Leadership: The Proud Prussian Tradition of ‘Disobedience’

The German and Prussian officer corps are the officer corps with the greatest culture of disobedience–with maybe the exception of the French. The stories and events that kept alive the virtue requiring an officer–even in war–to disobey an order “when justified by honor and circumstances” were corporate cultural knowledge within the Prussian and German officer corps and it is therefore important to recount them here. -Jörg Muth, from the book Command Culture.

This is cool. Back in 2012 I wrote a Building Snowmobiles post called General Hermann Balck, The German That Inspired Boyd. In that post I explored the origins of Boyd’s thinking when it came to battlefield innovation and leadership. Or basically, I wanted to find out who inspired him in the history of warfare or gave him the idea like ‘building snowmobiles’. And what I found out had it’s origins at Chet Richard’s paper called John Boyd, Conceptual Spiral, and the Meaning of Life. Here is the quote I zeroed in on, and it has been fun to expand upon what made Balck interesting to Boyd.

Boyd’s appreciation for novelty grew as he mulled over the ingredients for success in conflicts. Boyd’s close associate, Pierre Sprey, credits Boyd’s conversations with General Balck (1979a & 1979b) as planting the seeds that led to Boyd’s fascination with innovation, novelty, and the importance of rapid, intuitive decision-making (Personal communication, September 23, 2012). Thus the elements of maneuver conflict that appear in the September 1981 edition of Patterns, for example, do not include the concept of novelty, but by 1986 it was there (p. 115). Perhaps it was not until he began to compose Conceptual Spiral, though, that Boyd realized how the term “novelty” encapsulated so much of his strategy.

So in my post I, I wanted to find that translated taped interview between Balck and Boyd’s research team and talk about anything of interest to the readership here. (which by the way, if anyone has that tape, it would be priceless to get it up on youtube or in a podcast)

At the time, I was really into the concept of dissent within teams or units. To speak up and not have the fear of being put down by your leadership. This is necessary for healthy organizations and leadership absolutely needs feedback in order to gain a finger tip feel for their organization. You also need honesty so that you are able to make decisions based on reality, and not based on data derived from a group think type scenario. Too many leaders and managers in today’s private industry are so adverse to getting honest feedback, or lashing out at those within their organizations that have the courage to come forward and question the status quo or some policy that makes no sense. This criticism is often interpreted as an affront to leaders whose ego is more important than building a better organization or coming up with better strategies.

It is sad to see companies fail or falter because of these types poor leaders, and they do immense damage. Within the PMSC industry, you see it all the time with Program Managers that lack management skill and leadership skills, yet are hired for the position because they knew someone or the company blindly hired them without proper vetting.

These PM’s would benefit greatly by just listening to their human resource and acting on that information, instead of trying to do everything on their own and not seeking input. To actually listen to those that have the courage to step forth and ask the all important ‘why’ question when confronted with idiotic policies. Policies that are often made without the input of others or the consideration of it’s second and third effects on operations or the morale of the contractors on that program.

So back to the main point. I ended that post about Balck with a question that has been bugging me since I wrote the thing in 2012. Here it is.

The other quote that perked me up is Balck’s mention of the Prussian military tradition of ‘expressing yourself bluntly’ to your superiors. lol I love it, and in the quote below, Model was his boss and Balck was telling him how much he sucked at commanding.
“Model listened to everything I said. We both expressed our opinions, shook hands and returned home. He never came to see me again. But every time I got a new assignment, he was one of the first to congratulate me.
That was one of the great Prussian military traditions: you expressed yourself bluntly but you were expected to never resent such blunt criticism.”
Boy, imagine if we had such a tradition in the US military? Or even in private industry? It also shows how smart the Prussians were about feedback and questioning authority. To actually have a tradition that forces folks to sit there and take criticism like a man…. I might have to explore this Prussian military tradition at a later point. Pretty cool and check this thing out. 

