Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

How to be a battalion commander — some sarcasm, and some serious suggestions

A sad series of suggestions. But seriously: "-  Spend more time with lieutenants. –  Took too long to fire an ineffective leader. –  Was too patient with senior leaders; should have been less tolerant of their mistakes. –  Should have been tougher with my subordinate commanders.  They were never challenged to peak performance.  Might have avoided relieving ...

via Flickr/hermetic hermit
via Flickr/hermetic hermit
via Flickr/hermetic hermit

A sad series of suggestions.

But seriously:

"-  Spend more time with lieutenants.

A sad series of suggestions.

But seriously:

"-  Spend more time with lieutenants.

–  Took too long to fire an ineffective leader.

–  Was too patient with senior leaders; should have been less tolerant of their mistakes.

–  Should have been tougher with my subordinate commanders.  They were never challenged to peak performance.  Might have avoided relieving one.

–  Should not have let my BOSS program lapse due to pressure of training events.  Sent bad signal to soldiers in the billets.

–  Get familiar with how the units that we support "fight."

–  Allowed too many people to have a hand in decision-making.

–  Place more emphasis on maintenance.

–  Should have paid more attention to my captains and majors.

–  Give my company/battery commanders more freedom/latitude to command.

–  Spend more time listening and talking to soldiers.

–  Should not have believed Branch and Pre-Command Course concerning Officer Efficiency Reports and senior rater profiles.  Screwed up some great officers."

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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