2 Old Army Reformers Advise, ‘Don’t Do It’—But Offer Advice In Case You Insist

The Long March
Comrades now, veterans in gray and blue shake hands at the 1913 Gettysburg reunion, much of the old animosity healed after a half century of peace.
Gettysburg National Military Park)

Editor’s note: The Long March will be closed for inventory the month of August. We regret any inconvenience this causes our loyal customers. In an effort to keep you reasonably content and focussed, we are offering re-runs of some of the best columns of the year. We value your custom and hope you will stick around for . . . the Long March.


That’s the advice from retired Lt. Cols. John Nagl and Paul Yingling, who both have made post-Army careers in education.

If you want to make a career in the Army, they counsel, just lay low. “If you want to advance, go along and get along: Attend the unit barbecue, laugh at the boss’s jokes and for God’s sake never write for publication.”

But if you insist on advocating change, they continue, be smart about it. Disguise it, for example. “ If you want to sell a new idea, make it seem old.”

Prepare to wage a campaign, not to fight battles. Make allies. Look for areas of agreement. Reach out to other sorts of venues. “As our insurgent enemies have taught us, tactical defeats are far less important than strategic vision and staying power.” 

Altogether, a wise article verging on cynicism. Which is not a bad posture for a potential reformer to take.

WATCH NEXT:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.

After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.

But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

Read More Show Less

That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.

After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.

Read More Show Less

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.

"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."

Read More Show Less
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in a closely watched war crimes trial this summer has filed a lawsuit against two of his former attorneys and a military legal defense nonprofit, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Texas on Friday.

Read More Show Less

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The Air Force is reviewing whether some airmen's valor awards deserve to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said on Tuesday.

Goldfein revealed that several airmen are being considered for the nation's highest military award during a press conference at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. He declined to say exactly who could receive the Medal of Honor, pending the outcome of the review process.

Read More Show Less