I thought at the time that this was crazy but awesome! For a military to have a proud tradition of ‘expressing yourself bluntly’ to your superiors is a pretty powerful concept? And most of all, where did this tradition come from and why is it important?

After making that post, it definitely got some traction and it sparked all types of conversations, and especially on Facebook. At FB, I even reached out to any of my German national readers that read the blog, and asked if they had heard of such a thing? Or even if there was a German phrase they were familiar with? I got nothing, and the question just lingered and the post just went into the archives un-answered.

Then late last year while reading an excellent book by Jörg Muth called Command Culture, I finally found the answer. For a quick reminder, Jorg came to my attention when I stumbled upon a post over at the blog called Best Defense, that described the command culture and the concept of Auftragstaktik (Mission Command) of the German Wehrmacht during WW 2, and compared that culture and command philosophy to the US military culture and command philosophy during WW 2.

After reading about the concepts, and how influential they really were to militaries around the world (to include the US), I was intrigued and had to find out more. I was amazed at how influential and sound the concepts were and I haven’t stopped researching the stuff since. Here is a segment about what Jörg’s book is about. (I also suggest the work by William LindDon Vandergriff, Eitan Shamir, Bruce Gudmundsson, Chet Richards, and Martin Van Crevald and their focus on Mission Command or Auftragstaktik and German military thinking during WW 1 and WW 2)

In Command Culture, Jörg Muth examines the different paths the United States Army and the German Armed Forces traveled to select, educate, and promote their officers in the crucial time before World War II. Muth demonstrates that the military education system in Germany represented an organized effort where each school and examination provided the stepping stone for the next. But in the United States, there existed no communication about teaching contents or didactical matters among the various schools and academies, and they existed in a self chosen insular environment. American officers who finally made their way through an erratic selection process and past West Point to the important Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, found themselves usually deeply disappointed, because they were faced again with a rather below average faculty who forced them after every exercise to accept the approved “school solution.”
Command Culture explores the paradox that in Germany officers came from a closed authoritarian society but received an extremely open minded military education, whereas their counterparts in the United States came from one of the most democratic societies but received an outdated military education that harnessed their minds and limited their initiative. On the other hand, German officer candidates learned that in war everything is possible and a war of extermination acceptable. For American officers, raised in a democracy, certain boundaries could never be crossed.
This work for the first time clearly explains the lack of audacity of many high ranking American officers during World War II, as well as the reason why so many German officers became perpetrators or accomplices of war crimes and atrocities or remained bystanders without speaking up. Those American officers who became outstanding leaders in World War II did so not so much because of their military education, but despite it.
The book connects successfully the pre-World
War II officer education of the U. S. Army and its traditions and culture with the conduct of the War against Terror today.

So what golden nugget of information did I find that relates to the topic of this post? Here is a quote from the book.

It was not by accident that the phrase fuhren unter der Hand (leadership behind the superior’s back) originated from the German and not any other army. All those examples were collective cultural knowledge within the Prussian officer corps, recounted and retold countless times in an abundance of variations during official lectures, in the officer’s mess, or in correspondence between comrades. The independence that was expected from a German officer and that was part of the tradition of the German officer corps could always attain the character of disobedience, a fact that was also recognized and acknowledged. 

The examples Jörg mentioned were of famous military leaders in the Prussian army, and later the German army. They include men like Ludwig Beck, who had the quote that ‘military obedience has a limit where knowledge, conscience, and a sense of responsibility forbid the execution of a command.’ Ludwig actually put action to words in regards to Hitler and was involved in a plot to assassinate him.

Other names mentioned include Generalleutnant Johann David Ludwig Graf Yorck von Wartenburg who signed a treaty with France in 1812 without the permission of the king of Prussia. The king originally wanted the guy executed for taking the initiative and not consulting the king about his actions, but then when that treaty actually resulted in great benefit to Prussia, then all was forgiven.

