11 Tips for Succeeding as Aide-de-Camp

by Andy Brokhoff

Congratulations on being selected as an aide-de-camp. This assignment is like no other assignment you have had. You were selected because of the successful career you’ve had thus far, but also for your potential to continue service for years to come. Being an aide is an amazing broadening assignment where you will get a glimpse into senior level military leadership. But it’s also difficult to prepare for.

Before you do anything else, read the Army’s guidance on serving as aide-de-camp:  Officer/Enlisted Aide Handbook. Next, I encourage you to consider the following advice.

aide

U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walks with Vietnamese Chief of Defense Lt. Gen. Do Ba Ty at the Ministry of Defense in Hanoi, Vietnam, Aug. 14, 2014. Link to photo.

You Don’t Have Time for Professional Reading…Try This

by Nicholas Simontis

I am a firm believer in the value of professional reading as a critical part of professional and personal development. Early in my career, I began maintaining a list of titles that leaders and peers recommended, a list that expanded considerably during my time in CGSC and SAMS. But I was seldom able to whittle it down, let alone think critically about what I was reading. Professional responsibilities, family obligations, TDY travel, and deployments continued to pile on and, probably just like you, professional reading was the victim.

professional reading

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Juliet Moth reads through a safety study guide in the weapons handling area aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, in the South China Sea, July 16, 2016. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan McFarlane.

17 Productivity Hacks for Your Military Staff

I bet that more than once a day, you let out a sigh of frustration at the absentminded staff activity that surrounds you…Your boss asks why you didn’t respond to his “urgent” email. THE NEW OPERATIONS NCO TYPES IN ALL CAPS (incredibly annoying). Someone prints 30 full-page copies of the 53-slide presentation because, “there are 30 people in the meeting, right?” And in that meeting, your unit’s update doesn’t make it to the slides, even though you sent them yesterday.

And those are just the ones you notice! There are probably dozens more inefficiencies, idiosyncrasies, and ineptitudes you aren’t even aware of that impair you and your staff’s productivity.

Having spent a few years in the Army staff machine, I offer these immediate adjustments to reclaim your sanity and reduce the needless, often well-intentioned but inefficient staff practices that keep you from getting more important work done.

productivity

The U.S. Army’s ‘Cyber Center of Excellence’, Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga., hosted a multi-service ‘NetWar’ to show, and build, cyber Warrior capabilities Tuesday, June 10, 2016. Georgia Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tracy J. Smith.

Grow NOW! …with these 7 Podcast Interviews

Growth in the world begins with growth inside. Good leaders exhibit a moment to moment commitment to become something more than what they are. They read to learn. They engage to be challenged. They listen to be enlightened. Consequently, their followers’ growth is a reflection of that process.

In your quest to become more than you were yesterday, here are a few podcast interviews I’ve listened to lately that made me want to pull over the car and take notes. Enjoy!

podcast

My In-Depth Guide to Creating a Blog Post

The Military Leader - from "Birth to Buffer"

There are two types of people who will really like this post. First is the content producers (bloggers, website managers, writers), because I’m going to lay out some really geeky blog stuff. The other people who will enjoy this are those who want to peek behind the curtain of The Military Leader blog. This post is an inside look at everything that I invest and every step that I take to make The Military Leader what it is today. If you’re not a content producer, don’t worry. I’m going to give you a few takeaways right up front. Here we go!

Blog

Sebastian Junger Knows What We Know About Combat

Sebastian Junger speaks Infantry. He’s an American journalist with no military service, but that doesn’t matter. He speaks our language. The sound of a bullet, the constant fear, the instinctual drive to save a buddy laying in the open. He knows the combat experience because he chose to live it in the treacherous terrain of the Korengal Valley in Kunar, Afghanistan.

Sebastian Junger

A Soldier watches as U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jets pound insurgent positions with bombs, after a 20-minute gun battle in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, Aug. 13, 2009. The Soldiers are assigned to the 4th Infantry Division’s Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team. Photo by Sgt. Matthew Moeller.

Stop Telling Me to Listen to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History!

For the last year, friends and colleagues have recommended that I listen to Dan Carlin’s podcast, Hardcore History. People from separate circles and professions brought it up as a “must-listen-to.” I even subscribed a few months ago but never got around to beginning any of the multi-hour episodes.

I finally succumbed to the pressure last week and skeptically began the five-part series, The Wrath of the Khansand I’ve listened to nothing else since. I admit it…I’ve officially converted and am now a staunch, overt, unapologetic Dan Carlin fan.

Bringing History to Life

HistoryI’ll concede that I often forget how important history is to personal and professional development. Sometimes I focus too much of my reading on topics that break new ground or dive into lofty concepts. I’m interested in history, but I get pulled away from it. History, however, is the never-ending repository of real-life lessons that we should repeatedly visit.

Dan Carlin brings those lessons into vivid clarity through detailed retelling, thorough research, and heartfelt enthusiasm. He’ll admit that he’s not an historian, but instead coalesces the prominent historical writing and assess its validity and logic. He explores the details that typically get left out and in doing so, transports history into the present day perspective.

Whether you’re studying history or just looking to get lost in a story, Hardcore History is a fantastic option. And if my word isn’t good enough, Hardcore History is the #1 ranked History podcast and the #6 podcast across all categories in iTunes.

My Recommendation

Dan Carlin has over 56 podcast episodes to choose from, with 14 of them free on iTunes and his website. The two big series are Wrath of the Khans, a year by year account of the conquest of Genghis Khan and the generations that followed him…and Blueprint for Armageddon, a retelling of the colossal tragedy that was World War I. He also has series for sale that cover the fall of the Roman republic, the Punic Wars, the German-Russian fight in World War II, and many others.

I recommend starting with Wrath of the Khans. It’ll grab you right away and give you a good sense of what Dan Carlin brings to history.

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Making Sense of Battalion Command Selection

Every year, hundreds of officers approach a professional development milestone that will determine whether they achieve what many consider a lifelong goal. That milestone is the Battalion Command Selection Board. Though they’ve put in hard work over countless hours to become competitive for this board, most officers are uninformed about how the Army selects battalion commanders and slates them to specific units.

Even officers I worked with at Human Resources Command were not aware of the intricacies of the process. This post aims to close that knowledge gap by explaining the Centralized Selection List (CSL) process. It is immediately relevant for Army officers competing for battalion command this year. It is ultimately relevant for anyone who wants to compete for battalion command at some point in his or her career.

The full version of this infographic is available at the end of this article.