Training for Defeat

An excellent study: “We’re far more comfortable talking about potential victory than we are discussing the possibility and – let’s be honest – very strong likelihood of loss. And even when we are discussing loss, we spend more time talking about mitigating risks than we do how to react should the adverse occur. This means that we have a generation of young leaders who learn about loss only when it actually happens. This is decisively the opposite of how we treat everything else in the Army as regards training. We don’t send soldiers into battle without ever having fired their weapon; why should we send commanders to war without at least having some training on how to deal with loss and defeat?…”

The Angry Staff Officer

In the U.S. Army we have a long tradition of victory – or so we tell ourselves. We proudly carry the campaign streamers from past conflicts on our unit colors and enjoy hearing about the exploits of past heroes. Victory is our expectation. But what if that isn’t what happens? Now, I’m not talking about the nebulous idea of strategic victory in places like Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan; I’m talking about the sharp and nasty feeling of operational and tactical defeat. Retreat. Withdrawal. Being overrun. Loss of soldiers. Loss of entire units. Disaster.

Battle of the BulgeA sight we are not used to: U.S. soldiers surrendering to the Germans after their unit was overrun during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

We’re far more comfortable talking about potential victory than we are discussing the possibility and – let’s be honest – very strong likelihood of loss. And even when we…

View original post 2,018 more words

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s