The US Army has a striking deference to rank that I have noticed is not nearly as replicated in foreign militaries (even some that we assume are top down). This deference is reflected in writing. Pieces by senior leaders, even if they are not particularly insightfully, are heavily referenced by other Army leaders.

I like the insight into the different culture in COMPO 2 and 3. At CTCs, I noted how National Guard units often displayed more mission command and low-level initiative, and I attributed it to a more flattened hierarchy. A National Guard battalion commander might military outrank a company commander, but that company commander could well have a more successful civilian career. In the German Army, Aufstragtaktik was enabled by a military culture that had a flattened hierarchy because all the Junkers that dominated the officer corps were viewed as social equals. It was unseemly to micromanage a fellow aristocrat, who you might outrank militarily, but he might outrank you socially.

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There's a corollary problem -- military ghostwriting. That subordinates are often charged with drafting articles for the boss is not a bad thing since senior leaders don't always have time, but some military journals have in the past suppressed acknowledging the contributions of those juniors.


I don't have a feel for how much this problem remains -- rather the impression I have had is that this is no longer the problem it once was. But it is related to Erik's points on rank, and I greatly appreciate the discussion. As professionals we have to encourage rather than discourage ideas, and dismissing someone on the basis of rank is not conducive to encouraging ideas.

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It’s all about whose turn it is…

There’s millions of words of regulation that enforce laws about whose turn it is, and a vast HR apparatus to control the rest.

The One Ring turns out to be HR.

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