March 4, 2011

Jack of all Trades

From al Sahwa by Josh McLaughlin -
Just came across the GEN Dempsey article from last week's Army Times. This article really hasn't sat well with me over the last couple days. Some thoughts...

Many leaders have significant issues spanning multiple spectrum's of conflict, sometimes on multiple blocks, or in short amounts of time. The reality is that many formations and their leaders simply are not capable of spanning the full spectrum of conflict. This is my biggest issue with this article; the notion that we as leaders must narrow our focus to master only a few key constructs; the “military pentathlete” (or as I call it, Renaissance Ranger) is on his way out the door. In the early days of Iraq, we had formations trained for linear combat against uniformed enemy formations. Major Combat Ops were what they (we) did. As the situation worsened and gained complexity by the day, it quickly became apparent that our SOPs were not working. But many (most) units continued to hammer away. If we only work on and master a couple concepts, people will have a tendency to see through the prism of knowledge and experience; in essence, everything becomes a nail if all we’re carrying is a hammer. We learned the hard way that not everything is a nail, and that we needed to carry more than a hammer. I have already seen this regression to only carrying a hammer again firsthand over my most recent Reset phase of the training cycle.

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