Small Wars Journal

defense reform

Capo-Militaries: An Illicit Modus Operandi of Armed Forces and Intelligence Services in Peru, Mexico, and Venezuela Peter J. Munson Mon, 02/18/2013 - 3:30am

Capo-militaries, by their diverse portfolio of activities, such as the use of sophisticated weapons, logistics, and tactics, have become threats to national and international security.

Bleeding Talent

Sun, 01/06/2013 - 10:17am

The New York Times reviews Tim Kane's new book Bleeding Talent: How the U.S. Military Mismanages Great Leaders and Why It’s Time for a Revolution. Dr. Kane is a former Air Force officer and now a PhD economist at the Hudson Institute. He argues that the military's all-volunteer force attracts a population more talented than their private sector peers and that the armed forces are a leadership factors, producing a high number of future CEOs, for example. But when it comes to retaining and managing that talent, we have a problem.

According to the review, Kane sees some of the major issues are that talented members have no control over their careers and that the seniority-based up-or-out system is largely talent blind. Kane argues that an internal labor market would help to rationalize the system. That is, if you have to compete for jobs like those in the private sector, the market would do a better job of managing talent than the bureaucracy which, frankly, makes no effort to manage talent.

This is likely to be a frustrating read for almost everyone. If you agree with it, it will frustrate you with the inanity of the system. If you don't, well, you'll still be frustrated. I hope that it sparks some serious soul searching in the Pentagon, though. Well...

The Generals... Readable but Flawed?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 5:19pm

Gian Gentile provides an intelligent dissection of Tom Ricks' The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today at the New York Journal of Booksdeeming it "highly readable but flawed."

Tom Ricks’s new book The Generals regresses from Keegan and takes us back to a less complicated form of military storytelling in which wars’ outcomes were determined solely by the performance of army commanders.

The main argument to the book is simple: Relieve American army generals in war for poor performance and victory will be more attainable.

Read it here.