Leadership: December 17, 1999


: Celia L Adolphi has become the first female two-star general in the Army Reserve.--Stephen V Cole

1.A leader can infect his unit with his own fears or depression, or he can instill the unit with his own confidence and drive. Make it a point not to allow your own inevitable "down days" to poison your own unit. Keep the negative feelings to yourself.
2.There is always one more thing you can do to influence a situation, whether it is the middle of a battle or simply garrison training time. After you do that one more thing, there will be another one, and another. Always plan for the next thing you can do.
3.Everything is training, and training never stops. Even units in the front line must continue to conduct training during periods they are not actually under fire. Junior soldiers must be trained to take over critical crew-served weapons.
4.When there is nothing wrong, something is wrong. This is the time the leader must be most alert for the problem that is about to happen. 
5.A commander must, in the critical moment of combat, trust his instincts. These instincts will be the product of an entire career of experience, training, and character. If the instincts prove to be wrong, the entire unit is likely to be defeated. But the worst possible thing is to stop the battle while you conduct a full-scale analysis of the situation. This will lead to the destruction of the unit, rather than mere defeat.
6.At any quiet moment, ask yourself what you would do if the enemy suddenly appeared and did the most likely thing that could happen. Once you have answered that question, ask yourself what you would do if this suddenly appearing enemy did the least likely thing the enemy could do. Then proceed to the second most likely, and second least likely, event. And so on. --Stephen V Cole

December 17; LESSONS FROM HISTORY: ARTILLERY AT SHILOH: When the Confederate Army stormed the Union lines at Pittsburgh Landing (touching off the Battle of Shiloh), the Yankees were disorganized and shocked; they had not been expecting attack and were scattered in bivouac sites. As the Confederates advanced into the Union camp, ready to destroy the Union force in detail, one Yankee division got organized enough to make a last stand. This became the famous Hornet's nest, and the time needed to reduce this redoubt gave the rest of General Grant's command enough time to get their act together. The rebel infantry made numerous unsupported attacks on the Hornet's nest and were driven back with heavy losses. Finally, the First Division under Brigadier General Ruggles was sent forward to destroy the Yankee fortress. Having seen the previous attacks fail, Ruggles ordered his staff officers to scatter across the battlefield and round up every artillery piece they could find. Within an hour, Ruggles had more than 50 guns firing 180 rounds a minute into the Union lines, and the final assault forced General Prentiss to surrender. If the guns had been brought forward sooner, the redoubt would have fallen sooner, and the entire Union field army might have been defeated in detail. General Johnston failed to bring up the guns before he was killed, and General Bragg apparently never ordered guns brought forward either. Why is something of a mystery. Perhaps they did not think of it, or perhaps they felt that the Union lines would crack if
attacked immediately, or perhaps the guns had yet to catch up with the advancing infantry. In any case, the officers of Ruggles' staff did gather the guns (it is not entirely clear that Ruggles was the one who had the idea first; one of his staffers may have suggested it). In the critical moments of combat, it is all too easy for a commander to forget to coordinate all of his weapons, and an overtaxed commander may simply never get far enough down his "things to do" list to bring forward a critical support unit.--Stephen V Cole

December 15; The Hart-Rudman Commission, appointed to examine security needs over the next 25 years, reached 14 general conclusions: 
1. The American homeland will be increasingly vulnerable to attack by various new threats and technologies, and the current military superiority will not entirely protect us.
2. US security will face new vulnerabilities from rapid advances in cyberwar and biotechnology.
3. New technologies will draw the world together, but will also divide it. 
4. The national economies of the developed nations will be increasingly tied together, creating additional vulnerabilities to their national security.
5. Energy will remain a primary source of conflict and war.
6. Borders will become increasingly porous as populations flow where they will. Some borders will become almost irrelevant as the governments involved fail to control them. This includes not just poor people seeking better jobs in rich countries, but guerrillas and rebels crossing borders and setting up bases in nations that do not wish to host them but cannot eject them.
7. The concept of sovereignty will survive increasing pressure.
8. Some nations will collapse into anarchy, and others will break up (peacefully or otherwise). In either case, these events will pose security problems for neighboring nations.
9. Crises in foreign lands will increasingly include genocide, atrocities, or the deliberate terrorizing of civilian populations.
10. Space will increase in importance, and will become a highly competitive military environment.
11. In its most basic sense, war will not really change.
12. US intelligence will face enemies that are more clever, deceptive, and challenging than ever before. Even excellent work by intelligence agencies will not prevent every surprise.
13. Despite uncertain alliances, smaller forces, and lack of forward bases, the US military will be called on more and more frequently to intervene in foreign crises.
14. Over the next 25 years, threats to US security will evolve, and the US military must evolve to meet them. --Stephen V Cole




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close