Dan Sukman is a U.S. Army strategist who has served in both the institutional and operational force in both joint and service assignments. Dan has multiple combat tours with 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. Dan is also a member of the Military Writers Guild. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
Operational planning teams, OPTs for short, help solve some of the most complex problems that surface during warfare. These teams provide the avenue for combatant commands and joint task forces to develop key contingency plans, through deliberate or crisis-action planning. Like any other team, OPTs require the cooperation and teamwork of their members, a goal that's often easier said than done. To understand how to keep an OPT running smoothly, it's helpful to step outside the context of the military, and to think of these teams like football squads. Doing so — and borrowing from the enlightening article Teamwork Behaviors: A Review and Integration of Frameworks — is useful way to overcome the pitfalls that can bedevil field grade officers hoping to navigate the complex world of OPTs, and to avoid the “penalties" that can set any team back.
Movies sometimes provide deep philosophical insights into the American psyche. The 2004 Will Ferrell hit “Anchorman” became an instant classic whose one-liners are still quoted more than a decade on, and probably will still be for decades to come. These quotes not only serve as great date-night conversation topics, but can also help to explain war. Modern day warfare is complex; however, Ron Burgundy and the San Diego News Team can help expand our insight into the nature of the American way of war and those who fight it.
There is a theory, that every situation in life can be related to “Seinfeld," the famous NBC sitcom about nothing. Late in the second decade of the 21st century, Seinfeld maintains its relevance in spite of some elements, such as the absence of cell phones, being a little dated. Culturally, “Seinfeldisms" remain pertinent. These are the phrases and descriptions that made their way into everyday American language. In the modern U.S. military, Seinfeldisms serve to describe many things, ranging from personalities of commanders to strategic planning and combat system acquisitions.
Americans are infatuated with movies, and for us, as men in our thirties, using quotes from movies has long been a method to convey our innermost feelings and emotions. The ability to recite a quirky or obscure quote at the right time impresses male friends, but has never impressed a woman (yet, though that's certainly no reason to stop trying).
Supporting the decision cycle of a joint force commander is important to leaders at the operational and strategic levels of warfare. Commanders pull together operational planning teams from across their staff to solve specific problems. Often, planning teams contain members of the staff across each J-code directorate and members of various divisions and branches within each directorate. Leaders in the staff must understand the various types of personalities they will encounter to effectively run a team.