Counterinsurgency Series

Optics: Perspective and Detachment

The ability to see clearly is crucial for combat and technological advances have bestowed incredible optics on ground level troops, as well as their leaders.

But the optics which you now require are not obtained by a quartermaster or provided to you from the rear supply chain.

Remember when you were a mere Freedom Fighter. You were under the thumb of a tyrant. In an oppressed state, you were either blinded by a lying, corrupt media or you may have been imprisoned, silenced.

Visualization is a key to your progress at that point. Utilize your literal mind’s eye to envision a future for you and your nation. This practice will actually help you develop the perspective needed as a leader.

Yes, to be an effective leader, you will require a broad perspective. While I have discussed the perspective of command before, I would like to delve much deeper.

Proximity to Responsibility

Whoever is closest to the job is most responsible for it. The body understands this, and will help compensate for weaknesses and imbalances. It will do so involuntarily, and thus is a process unbeknownst to you, but you have to know, because you are the Leader.

An example of this is when one muscle compensates for a weaker, phasic muscle. Another example is when one of your subordinates is taking on too heavy a load due to others’ negligence or incompetence.

As a Diplomat King, it is still your job to fulfill the job role of a Commander if necessary, and you must communicate with your troops. But instead of providing tactical training, you should communicate by sharing your values down the chain of command.

Muscles are trained by the nervous system, not by the Commander directly. This is an example of delegating responsibility, and the body does it perfectly. The peripheral nervous system communicates the needs of the body to the muscular system, it is an intelligence-gathering service for the body – your CIA.

I digress. Back to my point, the training of troops falls to combat leaders (the nervous system). The Commander has too broad a perspective to relate with the ground level troops. If he were to sit down and talk with a infantryman, they would have nothing to talk about.

The Commander would want to discuss supply lines and the national end state and the infantryman would say, “I just want to get home in one piece.” They can’t relate.

This is why delegation is so important. The Commander needs to delegate the training  of the infantryman to a sergeant or a captain for two reasons:

  1. They are physically closer to the infantryman – they eat with them, sleep with them, and go out on patrol with them.
  2. They are closer to the infantryman in their perspective – they share more values (even if only a few) than the Commander shares with the infantryman.

Review the Perspective of Command.

Target Fixation

An insurgency is afoot! You have a clandestine enemy within your nation who is working to undermine you. It would be easy for you to become obsessed with military matters and forget all we have discusses during the Counterinsurgency Series.

This target fixation can be fatal, for while you focus your attention on the minute, you have missed opportunities and peripheral threats.

Way back in the Command and Control Series, we discussed training the nervous system. A lot of these tactical operations should be automated.

Furthermore, Become detached. The key of delegation is to not revert back to doing it all yourself when the appointed person fails. Things only affect you as much as you let them affect you (can I get an Amen?).

If operations are not automated, or you cannot relate with someone, then perhaps you should roll up your sleeves and get down in the trenches with them. Deconstruct the problem, work your way back to where the root cause is, and begin working up from that point.

This is a broad concept: it can be a muscle you have not strengthened and conditioned, or a person you have not spoken to in a long time.

Practice taking Ownership, which is a form of stoicism, and realize that you are actually responsible for everything happening below and above you. If more effort is required of you, it is your responsibility to do the work.

Equipping yourself with these new optics of perspective means, You know what it’s like to be on all levels (from the ground-level troops to the brigadier general). Detachment is only possible when you can relate with everyone, because you know their troubles – you have overcome them.

We mustn’t excuse ourselves. It is not someone else’s job if they are our subordinate – it’s our job. This is taking Ownership, and will be discussed in more depth in the next part of this series.

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