Another guy mentioned was Oberst Johann Friedrich Adolf von der Marwitz, who refused a direct order by his king to loot a castle of one of their enemies. That this kind of activity was not appropriate for his prestigious calvary regiments, and that lesser free lancer units raised during war time were usually given these tasks. Of course this pissed off the king, and Marwitz got a lot of flack for it. On his tombstone, it says ‘ He saw Frederick’s heroic times and fought with him in all his wars. He chose disgrace when obedience brought no honor.”

Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz is another famous guy in Prussian history that told his king to shove off during a battle. The king wanted him to attack with his calvary at a specific time during the Battle of Zorndorf, and Seydlitz replied that it wasn’t time yet. The king got pissed off, and demanded that he attack, and Seydlitz refused because he already had a plan. He replied famously ‘Tell the King that after the battle my head is at his disposal, but meanwhile I will make use of it’. lol

Back in those days, if you refused the king’s wishes, they would have you executed, so you can imagine the kind of courage it takes to say ‘nope’ or be disobedient.  And of course when Seydlitz attacked at the time of his choosing, he won the battle. Which shows how sure he was of himself and what needed to happen.

The final mention of disobedience was Friedrich the Second, who was the Prince of Hessen-Homburg. He decided he was going to start a battle against some Swedish mercenaries (Battle of Fehrbellin) at a time and choosing of his own, before waiting on The Great Elector to show up. The time period was 1675 during the Thirty Years War, and wars at that time required that rulers be present on the field of battle before they start. Friedrich decided to buck the system and kick off a surprise attack without the ruler being there. (on a side note, the army raised for this battle, became the core of the Prussian Army)

Now why is all of this disobedience relevant to Prussian history? Because back in 1812, a lack of initiative and a highly centralized command led to a bloody and extremely embarrassing defeat of the Prussians at the Battle of Jena. This battle is said to be the turning point in Prussian military thought on how to fight and win wars, and started them on the path to developing Auftragstaktik. A command culture and philosophy that emphasizes taking the initiative, and forming creative solutions to problems and operating off of commanders intent as opposed to hanging on their every word.

So there you have it. It was fun to finally close the loop on this question, and a big thanks to Jörg Muth for writing such a kick ass book. It is also a reminder to those leaders out there that are actually trying to build a better company or military unit, that feedback is essential to the health of your organization. The Prussians learned long ago the value of dissent or disobedience, and it was infused into their command culture through years of warfare and trial and error.

If in fact the US military or private companies are interested in implementing decentralized command principals like Mission Command, they will have to remember that your leaders will have to have some thick skin and put away their egos. They must study what works for war or business, and they must have an appreciation for those willing to speak up and criticize what is going on. After all, that individual might be responsible for taking the initiative and turning the corner of a battle, or finding a new market for your business, all because they dared to do something different or say something that needed to be said.

Or they make like Seydlitz and ‘fuhren unter der Hand’! -Matt

 

Frederick the Great compliments General von Seydlitz on his conduct during the Battle of Zorndorf. Picture by Carl Röhling

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Building Snowmobiles: Boyd Sightings

I haven’t written a Building Snowmobiles post in awhile and thought these two tidbits were worth putting up. Col John Boyd continues to influence folks to this day and it is neat to see where he pops up at.

The first sighting is a series of videos that were posted by Jason Brown. According to his twitter handle, he is an AF officer and author at a website called General Leadership. They are videos of John Boyd giving his Patterns of Conflict briefing to some congressional staffer’s. The sound quality sucks and I think a crowd funding campaign to clean up the audio of these would be awesome. I am sure some group could clean it up and give it justice. Here is a quote about the process of getting these transferred to youtube.

Published on Jan 4, 2015
This is a video of John Boyd delivering his Patterns of Conflict lecture. The audience appears to be a group of Congressional staffers in former Iowa Congressman Jim Lightfoot’s office. The year of production is unknown, but my best guess is mid-to-late 1980s. I copied this from a tape in the Boyd Collection at the USMC Archives at Quantico, Virginia, in 2007. The tape’s audio wasn’t the best quality (recommend using headphones). The lecture is over 6 hours, so I’ll probably have to break this into 12 or more parts. Each part takes a long time to upload, so it will be a few days/weeks to get the entire lecture online. Boyd’s acetate slides are washed out, but you can follow along with the slides by downloading Patterns of Conflict here.

