Summer 2018 newsletter18 Aug

Summer 2018

This is a newsletter executives at Defense, Technology, Financial, and other top corporations.

As the dog days of summer dwindle away, Secretary Jim Mattis is on a Southern tour with a bloc of our most important geopolitical allies — Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia: the “B” in Goldman Sachs BRICs, which beg the question under the National Defense Strategy of 19 Jan 2018: How well are we prepared to fight alongside allies of Brazil and India against possible near peer opponents of China and Russia? Some of our correspondents and writers like Tom Ricks had speculated that Mattis and Kelly were on the way out with the end of Summer, but more recent reports indicate that these statesmen will remain in their office.

I take this opportunity to offer a perspective on this moment when Marine Infantry Officers like Mattis, Dunford, and Kelly are prominent. Even if Mattis were not in his post (and I expect he will follow in the path of Schultz in multiple Cabinet posts), there are actually several “Mattis” like Marine Officers at the top tiers of Department of Defense leadership, among them Owen West, John Allen, John Kelly, Jim Mattis any of whom could step into top leadership posts in the Department of State or Department of Defense as we push ahead into an era of Near Peer Conflict. The common training of these leaders is a professional reading list that can be studied by anyone with the commitment to dig into these books (see below).

In our particular era, the most important single book to be closely studied is likely Owen West, The Snakeeaters. The implication of the NDS is that an American combat arms squad needs to be prepared to advise an allied battalion, due in part to UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), and fire support coordination capabilities in particular. The picture of our future battles is the following youtube video…

…enabled by these hub communications, described in June by the economist.com —


… in one of the world’s megacities (10 million or more).

In a longer piece covering the future of war (January 2018), the economist notes that the most likely pattern of future conflict is continuing operations in the “grey zone” / “hybrid wars,” like the 2006 brushfire war between Israel and Iran. (Hybrid War is a term that was coined in part by Erin Simpson, Harvard Ph.D., and one of the experts who crafted the COIN strategy used in Iraq).

In such a future, the USMC Commandant’s Reading List, below is not just a good guide to military thinking, but also to entrepreneurial, technological, and financial thinking for top corporate leaders (who may, like the “dollar a year” Wall Street Lawyers of World War II, serve in Government after the next Pearl Harbor). To take one title from the below list: Kilkullen, Out of the Mountain follows the path of Osama Bin Laden “out of the mountains” of Afghanistan to the plains of Pakistan (which he had practiced habitually), to the Jihadis who raided from a coastal megacity in Muslim Pakistan to a coastal megacity in Hindu India, using all pathways of modern communications to conduct a attack that Kilcullen compares favorably to the best operations conducted by SEALS; former Secretary of Defense and Stanford Professor Bill Perry’s prediction that a dirty nuke is a better than 50% probability combined with the raiding profile of Mumbai 2008 represents one of the most likely future scenarios for conflict among the great powers, “city hopping” among the megacities in the way that Marines “island hopped” from Guadacanal to Japan in the Pacific. Yet, the argument that Kilcullen (a Christian Brothers high school graduate from Australia) sets forth for the rise of the Urban Guerilla coming “out of the mountains” is the same demographic analysis that the FAANGS (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) are following to identify the “next billion customers.” As the economist noted in mid July, the Western FAANGS are indeed battling their Chinese equivent BATS in outright business war in the “swing vote” BRICS — Brazil, India, Indonesia. Their common objective is the next billion customers — the “slumdog millionaire” that poor/ middle class Brazilians in Favelas naturally identify with on Netflix, an affordable entertainment pathway, worldwide. That “slumdog millionare”/ UBER JTAC (Joint Terminal Air Controller) with a Android cell phone is the allied combatant that the American combat arms squad must be prepared to advise in the urban battlefield of the megacities, Mumbai, Rio/ Sao Paulo, Manila.

