Friday, August 31, 2012

Seven Must See Movies for Company Commanders

You can learn a lot of helpful military leadership lessons by watching movies. As a military leader, you can study military movies to learn new leadership skills, study tactics, and study military history. It's fun, entertaining, inexpensive, and easy to do. For the purpose of this article, I want to share some of my favorite movies that will benefit aspiring and current Company Commanders. Let's get started.

1. Band of Brothers: This HBO Series is a timeless classic of the men of the 101st Airborne Division during WW2. You will follow Easy Company, led by Dick Winters and other leaders. This series covers tactics, the art of war, military leadership and so much more. This is without a doubt my favorite military movie of all time.

2. Saving Private Ryan: This is another great WW2 movie, starring Tom Hanks, a Company Commander in the Army Rangers. You will learn about leading men, suffering casualties, overcoming obstacles and so much more.

3. Once an Eagle: This is a great book and movie. The movies stars Sam Damon and covers one man's journey through several wars as an enlisted man and officer.

4. The Lost Battalion: This is a documentary of the 308th Infantry Battalion of the 77th Division during WW1. In this movie, the Germans offer the Americans the opportunity to surrender or die. Instead, the Americans choose to attack. This is a great leadership movie.

5. Starship Troopers: This is one of my all time favorite books and movies. Starship Troopers is much more than a science fiction movie. This movie covers "principles" regarding men and soldiers.

6. We Were Soldiers: This is a great movie about the first major battle of the Vietnam War. This movie stars Mel Gibson and shows how a greatly outnumbered battalion wins a battle. There are great tactics and leadership lessons in this movie.

7. The Hurt Locker: While many critics don't enjoy this movie, I do. I think there are many helpful lessons about stress, the emotional effects of war, and the craziness of war. Whether you like the movie yourself or not, there are some very valuable lessons to be learned from it.

In summary, these are my seven favorite military movies for Company Commanders. Whether you have already taken Company Command, or will so in the future, I recommend you sit down and watch these movies. Take notes. Study what you learn and share the lessons with some of your peers and subordinates. The lessons you learn will develop your leadership skills and make you a better Commander.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

CV Writing Tips for Ex Military Personnel

When ex military personnel start to look for civilian work or training, the first thing that's required is an up-to-date CV. In order to help heroes find employment, organisations need to know what each applicant's skills are, as well as where they're based and what their ideal role would entail.

Some employers appear unwilling or resistant to employing ex forces personnel. As wrong as this seems, sometimes the blame can rest on the prospective employee too. Stereotypes and prejudices are wrong, but it is hard to prove an employer's beliefs wrong with a CV that lacks depth and appropriate information.

It is hard for employers to choose an employee based on a CV that is incomplete and does not show the applicant off in their best light.

A good CV is a headline. It tells prospective employers who you are, what you want, what you can do and how you can improve further. It shows them your potential and it also reveals just how much of an asset you could be to their company.

Think about your CV. What is included? It is almost certain to be lacking in some vital information regarding skills or experience that could land you with your dream civilian job.

It's not that the skills aren't there - often it's just that you haven't laid out what you can do in black and white. In CVs there is no boasting. Show yourself off. Here are five tips for army heroes to create the perfect ex military CV.

1. Fill in all the correct contact information so employers can get in touch.
Add in your email address (if you have more than one, use both), home and mobile phone numbers, address and if you have one, put in the address for your personal website or blog. Double check all this information to ensure it is correct.

2. Include a full career history.
If your career has been within the military for the most part, look at your roles from a civilian point of view. Write in the dates you changed within a certain regiment or service and tour dates. Also include a concise paragraph for each change of role detailing what the new position entailed.

3. Include skills you learned.
It may not seem instantly obvious, but skills learned in the military - for example team work, engineering, first aid, weapon safety and maintenance training, organisation and drill - all count as excellent transferable skills. Weapons training may not be inherently useful in a security or administration role, however the discipline learned in order to safely use and maintain such a weapon responsibly is. Similarly, drill might not be a key requirement of civilian employment, but team work, punctuality, organisation, self-confidence, the ability to follow orders and presentability are all skills every employer looks for in new team members.

