WarIsMyBusiness

Warriors & Citizens: American Views of our Military by General James (Jim) Mattis & Kori Schake

"The American public may know little about the military, but we recognize that it is the only reasonably well-functioning public institution we have these days. We do not trust Congress, and the budgets of civilian foreign policy agencies have taken a beating, along with their capabilities. Faced with problems, we send in the troops - after all, who else can we send? Unlike any other part of the government, the U.S. military can be relied on to go where it is told and do what it is asked - or die trying.”
The previous quote by Rosa Brooks, in her chapter "Civil-Military Paradoxes," underlies a serious problem within the United States. The problem is that the American people have such great trust in our military and so little trust in other federal institutions, that the military is the go-to instrument for many foreign policy concerns. It isn't a bad thing that our people have put their faith in our efforts, but - to paraphrase a well-known allegory - when your most reliable and useful tool is the military, all your problems are treated like battles.
What this book offers to the general public is an understanding of the potential dangers of being ignorant about the ways and means of our nation's military. For businesses, this book can offer a glimpse into problems that could arise when you rely too much on one characteristic of your business. One department that has always performed so reliably that you redirect funding to the detriment of others. You will find an allegory for failing to properly get your entire organization or customer-base on board with a decision as well as the problems that can arise when you try to influence the internal policies and procedures of a uniquely different department. You will also find the danger of entitlement that star performers and their departments may have - all at the expense of the organization's long-term goals. Before we discuss examples for business any further, as usual, let's look at the contents of this book.
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Background Video:

CASEVAC B-Roll
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MAAW B-roll
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Mattis, Townsend, McGurk Brief Reporters in Iraq
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/545105/mattis-townsend-mcgurk-brief-reporters-iraq
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True Faith and Allegiance: The Burden of Military Ethics by James H. Toner PhD

Toner discusses how the uniqueness of the military profession creates a set of expectations of the warfighter during military operations. How they should engage with enemy combatants and noncombatants, and the codes and traditions that history has shaped for them. Societies develop cultures through shared experiences, and those cultures develop norms that manifest in specific ways for its warfighters; the ethics that they must follow or be judged to have violated.

It is from the way that militaries develop their codes and ethics that businesses can learn to adapt. Since the consequences of warfare are naturally more severe than that of business ventures, businesses can still suffer from unethical behavior. Learning the ways in which warriors shape their traditions so that its people can act as moral agents under the extreme duress of combat, can also be taught to your people.

Toner will cover what makes the military profession different from that of others. He will discuss the nature of the United States Military and its government. How to train ethical responses into your people and how to shape their educational curriculum. It is a quick and easy read, and its greatest value is in how to assess ethical quandaries and act accordingly. Perfect for decision-makers.

He identities that social norms are for the betterment of society, and ethics becomes a tool to ensure that individual and group behavior don't work against them. He states, "As a moral philosophy, ethics is about trying to separate right from wrong, honor from shame, virtue from vice."

Ethics is used to harm those that work against the whole, and since humans are social creatures, we desire to fall in line lest we damage our reputation and socially ostracize ourselves. We feel it is "right" to support a norm, while it is "wrong" to violate it. We feel it is "honorable" to act at your own expense, while it is "shameful" to do it at the expense of others. We feel it is "virtuous" to impose self-control and reason behind our actions, while it is "vicious" to act uncontrollably or unreasonably. It is understandable that social creatures, like humans, would evolve to develop socially beneficial paradigms like this, as the collective effort to follow norms through an informal application of ethics provides an overall positive outcome to the advancement of societies.

That being said, Toner identifies four sources of ethics that we use to judge the action of others. "It is important to note that ethical conduct normally is based upon a wise blending of customs, rules, outcomes, and circumstances. Blindly following the dictates of one source alone can lead to trouble." Whether an action is ethical or not is difficult to determine due to the many variables that go into the decision to act. With these four categories, we have a process to determine whether specific actions we could take

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Background Video:

Heritage Today - Ethics Video by Billy Barth
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/754392/heritage-today-ethics

Living the Army Ethic - Why and How We Serve Video by Chief Warrant Officer Cory Mcdonald
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/766024/living-army-ethic-why-and-we-serve
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On opposing banks of a river -
Soldiers and civilians wait.

The rushing water divides them -
How to bridge it, they debate.

Soldiers speak a language -
That civvies don’t understand.

They have codes, values, and ethics -
With orders down from Command.

The civilians are more independent -
And business-oriented as well.

They have their products, and their services -
And their important clientele.

With so many apparent differences -
Bridging this divide seems very tough.

But then a Soldier walks forward -
Into the water, sure enough!

The Soldier calls out to both and states -
“The learning curve may seem steep.”

“The river may be wide,” he says -
“But it's only ankle-deep.”

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#poem #poetry #shorts #civilmilitary

The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations by Samuel P. Huntington

If the subtitle of this book didn’t give it away The Soldier and the State's primary focus is on the relationship between a government, its people, and the military that provides its security. The book, however, goes into more than just how they related to one another, but in how they shape each other in their functions; for better or worse. I would say that this represents one of those foundational works to which all future arguments on civil-military relations reference to some effect. It is well researched and beautifully written, and studying its chapters will strengthen your ability to comprehend topics on civil-military affairs.