USMC Commandant’s Reading List

GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. The Commandants Professional Reading List (CPRL) as promulgated by this message represents an updated version of those books most pertinent for professional development and critical thinking at each rank level.
2. The CPRL is arranged into two sections: “Commandants Choice” and “Grade Levels.” Each Marine shall read a minimum of five books from the “Commandants Choice” or “Grade Level” sections each year.
A. The Grade Level titles are separated into five levels for both enlisted Marines and officers. These levels coincide with specific ranks and Marines should attempt to read all titles within their level prior to proceeding to a higher level.
B. Per the references, completion of the CPRL reading requirement shall be noted in the individual Marines fitness report or taken into account when assigning Proficiency/Conduct marks. How a Marine demonstrates completion of the annual requirement is at the discretion of the commander.
C. The CPRL and related information can be found at: http:(slash slash)guides.grc.usmcu.edu/usmcreadinglist. The website contains several enhancements to include pictures of book covers, short summaries, links to electronic versions of the books, additional materials to enhance unit Professional Military Education (PME) and links to other reading lists (e.g., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, other Services and Marine Corps University schools).
3. Commandants Choice
“Leading Marines (MCWP 6-10)” USMC
“Sustaining the Transformation (MCTP 6-10A)” USMC
“Warfighting (MCDP 1)” USMC
“First to Fight” V. Krulak
“A World in Disarray” R. Haass
“Legacy” J. Kerr
“Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” M. Lewis
4. Grade Levels
A. Entry Level Enlisted: (Poolee, Recruit)
“Battle Cry” L. Uris
“Corps Values” Z. Miller
“The Red Badge of Courage” S. Crane
“Gates of Fire” S. Pressfield
“Starship Troopers” R. Heinlein
B. Entry Level Officer (Candidate, Midshipman)
“Battle Cry” L. Uris
“Corps Values” Z. Miller
“Im Staying with My Boys” J. Proser and J. Cutter
“My Men Are My Heroes” N. Helms
“The Killer Angels” M. Shaara
“Gates of Fire” S. Pressfield
“Starship Troopers” R. Heinlein
C. Primary Level Enlisted (Pvt, LCpl)
“Enders Game” O. Card
“Rifleman Dodd” C. Forester
“The Last Stand of Fox Company” B. Drury and T. Clavin
“The Marines of Montford Point” M. Mclaurin
“Chesty” J. Hoffman
“The Warrior Ethos” S. Pressfield
“On Call in Hell” R. Jadick
“Ready Player One” E. Cline
D. Primary Level Officer (2ndLt, 1stLt)
“All Quiet on the Western Front” E. Remarque
“The Last Stand of Fox Company” B. Drury and T. Clavin
“The Marines of Montford Point” M. Mclaurin
“With The Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa” E. Sledge
“Chesty” J. Hoffman
“What It is Like To Go To War” K. Marlantes
“Maneuver Warfare: An Anthology” J. Galvin and R. Hooker
“Fields of Fire” J. Webb
“At The Waters Edge: Defending Against the Modern Amphibious Assault” T. Gatchel
“The Defense of Hill 781: An Allegory of Modern Mechanized Combat” J. Mcdonough
“Ready Player One” E. Cline
E. Career Level Enlisted (Cpl, Sgt)
“Resilience” E. Greitens
“Outliers” M. Gladwell
“The Defense of Duffers Drift” E. Swinton
“The Killer Angels” M. Shaara
“With The Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa” E. Sledge
“Battle Leadership” A. Von Schell
“Ghost Fleet” P. Singer and A. Cole
“We Were Soldiers Once… and Young” H. Moore and J. Galloway
“On Killing” D. Grossman
“Left of Bang” P. Van Horne and J. Riley
“The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate” R. Kaplan
F. Career Level Officer (WO, CWO2, Capt)
“Attacks” E. Rommel
“Black Hearts” J. Frederick
“Into The Tigers Jaw” F. Petersen and J. Phelps
“On Killing” D. Grossman
“War Made New” M. Boot
“Curious: The Desire to Know And Why Your Future Depends On It” I. Leslie
“Forgotten Warriors” T. Hammes