4. Talk about your goals.
If civilian experience is a bit thin on the ground in your CV, explain your goals and hopes for the future. If you want a full-time role with the security that brings, talk about your dedication and hard-work ethics. If you are looking for a position that offers training, expand on your willingness to adapt and grow as a team member; put yourself forward as a candidate who is not afraid to work hard to achieve his/her goals, is eager to learn and can pick up new skills quickly.

5. Who are you?
One section of CVs that is invariably done badly is the self-statement. There should always be a part of your CV dedicated to you and what your 'extra-curricular' activities are. Remember, employers are looking for a candidate who fits the correct skill sets, but they are also looking for a colleague. Don't go overboard - a couple of sentences should suffice - but try to tie in your hobbies and passions with your employability and skills. For instance, if you love hiking and climbing, this shows you are an active and adventurous person; reading and photography show adaptability and an interest in learning and discovering new things. If you don't have many interests outside of work, you could cite spending time in the garden or with family as your main loves in life which will show dedication and placidity.

All of these tips have been designed by professionals to help soldiers make the most of the skills they already have to make them work for them in the civilian world.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sea Cadets - A Great Place For Young Adults to Learn Leadership, Skills, and Service

The other day, I met an advisor, soon to be running a program for the Sea Cadets. This is a group which is a U.S. Navy auxiliary group which helps young kids learn about seamanship, the Navy, and the Coast Guard. If you are unfamiliar with this group you should go to their website and check it out. Further, if you have teenagers in your family and you are looking to help them learn the ropes, literally, and learn leadership, skills, and the value of service to our nation, this group comes highly recommended. Not only by the U.S. Navy top brass, but even us Navy Brats who are now all grown up now.

The Sea Cadets are not the only group of this type. If your kids would like to learn about aviation, rather than focusing on sailing, ships, and the marine industry then perhaps you might introduce them to the Civil Air Patrol which is a U.S. Air Force auxiliary group made up of civilians, and many retired U.S. Air Force folks, and they help look for lost aircraft, and groom young men and women for a career in aviation, or perhaps a military flight contract. This group is also highly recommended, by me, because I was in it in my youth.

In fact, they helped teach me how to fly, and we learned all about the history of aviation, and went on field trips to aviation manufacturing facilities, museums, and even got to go to military bases to take a look at the latest and greatest technology of the day. It is this fascination with aviation which helped propel my career and even my first business; washing airplanes.

Indeed, I have a friend who has a son and he is in the Sea Cadets, and he was able to go on an old-fashioned sailing boat in Southern California. It is like a sailing museum, literally. It has changed the boy's life. He's now more interested in school, engineering, math, and science. His grades have drastically improved, and it seems like that's all he talks about. He builds models of ships and boats, similar to when I was young building model airplanes.

There is a whole new world out there to explore for our young people if they will just take the time to get involved. Sometimes it helps if their parents know more about these things. The Experimental Aircraft Association has a group called the Young Eagles. The Boy Scouts have the Aviation Explorers, The Police Explorers, and other groups which are similar. There is no better time to start than when you are young, and it certainly gives you an advantage over the rest of the field. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Did China's Military Give Stolen US Technology to North Korea and Iran?

Now then, I'm not one to point thinkers, well that's not really true; I will point fingers back at someone who is pointing theirs at me, or at my country for that matter. In fact, recently a few of the protégés coming up in the Communist Party as the elders pass the torch had mentioned that the United States was a sneaky troublemaker causing problems for the expansion plans of the Chinese in the South China seas and other places. I find this problematic because it is a lot like the Obama Administration planing blame games blaming everything on the Republicans.

