Professional Development Bookshelf:
R eviews of books that teach us about our craft By: Maj. Anthony E. Duplechien Operations Georgia Army National Guard Authored by Thomas E Ricks, this book provides an account based on achievement of goals and accomplishment of the mission by the Army. Focused quite obviously on the top leadership of the Army from WWI to the recently ended conflict in Iraq and the current conflict in Afghanistan, Ricks discusses the core of what we in the Army provide - leadership. Mr. Ricks gives some very opinionated accounts of some of America’s premier Generals whose names would be familiar to professional soldiers and certainly even to those aware of historical and current events. The focal point of “The Generals” is on George C. Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff most noted for bringing the Army out of the Post WWI gloom and transporting into the premier fighting organization that achieved victory in WWII. In his book, Ricks provides numerous accolades on General Marshall’s standards for choosing his generals — “common sense, a student of the profession, strong, optimistic, energetic, loyal and determined” and his expectations for them to be able to translate strategy into operational orders and results, in other words, to figure out what to do and then get people to do it. Illustrating his message of accountability Ricks quotes Lt. Col. Paul Yingling who noted that “during the darkest days of the Iraq war, a private who lost his rifle was punished more than a general who lost his part of a war.” Ricks message of accountability leads to the key take-away for the reader: we as leaders are charged with achieving success. It brings to light that we need to
define and measure what success looks like and hold our leadership accountable to that standard. The lessons of the book are enlightening and thought provoking. As professionals charged with the mission of providing “well trained and motivated forces to the Governor and combatant commanders,” we, as leaders, are accountable for building unified land operational capability.
March 2013 | 16