“Maneuver Warfare Handbook” W. Lind
“Assault from the Sea: Essays on the History Of Amphibious Warfare” M. Bartlett
“The Starfish and the Spider” O. Brafman and R. Beckstrom
“Neptunes Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal” J. Hornfischer
“The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us about coming conflicts and the battle against fate” R. Kaplan
“Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla” D. Kilcullen
G. Intermediate Level Enlisted (SSgt, GySgt)
“All Quiet On The Western Front” E. Remarque
“American Spartans” J. Warren
“The Changing Face of War” M. Van Creveld
“This Kind of War” T. Fehrenbach
“Fields of Fire” J. Webb
“Leading Change” J. Kotter
“My Men Are My Heroes” N. Helms
“Thinking Fast and Slow” D. Kahneman
“Leading Up” M. Useem
“Once an Eagle” A. Myrer
“The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” W. Isaacson
H. Intermediate Level Officer (CWO3, CWO4, Maj, LtCol)
“Command Culture” J. Muth
“Defeat Into Victory” W. Slim
“Just and Unjust Wars” M. Walzer
“Military Innovation in The Interwar Period” W. Murray and A. Millett
“The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle” J. Gray
“The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World” R. Smith
“This Kind Of War” T. Fehrenbach
“Team of Teams” S. McChrystal and T. Collins
“Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the Worlds First Digital Weapon” K. Zetter
“After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam” L. Hazelton
“Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power” R. Kaplan
“Cobra II: The Inside Story Of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq” M. Gordon and B. Trainor
“The Blitzkrieg Legend: The 1940 Campaign in the West” K. Frieser
“Storming the City: US Military Performance in Urban Warfare from WWII to Vietnam” A. Wahlman
“The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security“ G. Hammond
“The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” W. Isaacson
“The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology” R. Kurzweil
I. Senior Level Enlisted (MSgt, 1stSgt, MGySgt, SgtMaj)
“Achilles in Vietnam” J. Shay
“Command Culture” J. Muth
“Forgotten Warriors” T. Hammes
“Just and Unjust Wars” M. Walzer
“No Bended Knee” M. Twining
“The Face of Battle” J. Keegan
“Team of Teams” S. McChrystal
“Start with Why” S. Sinek
“On Combat” D. Grossman
“Guns of August” B. Tuchman
“The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future” K. Kelly
“The Innovators Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail” C. Christensen
“The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology” R. Kurzweil
J. Senior Level Officer (CWO5, Col-Gen)
“Another Bloody Century” C. Gray
“Assignment Pentagon: How To Excel in A Bureaucracy” P. Smith and D. Gerstein
“Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, The Joint Chiefs Of Staff And the Lies That Led to Vietnam” H. McMaster
“Diplomacy” H. Kissinger
“Little Book Of Economics: How The Economy Works in the Real World” G. Ip
“Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen and Leadership in Wartime” E. Cohen
“Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” D. Goodwin
“The Federalist Papers” A. Hamilton
“The Landmark Thucydides” R. Strassler
“Every War Must End” F. Ikle
“The Soldier and the State” S. Huntington
“Strategy: A History” L. Freedman
“Treasurys War” J. Zarate
“Guns of August” B. Tuchman
“Stilwell and the American Experience In China: 1911-1945” B. Tuchman
“The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future” K. Kelly
“The Innovators Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail” C. Christensen
5. Action. Effective immediately, Commanding Generals and Commanding Officers are to incorporate the new CPRL into their command and unit PME programs.
6. Semper Fidelis, Robert B. Neller, General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps.//


