The Future of the U.S. Military Rests on Innovative Leadership
An Army Captain advocates for a rethinking of the way the U.S. military trains and promotes its leaders. He vouches for flexible planning, adaptive learning, and a stronger meritocracy.
In a guest post over at Tom Ricks' National Defense blog at ForeignPolicy.com, Captain Justin J. Belford of the U.S. Army proposes a new step forward for how the military should prioritize leadership selection. Belford, an active duty company commander, advocates for a more innovative and adaptive brand of leaders and explains how an investment in better leadership is really an investment in the future of the U.S. military.
Belford, who writes with a soldierly concision and conviction, details his ideas at the outset of the piece:
"The idea of flexible planning that incorporates learning is an important concept, and is a break from the predictable doctrine of the past. But in order for it to work, today's military must identify talented leaders, properly incentivize them, and provide them with the resources they need to drive change. Additionally, I would argue that Western militaries must break from the established idea that time equals rank, and focus on promoting its leaders based on their talent and initiative."
What's interesting here is that Capt. Belford vouches for a similar change in pedagogy as folks like Dr. Madhav Chavan, whose focus is educating young children rather than soldiers. The common refrain is that institutions should strive to instill in their pupils the abilities to adapt, problem-solve, and learn from experience. With how technology has shifted operating procedures for industries ranging from charter schools to the U.S Army, the traditional manner of learning via memorization doesn't quite cut it. The modern world, whether it be in the classroom or on the battlefield, is far too dynamic to rely on the same old by-the-book training.
For more from Capt. Belford (his piece is well worth a read), check out the link below.
Read more at ForeignPolicy.com
Photo credit: Monkey Business Studios / Shutterstock
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
Great again? Why America stopped looking forward to the future
- Income inequality is dividing Americans.
- Wages haven't risen in 30 years, while prices for housing, schools, and basic goods has.
- Canny (and uncanny) politicians have learned how to milk the politics of fear by comparing the present to the past.
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