Huntington, by necessity, begins by discussing how the military is a profession, similar to other professions, with its own unique characteristics. He discusses the profession's rise within Europe as the armies and navies of their countries slowly found the value of dedicated professionals trained in the art of warfare whose primary concern was for the security of the state. They were abandoning the past emphasis on officership being the sole domain of the aristocracy, which itself saw service as a way for personal honor and prestige. The new system was based on the education and training of those of all classes of society whose concern was for their state.

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Background Video:

Battleground: The American Soldier in Combat
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/152144/battleground-american-soldier-combat

Battleground: The Pentagon
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/154137/battleground-pentagon
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Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations by Michael Walzer PhD

Walzer discusses the conditions that make warfare, its waging and conduct, either just or unjust. It is about the decision making process of those senior civilian and military leaders that have to determine the courses of action that may lead to war, as well as the junior military leaders and their warfighters who have to actually carry out the fighting. How do they achieve their military objectives while not causing excessive harm to non-combatants? How can a soldier, who is under the most significant stress a human can endure, make ethical decisions? When presented with multiple courses of action, each having their moral quandaries, which courses should you take?

The market has unique variables, and the consequences for failure are not as devastating as one sees during warfare. Nonetheless, businesses have their own ethical quandaries and face similar dilemmas like the ones that Walzer presents. Business is about influencing other humans and shaping our environments for our benefit, just as it is in combat, and as a result, looking through some of the examples that the author presents can provide us with surrogates for the private sector. The effects of a poor business decision can devastate lives just as much as a military action, but what can you do to mitigate it? Walzer has his ways to determine what is best. Something that you can take from the military sphere and apply it to your own.

Like other discussions on the ethics of warfare, Walzer points to the philosophical and political perspectives that should outline what makes engaging in war just or unjust. Either in the right to go to war: jus ad bellum, or in its just conduct: jus in bello. This book expounds on those two aspects in great detail, and here I will try to provide a quick glimpse of what you should come to expect when reading through his chapters.

Written Book Review: https://warismybusiness.com/just-and-unjust-wars

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Background Video:

OIR Airstrike Destroys ISIS Tunnel by Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/535579/oir-airstrike-destroys-isis-tunnel

Coalition airstrike destroys an ISIS oil wellhead near Al Mayadin, Syria by Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/524398/coalition-airstrike-destroys-isis-oil-wellhead-near-al-mayadin-syria

Battleground: SAC Semiannual Film Report
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/151918/battleground-sac-semiannual-film-report

Battleground: Combat Bulletins #112 & 113
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/151983/battleground-combat-bulletins-112-113
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Dereliction of Duty by H.R. McMaster, Lt. Gen USA (RET)

In Dereliction of Duty, McMaster focuses primarily on the senior civilian and military leaders who steered the United States towards its increased involvement in the Vietnam conflict and the numerous factors that had led them to do so. He showcases the flaws of the men that were ultimately in charge of shaping a nation’s course of action, and how the dynamic relationships that they had with each other impacted foreign policy decisions. With the release of The Pentagon Papers, and their memoirs, McMaster was able to derive the motives and opinions of these men. It provides a cautionary tale for the deciding bodies of business organizations, as much as it does for the United States and other nations.

While reading or listening to Dereliction of Duty you will see common patterns that McMaster was able to identify from the declassified documents and memorandums found within The Pentagon Papers. There is a body of civilian leaders, focused on domestic matters, and convinced of their superiority over their military advisors, in spite of military realities. There is a body of military leaders unable to communicate these realities effectively as a result of their service rivalries, competing loyalties, and the game of politics found in Washington.

What I propose that business leaders, executives, owners, managers, etc. can glean from this book is how dangerous a body of decision-makers and their advisors can be if not unified in their efforts. Imagine what would occur if the chief executive of operations disregarded advice on the distribution of a new product from their primary logistics officer. The problems that might arise if the head of product research and development thought that they knew better about what customers want than the heads of marketing and customer relations. The issues that would occur if key department managers, seeing critical problems and failures that could arise in their areas, were too afraid to voice their opinion or only told the boss what they wanted to hear. In a sense, you get a Vietnam-scenario, in which a deciding body undertakes a course of action that is misdirected and dangerous to the company.

Written Book Review: https://warismybusiness.com/dereliction-of-duty

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Footage from Battleground: Vietnam download here: https://www.dvidshub.net/video/151447/battleground-day-vietnam
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Just War Reconsidered by James M. Dubik, Lt. Gen USA (RET)

Dubik focuses mainly on addressing senior political and military leaders and those in managerial positions that have the responsibility to lead and contribute to important war-waging dialogue. Similarly, for-profit or non-profit businesses, their owners, chief executives, and leaders charged with providing subject matter expertise or managerial oversight into the decision-making processes of that business would find value in what Dubik has written. If you or your people are in charge of developing courses of action for your organization then there are valuable commonalities between Dubik’s war-waging responsibilities and your business plans. https://warismybusiness.com/just-war-...​

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Created 9 months ago.

7 videos

Category Business & Finance

WAR IS MY BUSINESS encompasses a particular thesis, that lessons derived from humanity's propensity towards organized conflict can be applied to the business world.