Whether I receive command or not, won’t matter to my military career any more – not this close to retirement and not given my end goals. Additionally, I feel happy with my life and career as I experience it right now. Taking on command would significantly disrupt the situation I now enjoy. Why, then, did I apply for command?
Well, it doesn’t happen very often that the Soldiers themselves ask for a commander, bottom-up. (My use of the word Soldier in this context refers to the junior ranks, grades E-1 through E-4. In the British Royal Marine Corps, the word Marine in addition to referring to any of its members also serves as its lowest rank.)
Commanders (CDRs) get appointed from higher, not asked for from lower. In fact, the military doesn’t care much for what lower asks for. I do. Therefore, why not apply for command? It still remains my boss’s and his boss’s decision. Whether I get it or not, I don’t control.
WHY I PROBABLY WON’T GET IT
I don’t expect to actually receive it. One of my recent evaluations, the one for 2016, rated me as qualified. In the US Army, Officer evaluations go bottom-up as follows (with comparable K-12 school letter grades): unqualified (F- like muh fukr), qualified (F to D), highly qualified (C- to B to A- depending on the wording), and best qualified (A+).
And so, I rated as qualified, or just about failing. Why? Did I rob a bank, slap a grandma, do drugs or drive while intoxicated? None of the above. I went to the psych ward for suicide, got laptops quarantined for a spillage incident despite running it by my boss prior (which I admit I should’ve known better anyway and so I don’t blame him), and checked the disagree box on several of my counselings.
We’re supposed to personally counsel our rated Soldiers and Officers upon concluding an evaluation; especially if qualified. He didn’t. I suspect he wanted to avoid confrontation; most likely, as work busyness normally goes, he simply never got around to it. Therefore, I don’t know for sure why the rating. Doesn’t matter. I respect the evaluation. It worked out in my favor (for another blog post).
CREATING MY OWN LADDER
I no longer care to climb this ladder. I’ve long since questioned whether this ladders is for me, whether it’s on the right ground, and whether it’s pointing in the right direction. For some, yes. But no longer for me.
It’s been years since I upgraded the ribbons on my uniform above my left breast pocket (the Army allows its Soldiers to wear less if desired). I don’t care to wear more. I’m not applying for any special schools or assignments. I’m not working competing for promotion.
I’m already doing what I want: I’m raising awesome kids. I make work easier for next person. I help others succeed. I look for opportunities to leave life better than I found it even if on the micro level; or at least not make it worse.
MY CMD PHILOSOPHY, WHY I DON’T KNOW BETTER, AND CREATING UNITY OF EFFORT
I’ve several documents to prepare for tomorrow, to include my command philosophy. I’ve memorized my boss’s command philosophy and vision for the battalion.
My vision will be his vision – the what. A ready, trained, and disciplined unit. Ready in his Big 6 (shoot, maneuver, communicate, medical, MOS, and individual readiness). Trained, in that it proves tactically proficient, battle-focused, and physically and mentally fit. Disciplined in being standards-based, mindful of good order and discipline, and enthused toward disciplined initiative. No need to reinvent this wheel; that would just compound confusion and defeat unity of effort.
My command philosophy – the why and how – I intend to leave blank until I meet (if I ever do) the company’s senior Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and section leaders.
The why, I believe, remains a given. To win our nation’s wars, to defend our nation, to protect innocent life, to uphold and defend the US Constitution. Why else does a military exist? If a military exists to fight and win wars, it follows therefore that it spends its time either conducting a fight, training to fight or supporting just that.
And just how does it do that? How best will the given company achieve the why? It depends on the particular company. I’m not that smart. Nor do I believe that the company has been sitting on its hands waiting for me to arrive. Why not develop the command philosophy together with the unit itself?
I believe doing so would help build a cohesive team, create shared understanding, and inspire disciplined initiative. It would invite micro commitments. It would invite buy-in. It would be their words. Not mine.
I DO HAVE MY COMMAND PHILOSOPHY, JUST FOR ME
Make the unit’s members feel safe.