Strategic corporal: Chris Shimp, USMC, Nogales, Az/ Nogales, Mexico06 Jun

Strategic corporal

Nogales, Arizona, February 1994

Chris Shimp and his vehicle team of 3 Marines and Doc Parr, a Navy Corpsman stood outside their vehicle, a high back hummer on the US/ Mexican border. Zero Dark Thirty. 0243 to be exact. In the company CP, ten clicks North Captain Blau stood watch with Gunny Renna. In the way that all Marine skippers and gunnys were, the two talked shop, drinking coffee. The CP was a GP tent with half of Lima 3/7, the other half up at Huachuca, AZ, a US Army calvary post turned intel hub and de facto counter drug ops center in the War on Drugs that was head quartered at JTF-6, Fort Bliss, TX, the location of EPIC — The El Paso Intel Center.

“Radio Check,” a voice crackled in the CP.

“Good check,” Renna keyed the Mic. On the other end, under the ROE, the Posse Comitatus in CONUS, the Customs and Border patrol agent copied the reply.

Renna had tatoos the length of his huge biceps, and reveled in owning a garage full of harleys that he rode with fellow 3/7 NCOs to the annual festival up in the Black Hills of the American West. The NCOs, SNCOs and junior officers traded Texas westerns, just now Lonesome Dove; fighting indians in the expanse of the desert of North America was a timeless continuity for these men.

Renna would pick up a SAW at Range 400, the graduation exercise for a Rifle Company, and empty most of 200 rounds of 5.56 link into a bunker, setting the example for E2s fresh from the Depot; Renna himself had been a Sergeant Instructor not just at the Depot but at OCS, and he looked on Lieutenants with skepticism that came from having made them Marines in the first place. Renna liked Sabino, who had 2nd Platoon and who rode harleys with the 3/7 SNCOs.

Blau, long angular and blonde, cut a figure out of a German officer ideal; laconic, even keeled, and a natural athlete, the Lima Marines lobbied to keep their skipper for years under several BCs — Robert E. Lee, Jr; and a few after that.

A drunk man on the Mexican side of the border approached the barbed wire fence that marked the border, pointed a small caliber revolver at the 4 Marines and Sailors, and fired — a round impacted within a foot of Shimp’s foot, and near Parr as well. Four M-16A2s were leveled, rounds chambered, and fingers tightened on the triggers as the Grunts waited for Chris Shimp to give an order, then —

Chris Shimp focused on his front sight post, which was huge and centered on the figure that had fired the rounds, and said

“Get back in the vehicle.”

Parr, and the other Lima Marines mounted the hummer, covering each other, never losing a clear view of the man on the Mexican side of the border. Shimp went last, into the a-driver’s seat, and keyed the mic

“Maverick, this is post 2. We have taken fire from a man on the Mexico side of the border. We have no casualties. We are exiting the area, driving South on border.”

“Good copy, stand by for instructions.”

Renna called the Border Patrol while Blau looked on. Blau got on the net with Shimp, and monitored the situation.

The report went up the chain quickly. FBI and DEA informed Lima that they had been chasing the suspect across the South West.

Chris Shimp, Doc Willis Parr, and the other two Lima Marines — as individual service men, or as a Fire Team Leader — were well within their rights to have fired on the man, who was less than 50 meters away.

That they didn’t — and that the media never covered this incident — one among hundreds in the era between the Vietnam War and 9/11 are what make Chris Shimp a “Strategic Corporal.” We — the Lima leadership, SNCOs like Renna and junior officers like Kirk Blau — later made Chris Shimp a MECEP — Marine Enlisted Commissioning Program — and he went on to retire as a Major, having commanded a LAR Company.

Strategic Corporals — not to mention the Strategic Lance Corporals, Strategic Privates First Class, and Strategic Hospital Corpsmen — are what prevented that incident, one among hundreds, if not thousands, from becoming potential media clusterfucks that could seriously screw up the foreign policy of the United States. Just weeks later a Medevac flight on call for Lima — an Army H60 — made a practice run towards the Lima pos on the US-Mexican border and….

… flew over the international border into a sovereign nation, and….

all hell broke loose, within minutes. The incident was briefed up to the White House, or at least top leadership in the Department of State. Lima Company broke down its tents as if the Commandant himself was personally supervising. Back aboard the Stumps, RCT7 CO, Jim Mattis, probably got the call, along with LtCol Robert K. Dobson, the 3/7 CO, and Kirk Blau confirmed the orders, to move all of Lima back to Ft Huachuca while American diplomats and law enforcement de-escalated the situation. Lima Marines, all the while, sang “from the halls of Montezuma” in their hearts while breaking down their gear in the early morning hours — you know, if you lads really want a fight, bring it on. The desert in the early morning is beautiful, serene, toned with a million shades of light across each color of the spectrum. “Fucking idiot Army pilots… ” Lima Marines fumed to themselves, following orders.