Very cool and the series can be found at this youtube channel if you want to watch the whole thing. Jason Brown has conveniently chopped up some very interesting portions of this presentation. If you have headphones, I suggest you use those in order to get better clarity. The first video is Boyd discussing two heavyweights of strategy and war–Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, and why he thought Sun Tzu got it right.

 

 

The second sighting of Boyd was over at Chet Richard’s blog. He just downloaded an outstanding slide presentation done by Dean Leane. He was the CEO of CRH of North America, and he applied the concepts of Boyd and his associates, to the strategic direction of the company. Here is what he did.

I asked my staff to read 4 books: Certain to Win, Boyd by Robert Coram, Maneuver Warfare Handbook by Bill Lind and Warfighting by the USMC. Although my people were sometimes puzzled by this curriculum, I was able to get most of what we were trying to get across stuffed into the assembled noggins.

Between 2000 and 2010, CRH North America went from no presence whatsoever to the largest supplier in its market sector in the NAFTA region. If anyone thinks this is easy, then I suggest they try it.

What sucks though is CRH eventually sold to their competitor. Meaning they did such a good job, that their competitor made a ridiculous offer to buy the company. Which is actually a good thing as well. If you can’t beat them, then buy them I guess. lol Good stuff and I highly recommend checking out all the new material to ‘get orientated’. -Matt

 

 

 

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Podcasts: Sean McFate, Author Of The Modern Mercenary On NPR

This is interesting. Sean McFate is the author of the book The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order and he is making the rounds promoting his book. He will also be at several speaking events in the near future. One will be at the Atlantic Council on March 3 and the other will be at the World Affairs Council on March 24. His background is that he worked for DynCorp International in Africa on a unique project to rebuild Liberia’s army back in 2004.

In the podcast, he gets into the nitty gritty of what this industry is currently involved with, and where he thinks it is going. Check it out. -Matt

Listen to the podcast here.

 

 

 

From NPR

In World War II, contractors made up just 10 percent of the military workforce; by the Iraq war, that number had risen to 50 percent. And that number is climbing – not just in the U.S. but worldwide, as governments look to save money and keep casualty numbers down for their own militaries. But what does this trend toward private-run warfare mean for the future of international relations? One former contractor warns that armies-for-hire will soon be the norm, making it easier than ever to wage war. What an increased reliance on private armies could mean for modern warfare and global security.

Guests

Sean McFate senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Former paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and former private military contractor in Africa.

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Finance: 2014 Taxes For Contractors, By CPA Luke Fairfield

It is that time again and Luke Fairfield has put out his yearly newsletter for contractors. This stuff is extremely informative and Luke specializes in all the particulars unique to our industry. For your convenience I will also put this in the Taxes For Contractors page if you need to find it quickly. Check it out. -matt

 

Greetings!

For all you ex-pats, foreign contractors and overseas residents out there I hope this letter finds you well. In an attempt to keep you current with your tax filings I am sending out this letter as a year-end reminder that 2014 is almost over. As always feel free to pass this email on to anyone in your situation who could use the help or anyone that I missed on this email. As always, I will do my best to minimize your tax bill and provide relevant advice for your situation.

