Break one year ago, I wrote a piece for PMJWire, the blog for PolicyMatters Journal, which is the student-run journal for my school, the Goldman School of Public Policy. In that blog post, I argued for including women in registering for the Selective Service. Not satisfied with whatever audience that post would reach, I decided to share the post on Medium—my first self-published piece. I published a few more things on Medium, but it wasn’t long before I bought BourbonandBattles.com.

So began Bourbon & Battles Year One.

Continue reading Bourbon & Battles: One Year In

#BourbonOfTheMonth – November 2016

This month’s B&B #BourbonOfTheMonth is a few days late, but such are the consequences of the end of a semester—sue me. Besides, I had a strange problem this month: too many good bourbons from which to choose. What follows is what I deem the best of a handful of good pickups from my local booze shop. One or two of the others will likely follow. Continue reading #BourbonOfTheMonth – November 2016

#Reviewing JFK and LBJ: The Last Two Great Presidents [The Strategy Bridge]

Godfrey Hodgson. JFK and LBJ: The Last Two Great Presidents. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015.

JFK and LBJ Cover.jpg

I am pleased and grateful that the fine folks at The Strategy Bridge published my very first historical book review. Click here to read what I think about Godfrey Hodgson’s JFK and LBJ: The Last Two Great Presidents.


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On Running and Leadership

I ran a 10k Monday. I’m not bragging—it wasn’t a special event or a race, just a slow 6.2 miles because I wanted to. (And because of the whole “PTing for fitness in the Army” thing.) I’ll be the first to tell you I’m no PT stud, so it wasn’t a particularly inspiring 10k, but I felt good afterward, and I started to think about some of the ways running is like leadership.

And while I’m not the first to draw the comparison (see this, this, this, this, and this), I argue that there is much about leadership you can learn from running. Some of my thoughts are a stretch, but some might make sense to you. Strap on your PT belt and have a read: Continue reading On Running and Leadership

#BourbonOfTheMonth – October 2016

It took me three tries this month to find a selection worthy of the Bourbon & Battles #BourbonOfTheMonth title, but I finally found a bottle you should consider picking up for your Halloween parties over the weekend. Or to hoard for yourself while you pass out candy. Whatever carves your pumpkin.

Here’s your October B&B BotM:

Continue reading #BourbonOfTheMonth – October 2016

B&B Summer Reading List 2016

It has been an eventful summer at Bourbon & Battles Headquarters (by which I mean my house). I finished my first year of grad school, completed an 11-week summer internship in San Francisco, suffered through a nasty case of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, and found out my wife was pregnant with our fourth (and final) child, this time a son. He will be woefully outnumbered—though I suspect well taken care of—by three older sisters.

It dawned on me pretty early in the summer that my super-long commute to the city afforded me a new and rare opportunity for long periods of uninterrupted reading time. That in mind, I set out to take full advantage before the crushing weight of required textbook reading returned in the fall. I generally took care to choose highly rated or recommended books to get the most bang for my time, so my summer was jam-packed with an extraordinary reading selection. Continue reading B&B Summer Reading List 2016

Guest Post: The 8 Lessons of Leadership I Learned from Brewing Coffee

Bourbon & Battles welcomes Alex Licea, today’s guest author. This post was originally published here on June 14, 2016. Check out Alex’s bio below the story.


Like most of my colleagues, I enjoy a cup of coffee each morning. While my experience with the brewed drink won’t inspire me to write a book about coffee any time soon, it has left a profound impact on me, and in some ways shaped me as a military communications professional and leader.

Before I get to those lessons, let me set up the scene.

The date was October 1, 2013. The government had shutdown for the first time in nearly 20 years. Continue reading Guest Post: The 8 Lessons of Leadership I Learned from Brewing Coffee

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