Archive for September, 2008

As Andy Bacevich argues so well in his new book Limits of Power, which I just finished reading, we must clean up our own backyard and restore our economic and social power before casting off in foreign ventures. These occupations are ruining us as I predicted six years ago when there were hints at invading Iraq and trying to convert Afghanistan into a democracy.

Just wish my fellow citizens would start getting more involved in what is going beyond what is occurring on the fall season in television.  We must begin voting for a strong candidate with leadership capabilities beyond the two that are running for the one party with two names. I strongly believe that if people got involved, as citizenry is obligated in a true democracy to do beyond simply pulling down the voting lever in an election, we still have time to fix our catastrophic problems.

Nothing in Iraq will survive the withdrawal of US military power and the Karzai government is more corrupt and ineffective than the Saigon government was, if that’s possible. The notion that we should now extend in tennis terms the unforced errors of the past is insane.

Sadly, the author of this essay is too accurate in his assessment.

History never went away

The west’s desire to maintain world domination is incredibly arrogant. Like all moments in history, its hegemony will pass


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Boyd08 Moving Ahead

Boyd 2008 Conference Agenda – Moving from Theory to Action

The first draft agenda for the December 6-7 conference is now up on Rob Paterson’s blog.  Please look it over and, if you haven’t already done so, join the discussion on the Boyd08 blog.

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“Decisions without Actions are Pointless. Actions
without Decisions are Reckless.” ~Col. John Boyd

Deciding Under Pressure… And fast

October 14th 2008 (8:30AM-4:30PM)

Taunton Holiday Inn

700 Myles Standish Blvd

Taunton, MA 02780

Presented by: MAJ Don Vandergriff U.S. Army RET and Fred Leland, Law Enforcement & Security Consulting (LESC)


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I left Fort Gordon on Saturday the 23rd and along the way to Fort Benning decided to do some Civil War site seeing with a new staff ride from the U.S. Army War College I purchased. Saturday afternoon, with just a few hours of daylight left, I did all the sites from Ringgold, GA to Dalton, GA to include scaling Rocky Face Ridge (300 feet of it) to see well preserved Confederate entrenchments.


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A couple of weeks ago Lieutenant Fred Leland of the Walpole Police Department posted his summary of my Deciding Under Pressure and Fast workshop I conducted at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York on August 7, 2008. I just returned home from four successful weeks of doing a total of six Deciding Under Pressure and Fast workshops at four different Army posts, which focuses on how to teach in the Adaptive Leader Methodology (ALM). I also do curriculum review workshops on implementing ALM into a program. I did a few of these as well over the last four weeks.

I am very grateful to Major Chad Foster, director of Military Science 300 (juniors) for giving me permission to post this on my blog. The following is his After Action Review he received from the 15 instructors who took the course:

Overall Assessment: The ALM workshop that you executed for us was instrumental in getting our new instructors to “buy-in” to the new teaching methodology that we are utilizing in our new MS300 course. It uilt on a lot of things that I had been saying to them previously, but it went farther in communicating the spirit and intent of ALM than anything else that we did as part of our new instructor integration and training.

  • The use of your simple decision-making games (whether of a tactical variety or not) demonstrated that TDGs are simple but incredibly effective tools that instructors can use to teach concepts to cadets. At first, some of the new instructors were worried due to their inexperience with certain types of tactical operations (not everyone is a “trigger-puller” by trade). These simple games showed them that you don’t have to have spent your entire career behind a machine gun or on a tank to teach in this manner.
  • Two of the tactical decision-making games (TDGs) that you had the new instructors design as part of your workshop have been used in the classroom already in MS300. This shows that not only did the new instructors gain a full understanding of the concept of ALM, but our course gained actual course material from the workshop.
  • I had multiple instructors say “Wow, I really get what we are trying to do now” after the workshop. The level of enthusiasm for the course really shot off the proverbial chart in the subsequent days. This led to the new instructors actually building multiple TDGs for the course, helping out the course directors immensely.
  • By my own participation in the workshop, I was better able to conduct training and orientation with my “veteran” instructors who missed the workshop. I executed a “poor man’s version” of your ALM workshop with my old guys with great results. I was concerned initially that I would not have the time to get everyone squared away prior to the first day of classes, but this turned out not to be the case. In a matter of a few hours, I had everyone on the same page regarding how we were going to implement ALM in MS300. That would not have been possible without your workshop.
  • The participation of Mr. Leland from the Walpole Police Department was of great value. He brought a different but highly relevant perspective to the discussions. His ideas and input during the workshop were outstanding, and I think that my new instructors (and I) gained a lot from the experience.
  • The participation of the Sienna University ROTC PMS was also great in terms of building a strong relationship with a fellow officer who is in the business of building strong future LTs. He and I have corresponded often since, sharing ideas and material. In fact, he is bringing his MS3 instructors up to West Point to observe some of our classes next month AND we are planning a joint field exercise with some of his cadets and our cadets in the tactics clubs.

Bottom-Line: The ALM Workshop was a fantastic experience that I am going to recommend that we continue next summer as part of our new instructor training in DMI. Thank you for all of your efforts and assistance.

If you are interested in my workshop, please contact Ms Jeannine Adams listed on the contact page of the blog and my web page. I must remind my readers that my workshop is applicable to organizations outside the Army as well. I have already done workshops for academic, police and first responders, as well as business, and all feedback has been excellent. The only negative feedback was that people said they wanted more.

Fred Leland and I are hosting our workshop (same as above) on the 14th of October up in Walpole, MA, please see Fred’s web site and blog.

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