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Commanding Officer 16 Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery | Professional Military Education Resources 2020

By Mark Mankowski June 29, 2020


In November 2019, the senior soldiers and officers of 16 Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery came together to decide on the Regiment's top ten educational resources to support professional military education for junior commanders in the Regiment. The intent was to collate different mediums to open up the learning opportunities to younger generations who have different expectations of education and interests. After some debate the resource list is:

  • Book: Legacy – James Kerr
  • Book: Extreme ownership – Jocko Willink
  • Computer Game: Wargame: Red dragon – Eugen Systems
  • Audiobook: Red Storm Rising – Tom Clancy
  • Documentary: RESTREPO – Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
  • Book: True Grit – Bear Grylls
  • Book: Apache – Ed Macy
  • Podcast: Hardcore History
  • Computer Game: Panzer Corps – Slitherine Software
  • Book: Magnum! The Wild Weasels in Desert Storm – James Schreiner

This resource package has been posted in its original format as it was intended for the members of 16 Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.

LEGACY

James Kerr

The previous Commander Forces Command wrote an excellent review of the book that was previously published on The Cove. The senior commanders and leaders of the regiment are focused on trying to establish training and education within the Regiment to equip Junior Commanders with the experience and skills to lead their subordinates. We want to support Army to take good leadership behaviours to a world class standard. In Legacy, best-selling author James Kerr goes deep into the heart of the world's most successful sporting team, the legendary All Blacks of New Zealand, to reveal 15 practical lessons for leadership. We have recommended Legacy as the culture and leadership behaviours discussed in the book so closely match what we are trying to achieve in the Regiment. The book will form a Regimental Library for Junior Leaders. When you promote or post you will return the book and it will be issued to the next junior leader. As you are reading the book, I want you to have these questions in the back of your mind:

  1. How does 16 Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery (16 REGT, RAA) need to adapt to remain ‘on top of its game’?
  2. What initiatives does 16 REGT, RAA need to take to enable leaders to create leaders?
  3. What ‘tree’ do you want to ‘plant’ at 16 REGT, RAA that you’ll never see?

If you are not a junior leader and want to purchase the book, the cheapest we have found is at book depository. If you are fonder of an ebook version then Amazon Australia provides the kindle version.

 

EXTREME OWNERSHIP

Jocko Willink

You would be hard pressed to find a military reading list without the inclusion of Extreme Ownership, and for good reason. Jocko Willink’s book breaks leadership down into three subsections for every chapter, which broadly covers:

  • What is the leadership lesson learned through experience?
  • What does that leadership principle mean?
  • How can that principle be applied to everyday situations?

Extreme Ownership aligns with what I strive to be as a commander, and what I encourage all of my Junior Commanders to work towards. It is inspirational and thought provoking, it will help any member at any rank take the steps towards being more effective, successful, and serious about their position and commitment to their career.

As you are reading the book, I want you to have these questions in the back of your mind:

  1. What is ‘extreme ownership’?
  2. What changes will you make to your leadership style having read Extreme Ownership?
  3. What elements of the ‘Laws of Combat’ require changes at the Regiment?

If you want to purchase the book, the cheapest we have found is at book depository. If you are fonder of an ebook version then Amazon Australia provides the kindle version.

 

WARGAME: RED DRAGON

Eugen Systems

The benefits of using an off the shelf military simulator have been discussed before by myself in 2017, and also by Ed Farren in 2018. It is difficult during collective training, such as exercise RAPTORS STRIKE or HAMEL to develop a feel for the progress of the battle. We do not often fight against a demanding human adversary and on the limited opportunities that are provided by Army, there is rarely the opportunity to repeat the exercise. What is required instead is a method of professional military education that develops battlefield intuition. I recommend the use of Wargame: Red Dragon to fill the gap and allow our junior commanders to complete battle runs repeatedly against a human or a computer. The complex problems of coordinating combined arms forces will develop the feeling for the progress of battle. This intuitive feeling comes from years of practice at ever-increasing levels of complexity. As you are playing the game, I want you to have these questions in the back of your mind:

  1. What have I learnt about warfare from playing the game that I will apply in my job?
  2. How is my experience different if I am playing against a Human Adversary as opposed to the computer?
  3. Do we need to use combined arms simulation more at the Regiment and what aspects of warfare should it focus on?

