Defense and the National Interest

Organization & Personnel Management

This section examines the explicit, often written aspects of the people side of the military.  A tendency to equate "organization" with "organization chart" has led some to conclude that the formal, written elements of an organization are not important.  However, strategists have come to realize that some of these elements, such as individual rotation policies and 6-month command tours in Vietnam, can have a severe and negative effect on the factors that are important, such as trust, cohesion, leadership, and readiness.  So they must be considered in any examination of the role and utility of military force.

11/21/06 Straus Military Reform Project Adviser Donald Vandergriff (U.S. Army, ret.) seeks to address the Army's approach to leader development and in particular its methods of teaching and nurturing adaptability, in his new monograph, Raising the Bar. (December 2006, Center for Defense Information Press, 129 pages, $25)

2/10/06 From Swift to Swiss, by MAJ Don Vandergriff, USA, ret. (218 KB PDF) Methods for inculcating the type of thinking that any competitive organization – military or otherwise – needs. Reprinted from the February 2006 issue of Performance Improvement, the journal of the International Society for Performance Improvement.

5/27/04 "Achieving the Parallel Evolution," MAJ Don Vandergriff's briefing to the HASC, 10 March 2004.  How Army personnel policies must change to create an expeditionary force for the 21st Century.  (112 KB PDF)

DoD Urged to Reconsider Personnel Policies
with Iraq Lessons in Mind, Inside the Pentagon, June 26,2003.

"Breaking the Phalanx:  A New Design for Landpower in the 21st Century." Colonel Doug MacGregor, USA, has prepared a briefing derived from his book Breaking the Phalanx (Praeger 1997).  PowerPoint 97 presentations:  Part 1, Why Organization Matters (145 KB), Part 2, Design of a New Army Structure (134 KB), and Part 3, Examples, Logistics, French & British Organization, and Summary (169 KB), Chinese Army View (88 KB). Also, Backup charts (675 KB) and  proposal for a Light Reconnaissance Strike Group (414 KB)

The Lewis Report:  Time to Regenerate, A GenX Response to Dr. Wong's Monograph.  Former Ranger officer Mark Lewis on why our best and brightest are bailing out in record numbers. Special to DNI, on the Leadership Page.

"Culture Wars," MAJ Donald E. Vandergriff's detailed study of the evolution of the US Army's personnel management system, its problems (including careerism, officer "bloat" and risk aversion), and what needs to be done to ensure that the Army remains an effective instrument of national policy into the 21st Century.

Recruiting done right.  The Peace Corps offers low pay (~$10/day, including relocation allowance), abysmal housing, no promotions, and no retirement plan.  Like the Marine Corps, you get adventure and the chance to make a difference.  Also like the Marine Corps, the PC is very selective and makes its recruiting goals.

Briefing by LTG Timothy J. Maude, DCSPER, on officer management and retention, 19 Oct 2000.  Retention has reached crisis conditions, especially among company grade officers, and particularly USMA graduates and ROTC DMGs.  The number of senior officers turning down command billets is unprecedented.



Kinder & Gentler Boot Camp - A "Hard Right" or an "Easy Wrong"?  July 24, 2000


Sayen Report: Officer Bloat Creates the Shortage of Captains, July 16, 2000


The Personnel Crisis is Not About Selling Fruit Loops, July 5, 2000


Bringing Back the Draft Won't Fix the "Marginalization" Problem, July 3, 2000


Why Personnel Problems Reflect the Marginalization of Soldiers From Culture and Society, June 27, 2000


Emails from the Field on the Personnel Crisis, June 27, 2000


Tillson Report Calls for Reform of the Personnel System, June 26, 2000


The Military's Personnel Death Spiral, June 26, 2000


Why the Army's Emerging Personnel Policies Will Not Stem the Exodus of Captains, June 26, 2000


Two Majors Sound Off on Question of Patchwork Solutions that Do Not Address the Fundamental Problem, June 15, 1999 


Should We Rely on Adequate Patchwork Solutions If They Do Not Address the Fundamental Problem?   June 7, 1999


11 Reasons Why Army Officers Don't Want to be Warriors, June 3, 1999


Leadership (VIII) 7 Irrelevant Reasons Why COHORT Failed …or Why the Army Hates Unit Cohesion, November 10, 1998






CERTAIN TO WIN: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business, by Chet Richards. Boyd's real OODA loop and ancient strategies working for business today. More...
Advance Reviews;
Amazon and B&N


RAISING THE BAR, by Donald Vandergriff (U.S. Army, ret.) Published by the Center for Defense Information Press. Read the DNI review. Order from Amazon.


SCIENCE, STRATEGY AND WAR, by Col Frans Osinga, RNAF. Read the DNI Review.  Order from Amazon or B&N


NEITHER SHALL THE SWORD, by Chet Richards.  If you thought A Swift, Elusive Sword was too tame.  Read the Introduction and view the Briefing. Podcast review.  Available now on Amazon


BOYD: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram
Amazon & B&N.


BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION : A Future Worth Creating, by Thomas P. M. Barnett. Read the DNI review. Buy at Amazon and B&N


NOT A GOOD DAY TO DIE: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda, by Sean Naylor. Read the DNI Review; Amazon and B&N


THE WASTRELS OF DEFENSE: How Congress Sabotages U. S. Security by Winslow Wheeler.  You'll be disgusted, then just mad.
Read Comment #527.
Amazon and B&N


THE AFGHAN CAMPAIGN, by Steven Pressfield.  Read the DNI Review. Amazon and B&N.


The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield
Read the DNI Review.
Amazon and B&N. Now in trade paperback.


The Sling and The Stone by Col T. X. Hammes, USMC
Amazon and B&N


Defense and the National Interest, Copyright © 1999-2008, Kettle Creek Corporation, All rights reserved.