Center for Junior Officers

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    Unit Training Management — A Primer for Company Leaders
    (Center for Junior Officers, 2021) Gomez, Don; Peterson, Joshua
    As we enter the new fiscal year amid a continuing global pandemic, Company-level leaders across the Army are building training plans to prepare their units for their wartime missions. To guide leaders through this process, the Army has reformed and revitalized its Unit Training Management (UTM) program. Junior leaders across the Army have rich and deep experience participating in training events and in many cases designing, executing, and assessing them. The Army’s UTM philosophy capitalizes on that experience while ensuring that training conducted is both tied to a unit’s Mission Essential Tasks (METs) and assessed in accordance with standards for training proficiency.
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    The Seven Deadly Sins of Army Mentoring
    (War Room Online Journal, 2017) Kimball, Raymond A.
    I’m going to mentor the out of you. You’ve probably never heard those exact words come out of a mentor’s mouth, but you’ve probably had professional relationships that felt that way. Whether well-intentioned or malicious, we’ve all encountered professional counterparts who thought they knew what was best for us and weren’t going to stop until we saw it their way. Sir/Ma’am, please describe the universe for me. And if you could keep it to words of two syllables and 140 characters total, that would be great. In the same vein, you may have had a potential protégé who was seeking more than you were prepared to give. No matter how much they needed some professional insights, something just didn’t click and you had to let the relationship go by the wayside. Why does this happen? Why do well-intentioned developmental relationships go bad on us?
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    Knowledge is Power (but only when shared)
    (Center for Junior Officers, 2019) Fust, George
    We have all heard the phrase “knowledge is power.” What exactly does that mean? Does it mean I should hoard the knowledge I have? Should I keep it safe by refusing to allow my peers and subordinates access to it? Will having more knowledge, and subsequently more power, make me a better officer? Perhaps. Knowledge itself is not the end goal. The application of knowledge is the critical piece missing from the colloquial phrase. Ultimately, we are all part of a team called the U.S. Army. We win or lose as a team. We win or lose as a Division, as a Brigade, as a Battalion, a Company, and as a Platoon. Why then would we ever choose not to contribute to the larger effort of success of the team? Does our own ambition make us so shortsighted that we are unwilling to help a fellow platoon leader prepare for a small arms range? That we would leave a struggling peer to draft an OPORD by himself?
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    To Make Army PME Distance Learning Work, Make It Social
    (Military Review, 2013) Kimball, Raymond A.; Byerly, Joseph M.
    ARMY DISTANCE LEARNING (dL) for professional military education (PME) is not living up to its full potential. PME dL courses are seen as the poor relations of resident courses, and soldiers are counseled to avoid them if at all possible out of a belief that they will negatively affect career progression. With the return of competitive selection for resident attendance at Command and General Staff School, dL courses are likely to further sink in reputation and standing. This article proposes an immediate fix for dL PME courses to make them more relevant for participants and thereby enhance their standing in the PME hierarchy. The fix is to incorporate social learning, using a variety of resources to connect learners in conversation around professionally relevant content. The Army’s soldier-student population is familiar with and prefers social learning over individual study. Moreover, the Army already has a robust social networking system established. Introducing a social component into dL PME can, if done properly, increase the relative value of these courses and bring those more into line with the Army’s stated doctrine for learning environments.
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    The Army Officer's Guide to Mentoring
    (The Center for the Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational Learning, 2015) Kimball, Raymond A.
    Mentoring matters! It matters because it shapes both the present and future of our Army. It matters because at our core, we are social beings who need the company of one another to blossom. It matters because, as steel sharpens steel, so professionals become more lethal and capable when they can feed off one another. This book is all about the lived experience of mentoring for Army officers. Within these pages, you will read real stories by real officers talking about their mentoring experiences.
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    Run Fast and Shoot Straight: How to Win as a Second Lieutenant
    (The Center for Junior Officers, 2019) Fust, George
    Congratulations! You just commissioned as a second lieutenant. Your college experience is now complete, and it is time to start anew. Now that you have arrived at your first unit, what can you do to stand out from your peers? How can you be recognized as the top of the pack? What can help you get a platoon or a coveted school slot? What can help with your annual officer evaluation report (OER)? The answer is simple, run fast and shoot straight. Literally. This is not an analogy.