 

RED STORM RISING

Tom Clancy

An excellent fictional piece by Tom Clancy, which CO 1RAR also included in his 2018 reading list provided for his Battalion. Fictional war novels allow the reader to connect on more emotional levels than non-fiction. The intent behind Red Storm Rising was to live the experience rather than just learning about it. I believe this use of this medium can provide readers a more dynamic approach to education, to build their own problem-solving skills based upon theories and solutions they have explored to a deeper level.

As you are reading the book, I want you to have these questions in the back of your mind:

  1. What is Maskirovka and how do the Soviets use it?
  2. What are the indicators and warnings of an imminent Soviet attack that are available through open source intelligence? What indicators and warnings would the Regiment display in similar circumstances?
  3. At the outbreak of hostilities, what mission are the debuting USAF stealth fighters given? Are these still relevant targets in 2020 and should it affect our training?

Red Storm Rising is available as an Audio Book from Audible. This medium might suit those who have a long commute.

 

RESTREPO

Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger

Photographer Tim Hetherington and journalist Sebastian Junger allow the realities of war to speak for themselves in this unnarrated documentary about a U.S. platoon in Afghanistan. The men of Second Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade teeter from naiveté to weariness as months of alternating boredom and fighting take their toll. The loss of medic Juan "Doc" Restrepo leads the platoon to name an outpost in the remote Korengal Valley after him.

As you are watching the documentary, I want you to have these questions in the back of your mind:

  1. What have you learnt about war that you think is enduring between all wars?
  2. What have you learnt about war that is specific to this conflict in Afghanistan?
  3. How will you change how you train for war as a result of watching this documentary?

The documentary is available in many formats. These are available on the homepage.

 

TRUE GRIT

Bear Grylls

The enduring theme of True Grit is refusing to quit. The retelling of key survival stories by Bear Grylls, a former British SAS serviceman ranges from adventurers and explorers, to soldiers and spies. The novel teaches a lot of lessons about dealing with extreme situations, and how to rationalise and overcome adversity. Junior Commanders can take inspiration from these individuals and identify the unique mental toughness that drove them forward. The modern battlespace is filled with new and developing capabilities and threats, and there will be an importance for Commanders to be able to work a problem and find a solution regardless of the situation.

As you are reading the book, I want you to have these questions in the back of your mind:

  1. What have you learnt about resilience from this book?
  2. In the context of this book what does ‘true grit’ mean? Can you train for it or is it a natural quality?
  3. What recommendations do you have for amending regimental resilience activities (Yurrebilla Trail and Wandering Leader) as a result of reading this book?

If you want to purchase the book, the cheapest we have found is at book depository. If you are fonder of an ebook version then Amazon Australia provides the kindle version.

 

APACHE

Ed Macy

Apache is the incredible true story of Ed Macy, a decorated Apache helicopter pilot that takes you inside the cockpit of the world's deadliest, most technically advanced helicopter in the world, the Apache helicopter. At the time the technology was new and innovative, pilots were always developing the capability to ensure it was being used to its fullest extent. As 16 Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery moves into the new decade acquiring NASAMS, it will be imperative that our new Junior Commanders understand the extra demands and difficulty of operating and integrating new assets onto the battlefield, and identifying where their strengths and weaknesses lie, so that we can better integrate into a combined arms effect. I believe this book will enable them to conceptualise how the future may look in terms of challenges and mindset.

As you are reading the book, I want you to have these questions in the back of your mind:

  1. What have you learnt about how attack helicopters operate from this book that is relevant to GBAD?
  2. Did Ed Macy use mission command during the rescue of an injured Royal Marine? Why?
  3. Are there any lessons from this book on training for war?