Secondly, I have a problem with it because we do know that the Chinese sometimes go out of their way to make things tough for the United States when there are disputes over trade, or diplomatic issues. The United States as the world's only superpower currently is entrusted by our allies to help keep the peace, China is definitely an ally. Some, such as those scholars at the RAND Corporation have written papers suggesting that China's international behavior is not hostile. Well, yes and no, it depends if China needs or wants something, such as resources for instance.

Many have said that the North Korean's rocket and the Iranian drone which both appeared in the global media looked very familiar, probably Chinese, but everything the Chinese has looks vaguely familiar to me, why - because it looks like US hardware, or Russian in some cases. In Bill Gertz's book "Treachery" he practically outlines the case for all of this, and he does name names as well, including companies, many of which are also state run companies.

We also know that China has been hacking into our defense contractors, our oil industry, and there is so much corporate espionage going on in the research and development arena in Silicon Valley, Boston, Atlanta, Austin, and Washington DC that it would make your head spin. The Chinese aren't stupid, after all they built the first firecrackers, rockets, fireworks, and they make all of our American flags that we proudly displayed during our Fourth of July. Obviously it's their holiday too, and they are enjoying those financial rewards.

Some have said that the reason that China supports Iran is because it is a thorn in America's side, it keeps us busy. That, plus the Chinese buy oil from Iran, and they are able to sell Iran military hardware and equipment. I would submit to you that the same thing is true when it comes to North Korea. Having the Chinese involved in six party talks is hilarious, after all it is probably the Chinese that gave the North Koreans most of the technology they have today. I find the whole thing laughable, if it wasn't so unfortunate that it is coming from our nation's preferred trading partner.

If I were to advise China on anything, it would be not to piss off the United States of America, and start negotiating from a win-win perspective on things such as trade, rights of the sea, and international banking and monetary policy. If China joins the Western world in a win-win situation we can unite this planet and we won't have to worry about any of the other nonsense going on from rogue nations, no one deserves to have to deal with that crap. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why America's Army Succeeds

When the chips are down, circumstances on the ground are dire, and the stakes are high America's political leadership and in fact all Americans turn to America's can do force - the United States Army. America's senior military service has built an unsurpassed legacy of achievement through the grit and determination of millions of men and women who have shouldered America's burdens for over 237 years. Soldiers have risked everything to bear the unbearable, suffer the intolerable, and achieve the seemingly impossible.

Today, when assessing why or how the Army is able to succeed where other organizations fail, one may be inclined to point to overwhelming resources - the weapons, the remarkable technology and the awesome firepower the Army can bring to bear. That determination, however, would miss the fundamental element. The truth is much simpler. America's Army succeeds because of its people - the values they adhere to, the processes they employ, and the tenacity they exhibit.

Soldiers come from all walks of life. They don't look the same, they don't talk the same, and they don't think the same except in one respect: soldiers intend to win, plan to win, and fight to win. The Army succeeds in achieving the most difficult tasks, in dangerous, austere environments, because quality people do the necessary things to guarantee success.

The Army, like the other armed forces of the United States, is an institution designed to confront, manage, and overcome the two most influential aspects of the human experience: power and fear. America's Army is the land force charged with managing national power. The Army applies and manipulates deadly force to achieve the national will. To carry out this charge under extreme duress, the Army as an institution collectively, and soldiers individually, must deliberately and directly overcome fear.

The Army relies on universal, immutable principles to organize vast and powerful units, synchronize myriad capabilities, and complete complex and formidable missions. To accomplish the most demanding tasks, to succeed in the most severe circumstances, and to triumph over the most threatening of all adversaries America's Army operates by three indispensable precepts: America's Army is Values Based, Mission Focused and Action Oriented.

These three cornerstones of Army doctrine and Army exploits are the very same principles employed to achieve success in any and all areas of life. The Army has adopted measures to inculcate these principles into its culture. Soldiers come to understand that the power of a team proceeds from the strength of its foundation. Values based, mission focused, action oriented is the Army's foundation and is why America's Army succeeds.