19 September 2010

On Leadership

The heavy-handed tactics of Colonel Michael Steele, the commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division in northern Iraq, were viewed by some as a contributing factor to the Iron Triangle Murders in 2006.  

Today, a dispatch from Charlie Simpson suggests that the same might be true in a recent string of alleged murders in Afghanistan.  Simpson accuses the commander of the brigade in question (the 5th Stryker Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division) of establishing a "savage command climate" in Afghanistan, attributing the alleged murders directly to the command climate.

It's a short, but damning piece, to say the least.           

Focus:  In what ways have you seen your command positively or negatively set "the tone" in Iraq or Afghanistan?  


Unknown said...

Yes! Whether in corporate culture, college sports, or the military, DISCIPLINE begins at the top!
"There is only one type of discipline, perfect discipline."
[Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.]
WITH discipline, all is possible.
WITHOUT discipline, sadly, ALL is possible.
Abu Ghraib & this latest tawdry tale result from COMMAND INTENT and LACK OF DISCIPLINE.
Easy to diagnose, difficult to cure.

RobtCE said...

I think a case could be made that Iraq between 2004 and 2007 is an example of a failure of leadership (in this case the Bush Administration) to set the tone trickling down to the tactical level.

With no over-arching objective or solid end-state (remember the constantly changing goal-posts), the primary focus of the warfighter on the ground was surviving his 12 months. Predictbalty, this lead to both timidity and over-reaction.

Though I still don't know if anyone has presented a compelling vision of an end state in Iraq or Afghanistan, the introduction of COIN at least gave commanders and warfighters a yardstick which could be used at the theater level and below to measure progress in a limited war.

Now this is only an example and I don't feel that lack of a comprehensive national strategy caused the actions of the 5th SBCT Soldiers.

Anonymous said...

Check the poor performance of 5/2SBCT at the NTC when the Sr. Division trainer, the Division Cdr, and the NTC Cmdr voiced their concerns about the leadership abilities of the SBCT Cmdr---and that was prior to deployment.

Check the Ink Spots report concerning 5/2SBCT and you WONDER about the influence of BCT Leadership on the lower Staff and personnel?