Center for Junior Officers

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    What Every Boss Wants: Forecasting
    (USMA, 2019) Fust, George
    It was the first day at my new unit. As a staff officer I wasn’t surprised when the Battalion Executive Officer (XO), my new boss, motioned me into his office for a chat. What he said next left me speechless. I anticipated the normal “welcome to the unit” speech, but instead he offered one sentence worth of guidance and sent me on my way: “forecast my needs and that of the unit and you will succeed here.” What exactly did he mean by this? How does one forecast without additional information? Where should I start? What should the priority be? How far out should I forecast? My new boss clearly didn’t have the time to answer these questions, so I would have to figure it...
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    Walking in the Woods: A Phenomenological Study of Online Communities of Practice and Army Mentoring
    (Pepperdine University, 2015) Kimball, Raymond A.
    Recent changes in written Army leader doctrine have reaffirmed the informal practice of mentorship as a component of subordinate leader development. At the same time, the use of Professional Forums in the Army has the potential to alter commonly accepted norms, policies, and practices of mentoring. This dissertation conducted a phenomenological study of how lived experience in the Forums complemented or detracted from the practice of Army mentoring. The study found that the lived experience closely corresponded to Kram’s mentoring functions, with additional documented experiences in the areas of peer and computer-mediated communications mentoring. The participants’ practices of mentoring within the chain of command and crossgender mentoring were significantly impacted by unique aspects of Army culture. The researcher found that the Professional Forums were supportive of mentoring practice, but were not mentoring spaces themselves. Participants credited the Forums with helping them identify viable mentoring partners and refining their own mentoring practices. Forum participants believed that their engagement in those spaces gave them a positive outlook on Army mentoring. The study’s findings suggest best practices for informal Army mentoring while illuminating new directions for quantitative research in cross-gender and CMC-based mentoring.
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    Transformation Under Fire: A Historical Case Study with Modern Parallels
    (United States Army War College Press, 2007) Kimball, Raymond A.
    Rarely have an army’s fortunes shifted so much in such a short period. At the end of 1917, the Imperial Russian Army, bled dry and exhausted from the twin blows of tsarist incompetence and prolonged modern warfare, essentially ceased to exist. The military situation in 1920 could scarcely have been more different. The Red Army’s military supremacy over the territory of the soon-to-be Soviet Union was unchallenged and acknowledged by the world’s major powers. All of this made what happened next even more shocking. Later that same year, the Soviets would find themselves utterly defeated and thrown back by the Polish Army, an organization nearly one-tenth the size of the Red Army fielded by a state that had been obliterated from existence for 120 years and reconstituted only 2 years prior. This paper illustrates the hazards inherent in transforming a military under fire, and provides some cautionary lessons for the current U.S. efforts at military transformation. The outbreak of civil war in June 1918 galvanized the creation of the fledgling Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, authorized by the Congress of Soviets only 6 months before. Specific focus areas for the Supreme Military Council, the chief military body of the new force, included leader development, new organizations and doctrine for the force, and a logistical system capable of supporting warfare across the vast distances of Russia. All of these were shaped by the pressures of transformation under fire, and those transformations would have great impact later. The most significant outcome of these pressures was the permanency of supposedly temporary institutions like the commissars and the limited role of the noncommissioned officer (NCO) corps. Although the Bolsheviks showed real innovation and a healthy pragmatism in constructing their new force, their transformational efforts were ultimately doomed by a stubborn refusal to recognize their own limitations. Flush with victory, the Soviets drove west to settle old scores with the Poles, only to discover that their force was overmatched and incapable of adjusting to the new terrain and enemy. In a very real sense, the Red Army never really knew who it was fighting in Poland, and thus could not bring any of its strengths to bear. Additionally, its methods of logistics and command and control were all shaped by the long fight with the Whites and were wholly unsuitable for battle against a very different enemy...
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    Army Schools… Go To Them
    (USMA, 2019) Fust, George
    Besides looking cool on your chest or sleeve, Army schools should be sought after. They provide opportunities, they demonstrate your technical or tactical proficiency, and the act of preparing to complete them will make you stronger and faster. As a junior officer you should actively seek every opportunity to invest in your education. Rarely will the slot be handed to you. You must make the effort to be ready when the tryouts come along, or circumstances align to allow you to attend.
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    The Leader Challenge as Cognitive Tool
    (USMA, 2013) Kimball, Raymond A.
    As resources dwindle in the wake of the current drawdowns, the United States Army is challenged to find new and effective means of preserving hard-won institutional knowledge. One highly successful means of doing so is the Leader Challenge, which puts novice leaders in the shoes of experienced professionals and forces them to make decisions. Participants are then allowed to access the reflections of other leaders who have taken the challenge, and revise their approach if desired. This paper uses Kim and Reeves’ Joint Learning System framework to assess the Leader Challenge and identify future challenges in its wider use.