Recent Reading – On the Web

Here are some interesting articles that I have read lately.

Clive Thompson on the Death of the Phone Call

Interview with ADM Harvey in CHIPS magazine

After his address to the Joint Warfighting Conference on May 11,

Adm. Harvey, Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, answered questions from attending reporters. Usually, interviews or Q&A like this are too generic to be of much value, but this is an exception. ADM Harvey talked about the importance of training, shipbuilding and the need to update the Navy's personnel management policies. "The Defense Officer Personnel Management Act was passed into law in 1980 and began in development in 1971. Compare the world of 1980 to the world of 2010.  It's like comparing General Motors to Hyundai. There is no comparison."

Articles from Joint Forces Quarterly

Apr 2010 (

Turning Fallujah

This article briefly reviews the history of Fallujah from 2004 to 2007, the techniques the Regimental Combat Team (RCT) used maintain control of both the town and the surrounding area during 2005 and early 2006, some lessons learned.

July 10 (

The End of Surface Warships, by Thomas E. Shrader

Ships (expensive and manned) vs. missiles (neither). Missiles can be purchased (or manufactured) in such vast quantities that a barrage of them could destroy any ship on the high seas, no matter how big or how technologically advanced. The solution is submarines … and develop whole new classes of submarines, such as aircraft carriers, troop carriers, and cargo submarines.

When Do We Teach the Basics? By Donald E. Vandergriff

The Army is evolving a new approach to training and education called Outcomes-based Training and Education (OBT&E) while developing a new teaching method under the umbrella of OBT&E called the Adaptive Leaders Methodology (ALM). The article also talks about John Boyd’s OODA (pronounced “oo-duh”) loop. OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.

The Post-9/11 American Serviceman, by Adam B. Lowther

This article examines demographic, personality typology, leadership psychology, and worldview literature to develop a composite sketch of the American Serviceman. Although incomplete, current research provides ample evidence to dispel many of the most egregious myths about the composition of the military.

Terrorists and Submarines: Lessons for Afghanistan from the Antisubmarine Campaign of World War I, by John T. Kuehn

The author argues terrorism is much like unrestricted submarine warfare practiced by the Germans in WW1. Just like the Allies had to rethink their early focus on finding and destroying U-boats (hopeless task given the vast expanse of ocean involved and paucity of destroyers) and use convoys, the author believes a modified "convoy" approach, to provide security through a population-centric approach For example, such major cities as Kabul, Khost, Kandahar, and Herat might become "enclaves" (convoys) wherein priority one is security. The Taliban and their foreign fighter allies would have to come to NATO and the Afghan security forces.

From the monthly Colonial Williamsburg magazine that I receive

The Indian War (short, painful to read, little taught, summary of what the European settlers to America thought of and did to the indigenous people).

“What we didn’t learn was the fact that the American colonists that came here from the beginning were invading Indian soils and driving the Indians out of their land and committing massacres. The story that is not told in most American textbooks is the deceptions that were played on the Indians, the treaties that were made with them, the treaties that were then broken by the American government. It’s important to know that.”

“… history is not a film you can unreel. You cannot run it backwards. You cannot make native people independent again. Politically or logically, it is impossible. We can’t do a lot about injustices from whenever. But I do think there is a relationship between knowing the truth about the past, and justice in the present.”

George Wythe Teaches America the Law (summary of law education in Britain and the Colonies and changes that George Wythe (pronounced with) pioneered at William and Mary.

I also was reacquainted with the word “autodidact” by the article. Jefferson appointed Wythe as the professor “of Law & Police—police here in its eighteenth-century meaning, ‘the regulation and control of a community; the maintenance of law and order, provision of public amenities, etc.’—was an innovation. At the time of independence there were nine colleges in the colonies, in order of their founding: Harvard; William and Mary; Yale; the College of Philadelphia, later the University of Pennsylvania; the College of New Jersey, now Princeton; King’s College, now Columbia; the College of Rhode Island, now Brown; Queen’s College, now Rutgers; and Dartmouth. None had a professor of law. Under Jefferson’s guidance, William and Mary changed that.”

Publishing: The Revolutionary Future

The transition within the book publishing industry from physical inventory stored in a warehouse and trucked to retailers to digital files stored in cyberspace and delivered almost anywhere on earth as quickly and cheaply as e-mail is now underway and irreversible. This historic shift will radically transform worldwide book publishing, the cultures it affects and on which it depends. Meanwhile, for quite different reasons, the genteel book business of more than a half-century ago is already on edge, suffering from a gambler’s unbreakable addiction to risky, seasonal best sellers, many of which don’t recoup their costs, and the simultaneous deterioration of backlist, the vital annuity on which book publishers had in better days relied for year-to-year stability through bad times and good. The crisis of confidence reflects these intersecting shocks, an overspecialized marketplace dominated by high-risk ephemera and a technological shift orders of magnitude greater than the momentous evolution from monkish scriptoria to movable type launched in Gutenberg’s German city of Mainz six centuries ago.

Perspective - Four Things Groups Want that Leaders Can't Give — and One They Can

Engineering Duty Officer Fundamental Skills