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Recommended Reading

Top Billing! ADM. Michael Mullen Strategic Communication: Getting Back to Basics

Initially, I didn’t care for this salvo from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at all, and I was inclined to write a critical post. Then I read it a second time and decided that I was being put off more by some superficial rhetorical flourishes than what were the Admiral’s main substantive points, with which I essentially agreed. Admiral Mullen also deserves credit for modeling intellectual leadership by putting his own ideas into the arena rather than relying upon public affairs officers to issue bland statements in his name. This is exactly what we should see from our senior military officers – leadership!

That said, I will add that the earlier, historical, “natural”, synchronicity between word and deed to which Mullen alluded was because the United States operated from a coherent grand strategy, first the Open Door Policy and then after WWII, the Atlantic Charter and Containment Doctrine. We do not have any comparable elite consensus over grand strategy today which is (partially) why we have a mismatch between our message and our actions.

Some reactions here, here, here, here and here.

Esquire (Thomas PM Barnett) –Obama Targets Jack Bauer, but Who Takes the Fall?

World Politics Review (John Robb)Risk and Resilience in a Globalized Age: Containing Chaos              

Fast Company -(Jamais Cascio)Three Possible Economic Models and Three Possible Economic Models (Part II)

Tom, John and Jamais are staple reads for me. Dr. Barnett analyzes the Obama administration’s Hamelt-like effort to deconstruct the CIA’s clandestine division over Bush-era harsh interrogation-sliding into-torture. Robb and Cascio are engaged in very complementary, scenario/paradigm based futurism. Speaking of using scenarios, anyone hear from Art Hutchinson lately? His expertise is missed in the strategic blogosphere.

Federal Computer Week  (Mark Drapeau) Social-media bans miss the mark

Dr. Mark Drapeau is becoming the Gov 2.0 go to guru inside the Beltway. Follow him on twitter at @cheeky_geeky .

Zero Intelligence Agents What’s Wrong with the ‘Terrorist Facebook’

Excellent methodological take-down by Drew.

MountainRunnerPushing Humpty Dumpty: the rebuilding of State

Agree with Matt. State needs rebuilding, not a paint job.

Coming AnarchyThe Party’s Over

Curzon on Japan’s election which has ended in a stunning landslide for the opposition.

Ralph Peters – Trapping Ourselves in Afghanistan and Losing Focus on the Essential Mission

Peters takes a break from his recent batshit insane televised meltdown to offer a cogent but ultimately flawed critique.

USNI Blog (FFry) – ‘Rescued’ Cargo Ship ARCTIC SEA Hijacked by the Russian Navy?


SWJ Blog (Adam Elkus)Complexity, Defense Policy, and Epistemological Failure

Senor Elkus, en fuego.

/MessageThe War On Flow, 2009: Why Studies About Multitasking Are Missing The Point (Hat tip Jessica Margolin)

Nice. It’s the yardstick, stupid. Shrewd dude.

Eide Neurolearning Blog – Positive Psychology Hits the Classroom

We will be hearing more about positive educational psychology due to an obscure (to the public) Federal education mandate known as RtI.

The New York Times (Motoko Rich) – The Future of Reading A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like  (Hat tip Eddie)

As with many things, what is needed here is not either-or, but the sweet spot of “both”.

Scientific American –  The Mysterious Downfall of the Neandertals

What happened to the “h”? SCIAM now requires a subscription to view content so this will probably my last link to them – enjoy your walled garden guys, as your online traffic devolves to about 20 % of your print subscribers.

That’s it.

4 Responses to “Recommended Reading”

  1. Roy Lofquist Says:

    Dear Zen,

    Glad I read this. I was starting to form a slightly negative view of Adm. Mullen.

    I believe there is a far more fundamental problem with our communications effort. We are trying to talk to Martians. The Afghans are a tribal society that is living in the eighth century. I don’t think that anyone who has not grown up in that culture is functionally fluent in Pashtun or Urdu. Kinda like my G.I. Turkish – cac para agabey? (how much?).

    Back during the Russia/Georgia set-to there was a noticeable influx of Russians in the comments threads of many blogs. They were easy to spot. The idioms were bollixed. Adm. Mullen seems to get it right – actions, not words. He notes the cottage industry of the "communicators".  They really don’t get it but they’re edumacated – their professors told them so.



  2. Cheryl Rofer Says:

    Wikipedia explains the loss of the "h" in Neandertal. Although I thought that the name of the valley was Neander, the adjective Neanderthal/Neandertal.

  3. Cheryl Rofer Says:

    Whoops! Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neandertal

  4. A.E. Says:

    Thx for shoutout!

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