If you want to purchase the book, the cheapest we have found is at book depository. If you are fonder of an ebook version then Amazon Australia provides the kindle version.

 

HARDCORE HISTORY

Dan Carlin

Dan Carlin been called the king of long-form podcasting and “one of the greatest storytellers in the world”. His distinctive voice and style has led to hundreds of millions of downloads. His podcasts are some of the most listened to podcasts of all time.

Carlin’s work weaves historical information with deep questions and Twilight Zone-style twists to help illustrate the power and continuing relevance of the past. Drama, extremes, empathy and vivid examples of both the highs and lows of humanity dominate the narrative. It’s a trademark mix of elements that has been entertaining listeners since 2005.

I think Dan does a phenomenal job of making history relatable and interesting. Yes, he takes his time, but I think depth is what you require if you are learning about something as important as the First World War. His website highlights how you can listen to his podcast.

As you are listening to this podcast, I want you to have these questions in the back of your mind:

  1. What have you learnt from Dan that was different to your previous understanding of history?
  2. Does Dan ever take a position on controversial episodes during history (right/wrong decisions) Why?
  3. Are there any lessons from this book on training for war?

 

PANZER CORPS

Slitherine Software

In a similar fashion to Wargame: Red Dragon the Panzer Corps franchise provides a more in-depth learning experience than the average video game. Competing players must utilise critical thinking and plan many moves in advance, forecasting reinforcements and resupply dependant on their assessment on upcoming battles. Although the game focuses more on the operational level of tank warfare, it teaches the purpose and reasoning behind different tactical tasks and planning for worst case scenarios.

As you are playing the game, I want you to have these questions in the back of your mind:

  1. What have I learnt about warfare from playing the game that I will apply in my job?
  2. How is my experience different if I am playing against a Human Adversary as opposed to the computer?
  3. Do we need to use combined arms simulation more at the Regiment and what aspects of warfare should it focus on?
 
MAGNUM! THE WILD WEASELS IN DESERT STORM: THE ELIMINATION OF IRAQ’S AIR DEFENCE

James Schreiner

This book based upon the author, Jim Schreiner’s, journal during his deployment to the Persian Gulf. As the only Ground Based Air Defence Regiment in the ADF, Junior Commanders must be prepared to face any and all threats to our capability. This book delves into the strategies and lessons learned by the United States in the early days of established air defence. It discusses their understanding of how the Iraq Air Defence system worked, and which strategies were required to enable their other airborne forces to survive in the area. It describes the mentality and personality of pilots and how they react to high pressure, high danger situations. An important and relevant read about the early history of Air Defence and SEAD, which will provide excellent context to the role our Regiment provides in theatre.

As you are reading the book, I want you to have these questions in the back of your mind:

  1. What have you learnt about how the Iraqi Army and Air Force deployed their GBAD from this book that is relevant to GBAD?
  2. Are the tactics, techniques and procedures used by the Wild Weasels in Desert Storm (30 years ago) still relevant to air defence in 2020?
  3. Are there any lessons from this book on training for war?

If you want to purchase the book, the cheapest we have found is at book depository. If you are fonder of an ebook version then Amazon Australia provides the kindle version.

 

A note from the Cove Team

This resource package has been posted in its original format as it was intended for the members of 16 Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.

It can be modified to suit your unit.

If you or your Unit have a PME package that you think is suitable for The Cove, please submit it here or contact us to discuss it.


Portrait

Biography

Mark Mankowski

Mark Mankowski is an experienced Australian Officer who is a passionate advocate of Professional Military Education. His interests are continuously learning about the nature and character of war, developing battlefield intuition through simulation, and establishing the key factors responsible for effective Air-Land Integration.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.



Comments

Viper Pilot by Dan Hampton is also a good read for some quite detailed discussion on SEAD and DEAD in Iraq 2003. His opinions on the perceived shortcomings of SEAD in 1991 are interesting.

Great list. Red Storm Rising is an excellent book and Dan Carlin's explanation of how the First World War began is still the clearest one I've heard yet. Wargame: Red Dragon is also very good.

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