An organization like the First Order doesn’t get to be the military powerhouse it is without an effective and efficient personnel management system. Crucial to that system is a fair and honest assessment of its leadership.
Strangely enough, the First Order’s Officer Evaluation Report (OER) bears a striking resemblance to the US Army’s Company Grade form that was created a long time in the future in a galaxy far, far away.
Cramming select lyrics into leadership and life lessons
NOTE: This was originally published here on January 20, 2016.
The recent death of Glenn Frey, co-founder, co-front man, guitarist, keyboardist, coach, and “glue” of The Eagles, is another in a series of recent deaths in the legendary musician community. Frey’s death hit me particularly hard, because I grew up on The Eagles’ music. My dad loved them, and so I do too.
We’d listen to Eagles records, 8-tracks, cassettes, and CDs. My dad and I had an Eagles guitar tab book, and we’d huddle around it with our acoustic guitars, strumming as best we could while singing falsetto to match the vocals of Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit (Frey and Joe Walsh are a little easier to sing).
Over the summer, while moving out to California, my family and I even stopped off in Winslow, Arizona to see “Standin’ on a Corner Park.” Well worth the visit if it’s on your way.
The Eagles have played such an essential role in my life, and it pains me that the band is done. (Even if Henley rallied the surviving members, it wouldn’t be the same.) So I wanted to write about them by forcibly cramming select lyrics into leadership and life lessons because I can.
The AG Corps is supremely proud of Gates and his American Revolution fame. I’m proud of my branch, its steeped history, and the integral work we do. I am not, however, proud of the corps’ so-called founder. (As an aside, he’s sometimes called “Granny” Gates in historical accounts. The nickname has been refuted here and other places, but in at least one case, years later, Timothy Pickering called Gates “an old woman.”)
NOTE: This post was originally published here on January 13, 2016.
Most Army leaders are familiar with the ubiquitous green notebook (NSN 7530–00–222–3521, for anyone interested). They can be spotted everywhere soldiers are found, clutched in the hands of joe-fuzzy-rank all the way up to general officers.
In two back-to-back Key Development (KD) jobs, I burned through 4+ green notebooks. Looking back through them, I found some snippets of wisdom and hilarity that I’ve decided to share. Please ignore the terrible handwriting, and enjoy!
Note: I want to credit Cassandra Bayer, Marta Galan, and Brett Webster. They were my amazing teammates for the capstone presentation in our Quantitative Methods class last fall. I came up with the topic of veteran suicides, and they did the real work of framing the topic in a statistical- and policy-oriented manner that I could never have done on my own. I mostly try to steer away from pilfering their excellent work here, but at least some of the ideas below are theirs.
This post was originally published here on January 11, 2016.
Although she wasn’t the first journalist to challenge the efficacy and accuracy of the statistic, WaPo’s Michelle Ye He Leefact-checked the figure early last year. Hers was followed by severalsimilar articles, many of which drew the same conclusions I did upon first reading the 2012 VA report for context. Interestingly, the 2012 report is chock full of warnings and caveats about the incompleteness and potential problems with the figures it presents.
NOTE: This was originally published here on January 8, 2016.
Note: I’m taking some time working on a more “scholarly” article, so here’s something a little fluffier just for fun in the mean time.
It always troubles me when someone bemoans history as a boring school subject in which they were forced to memorize useless dates and names. I have a BA in history, and I’m certain I could not recite even basic so-called “important” historical dates. For me, the value of history is in its lessons and stories.
Putting aside the problem with unqualified or disinterested coaches dominating social science classes (granted, there are some phenomenal coach-teachers), too many teachers teach history wrong. Dates are important and useful, but they’ll never be as interesting as knowing the honest and unfiltered stories of our nation and world. (I highly recommend James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Mefor an introduction to the world of textbook-less history.)
Even with a disdain for the classroom version of history, anyone can find an interesting story in the branches of their own family tree.
You may notice that last one isn’t linked to anything. That’s because, before moving out to start grad school, I couldn’t find a whole lot in the way of firsthand accounts from officers in the ACS pipeline. This is my contribution to what I feel is a sorely lacking selection of literature on the subject.
After two rounds of applications (first to teach at West Point and then to get into a reputable graduate program), I started my first semester of grad school as part of the Army’s Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) program in August. Here are some things I have learned at the conclusion of the semester and a quarter of the way through my Masters program.
This piece was first published on PMJWire, the online blog for PolicyMatters Journal, the journal of the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley. It was subsequently published here on December 16, 2015.