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    What Every Boss Wants: Forecasting
    (USMA, 2019) Fust, George
    It was the first day at my new unit. As a staff officer I wasn’t surprised when the Battalion Executive Officer (XO), my new boss, motioned me into his office for a chat. What he said next left me speechless. I anticipated the normal “welcome to the unit” speech, but instead he offered one sentence worth of guidance and sent me on my way: “forecast my needs and that of the unit and you will succeed here.” What exactly did he mean by this? How does one forecast without additional information? Where should I start? What should the priority be? How far out should I forecast? My new boss clearly didn’t have the time to answer these questions, so I would have to figure it...
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    Walking in the Woods: A Phenomenological Study of Online Communities of Practice and Army Mentoring
    (Pepperdine University, 2015) Kimball, Raymond A.
    Recent changes in written Army leader doctrine have reaffirmed the informal practice of mentorship as a component of subordinate leader development. At the same time, the use of Professional Forums in the Army has the potential to alter commonly accepted norms, policies, and practices of mentoring. This dissertation conducted a phenomenological study of how lived experience in the Forums complemented or detracted from the practice of Army mentoring. The study found that the lived experience closely corresponded to Kram’s mentoring functions, with additional documented experiences in the areas of peer and computer-mediated communications mentoring. The participants’ practices of mentoring within the chain of command and crossgender mentoring were significantly impacted by unique aspects of Army culture. The researcher found that the Professional Forums were supportive of mentoring practice, but were not mentoring spaces themselves. Participants credited the Forums with helping them identify viable mentoring partners and refining their own mentoring practices. Forum participants believed that their engagement in those spaces gave them a positive outlook on Army mentoring. The study’s findings suggest best practices for informal Army mentoring while illuminating new directions for quantitative research in cross-gender and CMC-based mentoring.
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    Transformation Under Fire: A Historical Case Study with Modern Parallels
    (United States Army War College Press, 2007) Kimball, Raymond A.
    Rarely have an army’s fortunes shifted so much in such a short period. At the end of 1917, the Imperial Russian Army, bled dry and exhausted from the twin blows of tsarist incompetence and prolonged modern warfare, essentially ceased to exist. The military situation in 1920 could scarcely have been more different. The Red Army’s military supremacy over the territory of the soon-to-be Soviet Union was unchallenged and acknowledged by the world’s major powers. All of this made what happened next even more shocking. Later that same year, the Soviets would find themselves utterly defeated and thrown back by the Polish Army, an organization nearly one-tenth the size of the Red Army fielded by a state that had been obliterated from existence for 120 years and reconstituted only 2 years prior. This paper illustrates the hazards inherent in transforming a military under fire, and provides some cautionary lessons for the current U.S. efforts at military transformation. The outbreak of civil war in June 1918 galvanized the creation of the fledgling Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, authorized by the Congress of Soviets only 6 months before. Specific focus areas for the Supreme Military Council, the chief military body of the new force, included leader development, new organizations and doctrine for the force, and a logistical system capable of supporting warfare across the vast distances of Russia. All of these were shaped by the pressures of transformation under fire, and those transformations would have great impact later. The most significant outcome of these pressures was the permanency of supposedly temporary institutions like the commissars and the limited role of the noncommissioned officer (NCO) corps. Although the Bolsheviks showed real innovation and a healthy pragmatism in constructing their new force, their transformational efforts were ultimately doomed by a stubborn refusal to recognize their own limitations. Flush with victory, the Soviets drove west to settle old scores with the Poles, only to discover that their force was overmatched and incapable of adjusting to the new terrain and enemy. In a very real sense, the Red Army never really knew who it was fighting in Poland, and thus could not bring any of its strengths to bear. Additionally, its methods of logistics and command and control were all shaped by the long fight with the Whites and were wholly unsuitable for battle against a very different enemy...
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    Army Schools… Go To Them
    (USMA, 2019) Fust, George
    Besides looking cool on your chest or sleeve, Army schools should be sought after. They provide opportunities, they demonstrate your technical or tactical proficiency, and the act of preparing to complete them will make you stronger and faster. As a junior officer you should actively seek every opportunity to invest in your education. Rarely will the slot be handed to you. You must make the effort to be ready when the tryouts come along, or circumstances align to allow you to attend.
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    The Leader Challenge as Cognitive Tool
    (USMA, 2013) Kimball, Raymond A.
    As resources dwindle in the wake of the current drawdowns, the United States Army is challenged to find new and effective means of preserving hard-won institutional knowledge. One highly successful means of doing so is the Leader Challenge, which puts novice leaders in the shoes of experienced professionals and forces them to make decisions. Participants are then allowed to access the reflections of other leaders who have taken the challenge, and revise their approach if desired. This paper uses Kim and Reeves’ Joint Learning System framework to assess the Leader Challenge and identify future challenges in its wider use.