Important Updates for 2014:
1) Please visit our website at www.fairfieldhughes.com. The website includes a learning center with answers to frequently asked questions. We hope you find it to be an excellent resource.
2) Our in house attorney Zac Silides can assist with the preparation, revision or updating of a trust or will and can also assist with other business related legal needs such as the creation of new business entities. Fees for these services are very reasonable based on a comparison to other options.
3) Information update related to IRS audits of the foreign income exclusion:
a. It is critically important that you retain copies of your Diplomatic passport and regular passport, overseas orders, LOAs, overseas expense receipts, VISAs and anything else that can prove you were overseas in a combat zone. Keep these for at least 5 years. Do not turn in your passports without making a scanned, color copy of them.
b. Should they choose to do so under audit, the IRS now has the ability to obtain an entry report from CBP and Homeland Security to verify your time in the US.
c. If you are claiming the exclusion under the physical presence test (330 day rule), some IRS offices are now requiring that your “abode” be outside the US to qualify. Unfortunately this term is not defined in the tax code and the IRS is using some very old court case ruling to say that it is where you maintain your social and economic ties. For those of you with family in the US, this can raise an issue.
d. In short, the foreign income exclusion has become a riskier claim as the IRS does not issue specific enough guidelines on many foreign income exclusion issues. We do not know with any degree of certainty how any audit will conclude as results vary widely by auditor.
4) FATCA. The IRS has enacted many regulations regarding foreign bank accounts and foreign financial instruments. If you have a foreign bank account with a value in excess of $10k or foreign financial holdings in excess of $50k, you may have a filing requirement to be compliant and avoid possible penalties.
5) Afghanistan Tax.
a. In 2014 Aegis was withholding a tax on income earned in Afghanistan by foreign personnel. Several other companies withhold Afghanistan tax on the employee’s behalf as well. If you are aware of foreign tax being withheld, please inform us of this fact so we can ensure you get proper credit.
b. Triple Canopy and Global withhold Iraq tax on income earned in Iraq.
c. Tax paid to a foreign country can be claimed as a credit on your US tax return (Form 1116).
d. The credit can be combined with the foreign income exclusion if you qualify but the foreign tax credit is partially reduced when both are used, making this a complex calculation.
6) Indonesian Tax. Triple Canopy employees in Indonesia present for more than 183 days have a whole new set of issues to be aware of.
a. You are currently having something called “Hypo” or hypothetical tax withheld from your paycheck. This amount will cover your US and Indonesian tax obligation in most cases.
b. TC has provided a description of how your tax obligation to each country will be calculated and handled but it is not easy reading and is complex as it varies by situation.
c. The CPA firm KPMG has been retained to prepare both your Indonesian and US returns. If you plan to use this service, I am happy to look over your returns before they are filed to make sure you received all the benefits available to you. KPMG is a huge worldwide firm who may not be overly familiar with the contract security work profession. Secondly, they will not be as responsive to each of you and your individual questions which concerns me as I have always made a point of getting each of you the answers needed immediately.

Based on the most common questions I was asked last year, let me briefly cover the points most relevant to your situation. The following is a rundown of how your tax situation differs from someone working in the states.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Film: The PMSC Tasked With Protecting Jurassic World–InGen Security

This is cool. Apparently in this summer’s blockbuster film called Jurassic World, there is a PMSC that they have promoted in trailers as the ones tasked with protecting the park. Below I have posted the main trailer for the film, which shows that the Jurassic park has been built and dinosaurs have been created through genetic engineering. In the second clip below, it shows the PMSC named InGen Security which is a business unit of Masarani Global. The Vic Hoskins character seems to be the CEO of InGen Security, played by the actor Vincent D’Onofrio.

Of course in the prior Jurassic Park films, InGen was a genetics company. Apparently in this film, InGen was bought up after economic collapse (due to dinosaurs destroying the business model) by Masrani Global and then converted into a PMSC. Kind of odd restructuring if you ask me, but hey that is the storyline. lol

Now what will be interesting to watch here, is how this PMSC is portrayed in the movie. One group that blogged about this element of the movie believes that InGen Security will be made out to be the bad guys and get the ‘dinosaur treatment’ in the end. That seems to be inline with how Hollywood treats PMSC’s in film these days. We saw this in the film Avatar and the bad guy company there was RDA. It was still a fun film to watch.

