Friday, March 24, 2006

General Patreus on leaders who "Get It" 
From the January-February issue of Military Review, here's Lieutenant General Michael Patreus, who commanded the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in the first year of the war, and later came back as a three-star to head the training of the Iraqi Defense Forces and the rebuilding of Iraqi security institutions:

My final observation, number 14, underscores that, especially in counterinsurgency operations, a leader's most important task is to set the right tone. This is, admittedly, another statement of the obvious, but one that nonetheless needs to be highlighted given its tremendous importance. Setting the right tone and communicating that tone to his subordinate leaders and troopers are absolutely critical for every leader at every level, especially in an endeavor like that in Iraq.

If, for example, a commander clearly emphasizes so-called kinetic operations over non-kinetic operations, his subordinates will do likewise. As a result, they may thus be less inclined to seize opportunties for the nation-building aspects of the campaign. In fact, even in the 101st Airborne Division, which prided itself on its attention to nation-building, there were a few mid-level commanders early on whose hearts really weren't into performing civil affairs tasks, assisting with reconstruction, developing relationships with local citizens, or helping establish local governance. To use the jargon of Iraq at the time, they didn't "get it." In such cases, the commanders above them quickly established that nation-building activities were not optional and would be pursued with equal enthusiasm to raids and other offensive operations.

Setting the right tone ethically is another hugely important task. If leaders fail to get this right, winking at the mistreatment of detainees or at manhandling of citizens, for example, the result can be a sense in the unit that "anything goes." Nothing can be more destructive in an element than such a sense.

In truth, regardless of the leader's tone, most units in Iraq have had to deal with cases in which misticaes have been made in these areas, where young leaders in very frustrating situations, often after having suffered very tough casualties, took missteps. The key in these situations is for leaders to ensure that the appropriate standards are clearly articulated and reinforced, that remedial training is conducted, and that supervision is exercised to try to preclude recurrences.

It is hard to imagine a tougher environment than that in some of the areas in Iraq. Frustrations, anger, and resentment can run high in such situations. That recognition underscores, again, the importance of commanders at every level working hard to get the tone right and to communicate it throughout their units.

Ummm...Sir, that's David Petraeus. I'm surprised no one caught this yet.
Dangit, forgot to sign off on that last comment.
i ain't military, and even i instantly knew you meant General DAVID PETRAEUS. i remember him leading the 101st up north, pretty much becoming the unofficial mayor of Mosul as soon as our guys hit town in early 2003-- , thinking on his feet, learning what the locals wanted, drinking way more tea than he wanted to down, in order to chat and win trust. He cut an impressive figure. Even made the cover of one of the weekly glossy news magazines--TIME, was it? and i knew it was him, back again to train the IRaqi Army when he returned on his latest duty.
Man, how come a small citizen like me knows who David Petraeus is, and you, the guy with all the chops you got, wrote it like this?????? please don't tell me this is another one of those instances where I know the guy as "L. Paul Bremer" but all the insiders know to call him "Jerry"....

or the rest of us spoke of him as John Wayne, but those in the know referred to him as "Marion Michael Morrison"...please, say it ain't so.

General Petraeus is one of the guys i REEEAALLY like, out of this war........
hey, it's ok--you're another one i like!:)...
look! I'm still here, reading you, aren't I? See?------------------------------Janet in Venice
Good stuff. If you'd like to come over and visit my office on the internet blog at http://desktopmagic.blogspot.com/, you're certainly welcome!
Appreciated your thoughts.

Steve @
quality products
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!