Shame on us

By Jeff Schloesser | August 15, 2021 |

No matter your political leaning nor whether you believe we should end all “forever wars” or you are a national security hardliner, if you are American, you should be deeply disappointed in your country today. As the American flag at the US Embassy in Kabul comes down under Taliban pressure, as US Army Chinook helicopters shuttle American diplomats to the Kabul Airport as others burn sensitive documents, I am reminded of the shame I felt in 1975, watching the nightly TV, as Americans abandoned Saigon and our embassy (my father gave three years of his life leading troops in combat…



By Jeff Schloesser | August 8, 2021 |

I have been posting about the foundations of character, competence, and moral courage. I said that both self-discipline and shear hard work were key. There is one more thing I have found in my life that, when combined with discipline and work, has really helped me as I seek to be a better person and leader: that is confidence. By that, I specifically mean self-confidence. No matter how hard you work at something, and no matter how disciplined you are, you will need confidence in yourself to really accomplish the bigger things in your life – like standing up for…


Time for America to ACT!

By Jeff Schloesser | August 2, 2021 |

Folks, I have been posting about the foundations of character, competence, and moral courage. I will continue that line of discussion in my next post, but this week’s news forces me to change the subject to Afghanistan and America’s limited time to act. And it’s a great lesson in moral courage. With America’s troops all but gone from Afghanistan and 31 August set as the date for a total military withdrawal, the Taliban are ratcheting up their battlefield pressure against the Afghan Army and district, provincial and national governments. This weekend they rocketed Herat and Kandahar airports as they fought…


The value of hard work

By Jeff Schloesser | July 26, 2021 |

Last week we asked ourselves “what are the building blocks to competence, courage and character?” I said that I believed self-discipline was absolutely foundational. What else? In my career and personal life, shear hard work has gone hand-in-hand with discipline. I don’t mean mindlessly working almost 24/7 where everything is important and we work ourselves to death. I also don’t mean focusing our hard work only on our job, to the detriment of family, relationships, and leisure. I believe in hard work that balances what we do (our job) with who we are (father, mother, partner, sister, brother, etc) and…


“The first and greatest victory is to conquer self.” – Plato

By Jeff Schloesser | July 18, 2021 |

This week I attended an award dinner for a well-known former public servant. During his acceptance speech, he said he relied on moral courage and character to persevere during the most challenging periods of his career. That rang true to me! Those who have read Marathon War or scanned my blog posts know I found in combat – as in life – that competence, moral courage, and character differentiate a really superb leader from others. As I have written, I believe these traits are not inherent when we are born; instead, they are developed during life, and can and should…


What now?

By Jeff Schloesser | July 10, 2021 |

We are leaving Afghanistan quickly, and I predict the Taliban will soon be in control of much of the country, and that a brutal civil war will break out among the Taliban forces, what remains of the Afghan Army, and multiple ethnic or tribal militias. Afghans that assisted American and NATO forces will be in danger, as will journalists, educators, musicians, actors, and government officials that represent freedoms that clash with the Taliban way of thinking. What should America and our allies do now? Here are some ideas: Now – this week – begin flying those who helped our troops…


Afghanistan farewell

By Jeff Schloesser | July 2, 2021 |

It is a done deal. U.S Armed Forces are leaving Afghanistan after twenty years, and NATO is right along with us. American diplomatic and financial support will carry the primary burden of securing our national interests in the country, with over-the-horizon counter terrorism operations a potential option against a resurgent Al Qaida or ISIS. What happens now? This is what I predict: The Taliban and current Afghan elected government will be unable to come to negotiated peaceful solution, will continue attacking each other, and without U.S. or NATO forces on the ground, will significantly expand the violence. The Taliban will…


I am aware of PTSD

By Jeff Schloesser | June 26, 2021 |

Sunday 27 June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day. The Veteran’s Administration reports that about 11-20% of Iraq and Afghanistan War vets have or have had PTSD, and many million more citizens have it from trauma, abuse, and other causes. It is a big deal. I think I spent much of my career in denial of my own issues: it was something my soldiers had, maybe their spouses or children had, but not me. I remember having a mandatory post deployment behavioral interview after returning from Afghanistan, and the specialist asked me if I was or had been suicidal.…


Things I never said to my father

By Jeff Schloesser | June 19, 2021 |

My father passed away unexpectedly several years ago. I wasn’t ready for that: there were so many things I never said to him that I wanted him to know: Dad, thanks for providing for our family: we never went without a meal, never went without a house to call a home, never went without an education. We were not rich, but wealthy in other ways that are more important: you taught us values, and right and wrong. I was sometimes a slow learner, especially in those head strong years as a teenager growing up in the liberating 60’s and early…


Why an Army?

By Jeff Schloesser | June 12, 2021 |

The 246th birthday of the founding of America’s Army is Monday. On 14 June, 1775, the Continental Congress voted to raise “six companies of expert riflemen.” The very next day, George Washington was appointed to command these companies and the rest of Continental forces that would be formed. Washington’s commissioning oath should sound familiar to all of us who have served in uniform: “…reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, conduct, and fidelity” he was appointed “General and Commander in chief of the Army of the United Colonies, and of all the forces now raised, or to be…