Who knows and we will see how this turns out? I do know that this is the first film I have ever heard of where the story’s PMSC is tasked with protecting folks in an environment filled with out of control dinosaurs. I mean InGen Security did clean up that ‘infamous flying reptile “cleanup” operation over Canada in 2001′, according to the news story from the company website. So they can’t be all that bad. lol

From a marketing point of view, it is neat that the film companies out there are making company websites like this to further support the story. The Masrani Global website looks great, and I look forward to checking out the film on the big screen this summer. -Matt

 

InGen Security: An Asset Containment Unit officer stands watch at Isla Nublar’s Jurassic World.

InGen Security: No Laughing Matter.

With the number of reported Central American poaching vessels increasing in the Meurtes Archipelago over the last year, InGen’s security division, headed by Vic Hoskins, has been busy ramping up operations in the Gulf of Fernandez.

“We don’t have the capacity to take things for granted around here”, Vic says. “While some of our work is assisting the staff at Jurassic World, we also have a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations to monitor activity on Isla Nublar and its neighboring islands.”

Poachers have been known to risk their own lives working in the service of ruthless collectors. It has also been reported that some individuals have been responsible for mishandling captured specimens, with disturbing hospitalization cases on the Costa Rican mainland.

“This area of the world is controlled by a multi-national coalition, and our Asset Containment teams spearhead keeping this region safe and protected. With the use of state-of-the-art equipment and communication technology provided through partnerships with various Masrani Global subsidiaries, we can do just that.”

A seasoned security contractor, Vic Hoskins was involved in overseeing the infamous flying reptile “cleanup” operation over Canada in 2001. Due to the professionalism his team displayed, he was hired personally by Simon Masrani to re-develop InGen’s Security Division, which helped oversee the protection of workers on Isla Nublar during Jurassic World’s construction.

 

 

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Year In Review: 2014 Google Analytics Report For Feral Jundi

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 2.02.55 PM

My overall stats for the blog is 1,549,518 visits and 2,363,638 page views between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2014. (My first post was on the 22nd of January, 2008)

Now for some demographics for the overall life of the blog. Most of my visitors are younger. The top group is the 25-34 year old range with the second group being 18-24 and third being the 35-44 year old range. So my readership group is mostly Millennials and that would fit in line with today’s veteran age group. It also makes sense that this group would find their way to this blog because for research on job stuff, this site would come up and the younger crew seems to be more apt to check out blogs for information.

Now here is a shocker. The break down in gender is 45.85 % of my readers are women and 54.15% are men. I had no idea that so many women were interested in this niche. Especially since there are so few women in this industry working as armed security contractors overseas. In other fields you see women contractors, but even there it is few and far between. My thoughts on this statistic is that contractors have wives and girlfriends who are hungry for knowledge about what their loved ones do for a living. Or if someone dies and I post it, you will have that interest as well. Then of course there are the female analysts, reporters, academics and gamers that visit the site for research purposes.

The top ten countries that have visited the site, and in order are the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, South Africa, India, Italy, and the Netherlands. And really, those nationalities are the ones I have the most interaction with on Facebook. No surprises there.

As for technology, this is interesting as well. Most visitors came to my site via desktop (1,350,816). But the amount of folks coming here via smart phone (148,722) or tablet (46,746) has dramatically increased. It was a good move to focus on making the site mobile and tablet friendly. Although I still need to improve in that area.

The top mobile devices are the Apple iPhone, iPod and iPad. The Samsung Galaxy products get a mention, but don’t even come close to the Apple products. On a side note, most of my work on the blog was done using a Mac. I have been very pleased with their performance.

Now for content. My all time best post for the life of the blog has been the classic ‘how to get into security contracting without a police or military background’. 41,259 people have checked that one out and that says a lot about the focus of my readership. They are young and looking for employment in a unique job field. The second best post of all time is my entry about Ross Perot’s rescue of EDS employees.

