The Qualities The British Army Looks For In Officers Assigned To Advise Foreign Militaries

The Long March

A British sniper takes aim as part or Exercise Trident Juncture 2018

The British Army has an interesting take on what makes a good advisor to foreign forces.


To begin with, the three top attributes for which the selection process filters are "Humility, self-reliance and restlessness." Also "patience and empathy," states Brig. James Roddis. I don't think I've ever seen an American military requirement along those lines. "I need people who are patient and comfortable in their skin," he explains.

One reason he needs emotional maturity, he adds, is "the leader must have the confidence to not have every idea.. . .They have to trust their Lance Corporals and Corporals to run more stuff."

A few other interesting observations in this short article:

  • "You must be comfortable in leaving tasks horribly unfinished because success, certainly in the initial phases of a task, might simply be being asked back."
  • " Everything they do must be sustainable. A mature ego is important – do no harm must be the mantra. The worst thing you can do during your task is make your successors' jobs more difficult."
  • "Leaders in the Specialized Infantry will need to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable. They will recognise problems, accept the problems need to be solved, yet also accept that they will not be able to solve them in their own deployment cycle. All this leads to the acceptance that their role is actually laying the foundations for their successor's successor to help the partner force blossom."
  • "Tactical success is not always the top priority. "During the first few iterations of a mission the most critical task is establishing a relationship." (This made me think of a phrase I hate: "Failure is not an option." I think it really is a way of justifying risk aversion. If failure isn't an option, then you are not taking enough risks. And you may be seeking strategic gains without taking tactical risks, which is a recipe for stalemate or worse.)

A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.

It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.

Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.

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Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.

"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.

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A projectile is fired during North Korea's missile tests in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019. (KCNA via Reuters)

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In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.

"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.

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