Friday, October 22, 2010

Recommended reading on strategy and an administrative note

In case you've missed these (and I nearly did), I wanted to recommend a couple of pretty good papers on strategy development. The first, from Small Wars Journal, is titled Looking for the Hedgehog Idea and was written by Justin Kelly and Mike Brennan for the Australian Army Journal. Very interesting read. The second is a UK Parliament committee document titled Who does UK National Strategy? It's a good question. It's still a good question if you substitute "US" for "UK" (thanks to Aaron Ellis for sending me the link). I'm not sure much of it is applicable to a US audience, but it gets at some of the root causes for why the UK isn't very good at developing grand strategy. I'm sure a lot of those causes are similar on this side of the pond.

Now for the administrative note. As you can see, I've dropped the Gunslinger handle. It served me well for a year now, but I think it's causing more confusion than it's helping. First, on the rare occasions that other blogs cite my posts, it is sometimes with my name and sometimes with Gunslinger. Second, with so many similar letters and the nature of auto-complete, Gunslinger and Gulliver have been mixed up a few times. I'm not trying to distance myself from Gulliver's writing or any such thing, but I think this will help everyone get the right one of us. Lord knows, he probably wants to distance himself from my writing! For a totally lazy reason, I don't like handling two gmail accounts - especially one so little used as my Gunslinger account. You can reach my regular email at the "email us" link on the right of the page. And finally, I think putting my name on these posts will help keep me honest on what I write and avoid any personal attacks on other people.

As I bid farewell to this nom de plume, I'll let you all in on why I chose it. My first platoon - 4th Platoon, A Troop, 3d Squadron, 7th U.S. Cavalry - was a tank platoon known as the Gunslingers. Since this was the platoon I led through the invasion of Iraq, using Gunslinger was my homage to them. But enough about me - go read those two papers!

UPDATE: Based on some comments I've received via email, please don't take my comments as a condemnation on anonymous blogging - especially my comment on honesty. I fully support anonymous blogging - without it we would lose the great thoughts of many smart people who aren't able to write under their own names for very valid reasons. Such as the rest of the Ink Spots team and many of our readers who comment and have their own blogs. Using a pseudonym doesn't decrease their honesty at all and in many cases allows them to be more honest than they would be otherwise. I just think it will help me to not be partially anonymous anymore to keep my blogging at a tone and level that I want my blogging to be. That is all I meant by that.


  1. Worst kept secret of all time.

  2. Ha. No kidding - so why bother anymore??

  3. Your posts are always beautifully-mannered (well, with the exception of your slight tweaking of Best Defense. I kind of like that blog. And I'm not afraid to admit it here!)

    At any rate, you are all far better than me. I've made a fool of myself plenty online. Perhaps if I had used my whole name, I might have bit my tongue and stayed quiet a bit more often.

    Oh well. You live. You learn. You keep making mistakes, but hopefully, not so many of them.

    You know what kind of freaks me out? That some of you had so much responsibility at an age when I was completely clueless and flighty. I'll be frank: I bet a certain amount of medical students go to med school to prolong the academic womb while assuring themselves that they are moving forward in their lives. Responsibility grows you up. A lot of medical students really "grow up" when they are residents. But of course, lots more are perfectly fine before that.

    I can't seem to stop making a fool of myself online, can I? The thing is, either you are honest and say what you think, or you bite your tongue. Where is the best place to draw the line? I don't know.

  4. I also can't decide what to do about the "onparkstreet" vs. "Chicago Boyz" vs. "Madhu" thing. I don't always plan. Stuff just happens. This is a weakness of mine.

    I don't know. Someone in my non-online life is freaked by my commenting at milblogs and wants me to stop. Believe it or not, for reasons of safety. Their seems to be a fair amount of diaspora paranoia in my life. Well, to be fair, some of us come from pretty troubled places and experiences have not always been so good.