CGS Reading list on armynet...

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by msr, May 2, 2010.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

  2. Reading lists seem to be flavour of the month. Perhaps the RN might like to invest a little in professional development...
  3. msr

    msr LE

    Well having read the Starfish and the Spider I really do have to wonder why it was included. Can anyone else shed any light?
  4. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I have not read any of these books but I have just been given 'Masters and Commanders' and will be reading it when I finish with Theodore Dalrymple in the next day or two.

    What should I go for next?

    This is the list:


    • Clausewitz: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Howard. Oxford University Press, 2002

    • Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction by David Miller. Oxford University Press, 2003

    • International Relations: A Very Short Introduction by Paul Wilkinson. Oxford University Press, 2007

    • Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age by Peter Paret. Princeton University Press, 1986


    • Classical Strategy Making

    o Masters of War: Classical Strategic Thought by Michael I Handel. Frank Cass, 2001

    o The Making of Strategy: Rulers, States and War by Williamson Murray, MacGregor Knox and Alvin Bernstein. Cambridge University Press, 2007

    o Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy during the Cold War by John Lewis Gaddis. Oxford University Press, 2005

    o Strategy: The Indirect Approach by B H Liddell Hart. Faber, 1967

    • Contemporary

    o Swords and Ploughshares: Bringing Peace to the 21st Century by Paddy Ashdown. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2007

    o Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World by Rupert Smith. Penguin, 2006

    o War Made New: Weapons, Warriors and the Making of the Modern World by Max Boot. Gotham Books, 2007

    o Another Bloody Century: Future Warfare by Colin Gray. Phoenix, 2005

    • Political/Military Relationships

    o Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke - War Diaries 1939-1945 edited by Alex Danchev and Dan Todman. Phoenix, 2002

    o Masters and Commanders: The Military Geniuses who led the West to Victory in World War II by Andrew Roberts. Penguin, 2009

    • Thought Provoking

    o The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. Penguin Classics, 2004

    o The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Beckstrom and Rod Brafman. Portfolio, 2008
  5. msr

    msr LE

    Quite frankly I would recommend British Military Doctrine, seeing as how few have actually read it...

    "The second part of the study asked the same 114 officers whether they had read Army Field Manual Volume 1 Part 10, the counter-insurgency operations manual, taking this as the doctrinal baseline for their tactical-level understanding of operations in Afghanistan. The data gathered showed that for the sample population, only 31 per cent of officers were familiar with this publication. Perhaps more importantly, this meant that more than two-thirds of officers that each had completed an average of two operational deployments had no knowledge of fundamental counter-insurgency principles. "

    RUSI JOURNAL DECEMBER 2009 VOL. 154 NO. 6 pp. 26–31
  6. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Of course we shouldn't have to be spoonfed this stuff and should be expected to be sufficiently interested in the job to get out there and find out what we should know I can't help wondering if more of an effort should be put into advertising this sort of stuff.

    I've only become aware of this via ARRSE, I'm an occasional user of ArmyNet but this one passed me by. If it is considered desirable that officers should read Army Field Manual Volume 1 Part 10, the counter-insurgency operations manual should we be told and shouldn't we be given/lent the manual?
  7. Reading doctrine should be a key part of officer training and development. The problem is that once you've spent 12 hours a day pushing emails back and forward in whatever HQ you work in then the last thing you want to do when you get home is read some doctrine.

    Training should take time to develop the conceptual component, unfortunately officer study weeks are such OJAR events then the organiser is not going to have "Monday: reading doctrine, Tuesday: doctrine discussion, Wednesday: read more doctrine" on the timetable.

    I've said it before elsewhere but if you don't give officers the time and intellectual space to develop and learn then the army will continue to breed unwitting anti-intellectuals.
  8. I've no idea, it's pointless. The "Very Short Introductions" have only disappointed, the Utility of Force was interesting, but v Land oriented (for a tri-service list), and I'm about to start Gray's tome.

    There will never be "reading" time in our careers - our seniors coped perfectly well without it, so why do we need to do it?!
  9. I think it is quite disingenious of RUSI to ask the question about AFM Vol 1 Part 10 because even though it was widely drawn from for the basis for the US Army FM3-34 it was never readily available or widely read by our senior officers, let alone unit COs. For the last 3 years we have been encouraged to read the American one, because it was in a handy book-type format rather than a pamphlet format. The new version published (as a book) in Dec 09 or Jan 10 is much better but it is very Afghanistan focussed.

    My major bugbear about it is that it has not filtered out of Bde HQs in hard copy because "you can get it on DII".
  10. In a tribal culture dominated by unwitting ant-intellectualism, time and space alone are not enough to make a difference - there is serious need of intellectual leadership (a la Petraeus) to shift the log-jam.

    That is a major obstacle.

    If all you succeed in doing, is to breed a species of officer that can parrot doctrine (as though doctrine was just a set of drills) without intelligently, creatively and appropriately interpreting it, then what progress have you achieved?
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  11. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I think this is what the Military Analysis modules and subsequently Staff College courses are supposed to address. I certainly appreciated the opportunity for a bit of 'directed' thinking in the former.
  12. In 1989 I was still disposed to admire the poise and intellectual capacity of my Camberley DS - not least the Commandant.

    3 years later, as I worked for him, and with one or two of them, and some more recent psc-types, getting to grips with the complexity of post-Cold War realities in the Balkans, I quickly learned that (a) My erstwhile comdt was an incredibly shallow and vain - but frighteningly successful - poseur (b) Many - perhaps most - of them were utterly clueless when faced with stuff they hadn't been "drilled" for at Regimental duty, and that (c) Even among the most intelligent ones very, very few were comfortable thinking creatively: that is making an appreciation based on the evidence, and developing logical (if new - and therefore, by definition 'unorthodox') responses.

    At least among Gp (c) there was a prospect of getting 'newthink' ideas accepted, and thus disseminated into the wider gene pool - but it was feckin' tough going - since few of them were much interested in espousing new stuff that was right for the mission at hand, unless it was guaranteed to be career-enhancing as well.

    So - I hope your tutors were better than any I ever had.
  13. msr

    msr LE

    Again, from the article: "Next, this study aimed to challenge the assertion that many British Army officers did not read British publications because they found US Army documents more relevant. Officers were therefore asked if they had read US Army Field Manuals 3-24 (counter-insurgency) and 3-07 (stability operations). The data collected indicates that this is not the case.
    For both captains and second lieutenants/lieutenants, responses to these two questions showed that knowledge of US doctrine was lower than that for British publications. "
  14. I'd suggest that the study confirmed that Brit officers didn't feel the need to study doctrine, because what gets Brit officers (in the ranks of Lt/Capt) promoted is their ability to please COs whose basis for judgement of their suordinates, is a narrow, Wegimental one led by "in my experience . . . " rather than a solidly grounded, evidenced, critically analysed, businesslike study of the experiences of others, distilled into good, clear, flexible, commonly understood professional doctrine, and disseminated intelligently throughout the organisation.

    That was a significant part of what made the difference between the outstanding cohesion and resilience of Das Heer in WW2, and the British Army of the same period (with its fragmented, regimental approach to tactics, and its collective focus on battle drills, rather than doctrine)
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  15. Should we not maybe make it more formal and far earlier? MA modules are usually left until the last minute and done "because it has to be done" rather than because it enhances our capability. A bit like the JOLP process. Which is a shame, as the overall goals and subject matter are really quite appealing. A return to Junior Staff College rather than the current system (despite JOTAC being excellent) with time wasted on MK1 and 2 the answer?