The all time best post for the most amount of page views in one day happened in 2014 on February 16 (5,547 page views!). It was my post on Contractor Weapons and it blew up the internet. lol I think what happened there is that Facebook has been a great tool for sharing information and unique things, and when I shared that post, a lot of my readership on FB really liked it and passed it around. Weapons are always popular, and contractor weapons are a unique area that hasn’t been covered much.

The second best post for one day was my General Balck On Eating With Your Troops entry last year in January 2 (4,240 page views). Balck was a favorite of Col. John Boyd and it is fun to dig into the things Balck did that made him successful. The strategists/theorists out there love digging into these types of deals, and especially if it is somewhat related to Boyd.

The post highlights of 2014 are interesting. ISIS made a big splash this year and Ebola was a big scare. We saw more consolidation in the industry with mergers and acquisitions.

The Slavonic Corps was an interesting post about a bungled Russian PMSC contract in Syria. It was a poorly planned and executed contract, and it is surprising to me that more of those guys did not get killed as they tried to escape their battlefield.

The APPF was disbanded last year…..finally. What a joke. On the up side, I posted about guard contracts popping over there. They are low paying, but it is work for those that want it.

I talked about an interesting deal with the Flying Tigers memorial in China. I believe it would be the largest memorial to a PMSC in the history of contracting. I imagine we will see some former members of the company at the ceremony when they open it up.

The biggest company news last year was Academi (formerly Blackwater, Xe) and Triple Canopy merging under Constellis Holdings. There are other companies in this family, and the total size of this group of companies is 6,000 plus folks! This merger is interesting because TC took over Blackwater’s WPS stuff when they left Iraq back in the day. Now Academi has a connection in Iraq again.

Finally, the other news last year that grabbed my attention was the A 10 versus the F 35 debate. That the Air Force wants to get rid of the A 10 and use the F 35 as a replacement. The problem there is that the F 35 doesn’t even compare to the capabilities of the A 10 for Close Air Support. Plus the F 35 is way too expensive.

This last year I was very busy with my personal contracts, and so my post count was pretty low. I am also spending more time on Facebook because it is faster and easier to share stories/ideas and interact with my readership. The blog has become more of a tool of sharing unique items when time permits.

Probably the most important stuff that I have shared on Facebook was EBFAS. Chet Richards is the one that turned me on to this acronym (which stands for Einheit, Behendigkeit, Fingerspitzengefuhl, Auftragstaktik, Skewerpunkt) and these are crucial elements Boyd and company identified for the ultimate company or military culture. My studies on Mission Command have all pointed in the direction of what EBFAS stands for, and on Facebook I created an album that covers it. I highly suggest checking it out and I am constantly hash-tagging it in other posts.

Leadership is still a big focus of the blog and I am constantly looking for what works and doesn’t work for PMSC organization and command. What is required is a hybrid of military and private company lessons, and I am using it all to ‘build a snowmobile’. Undoubtedly though, there are some basic concepts of leadership that are tried and true, and I try to get those up on the Jundism page when I stumble on these truths.

My thoughts on the industry is that we are definitely heading in the right direction. Maritime Security has been hugely successful in combating piracy.  There is some consolidation going on in the industry with the draw down of the wars, but today’s threats are still there and growing. I predict contractors will still be in demand in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with Daesh/ISIS, Boko Haram and Al Qaeda growing and looking more like armies as opposed to terrorists, I believe contractors will continue to be busy.

For training and weapons, I suggest companies focus on leadership for their contracts and add new training based on current threats. Daesh, Boko Haram and Al Qaeda are all gaining combat experience and tactical know-how in places like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Nigeria. As security contractors, it is absolutely vital to the success of the contract and safety of your client that we stay one step ahead of these enemies. We need to be focused on the defense, both for static security and mobile operations. Countering complex assaults and active shooter attacks will be key. Studying TTP’s of the enemy on youtube or through open source stories is key (like armored VBIED’s,  tunnel bombs, or complex assaults). Know your enemy, know yourself as Sun Tzu would say, and be prepared for anything. -Matt

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