But, on that night, weeks before, Chris Shimp and his Team prevented a media circus. Strategic Corporals and Marines were the result of a generation of sustained coaching by Krulak Jr, Gregson, Zinni, Bing West Sr, a generation of Vietnam Marines who looked ahead to Three Block Wars in MegaCities on the Littorals.


Veteran’s Day 2017: Looking for a few good Marines to teach Entrepreneurship!12 Nov

Happy Veteran’s Day Message: Join us in teaching Heroic Leadership, the best book about transitioning counterinsurgency to entrepreneurship
On Veterans Day, I was at a entrepreneurship conference in Orange County with a fellow Marine and entrepreneurship teacher. I asked our speaker, “What is the best book for translating Iraq/ Afghanistan counterinsurgency lessons to entrepreneurship?” I would offer the answer: Heroic Leadership by Chris Lowney (see Amazon link, below), because:
1. It was used by Marines like LtGen Toolan, USMC, to train Marines for COIN (counterinsurgency) in OEF (Afghanistan)
2. Ignatius, the first Jesuit CEO/ General, founded arguably the most successful global corporation, which now includes 26 US Universities, and 200+ global universities; not to mention hundreds more high schools, including my own, Saint Ignatius Prep, San Francisco.
If you are a Marine in San Diego (or the internet), reach out to me if you are interested in teaching Heroic Leadership at Jesuit educational institutions, globally, and I will be glad to buy you a copy of Lowney, Heroic Leadership for the price of your time at a meal (or a Google Hangout/ Facebook live video conference; notably, Ignatius got high “return on luck” for starting his endeavor at the same time as the printing press; and we Marines now will take advantage of the connectivity revolution to teach Heroic Leadership in the megacity target markets, which Gen Krulak Jr USMC, through the platform of the SJ schools).
The best times of my life and the best jobs I ever had were: #1 teaching/ coaching wrestling at Bellarmine Prep, San Jose, CA; #2 being a Rifle Company XO/ Weapons Platoon CO, and Fire Support Team leader in Lima 3/7, RCT 7, 1stMarDiv, IMEF, FMF PAC. Happy Birthday, Marines! and Happy Veterans Day; SF, AMDG, JJW





The President’s Jesuits: Vietnam and Iraq25 Sep

The President’s Jesuits: Vietnam and Iraq

Krulak Sr ended his career as a three star, commanding Fleet Marine Force Pacific, where he wrote a memo advocating the Combined Action Platoon (CAP), which Bing West chronicled in The Village. But, the successful CAP from Battalion 1/7 was the exception, not the rule. Gannon Sr with his fellow Lieutenant Neil, served in Battalion 1/7 in an attrition war that was staffed by the draft.

After the Vietnam War, its Veterans who stayed on active duty or the Department of Defense, like Gregson, West, Neil, Krulak Jr rebuilt the American military as an all volunteer force with an emphasis on the “Strategic Corporal” in the Three Block War.

In Iraq, counterinsurgency worked in large part because of the Strategic Corporal — in Rifle Company 3/7, Mejia, Bellmont, Milinkovic, and Humphrey. Many of the leading COIN advocates — Toolan, Nagl, West Sr, Dunford, Mujica-Parodi — were Jesuit educated. The Strategic Corporals in the All Volunteer Force were more selective than the Draft Era Vietnam force — better educated, fitter, with fewer legal problems. Though the first three weeks in Iraq were maneuver warfare, the consummation of COIN called for the missionary conviction of Jesuit missionaries — teams of 10 Marines lead by a Sergeant embedded with 100 Iraqi Police in a district of 10,000 citizens, any one of whom could be a Al Qaeda supporter. Under their patron Saint, Mattis, 22 year old Sergeants had become the President’s Jesuits. Indeed, under Toolan in Afghanistan, the Marines would study Heroic Leadership, about the history of the Jesuits, as part of their COIN preparation.

The Small Wars in Anbar, Helmand, and throughout CENTCOM after 9-11 were like Nicaragua, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic in the 1930s. Krulak Sr, Puller, Walt and the Small Wars veterans of the 1930s were the greatest tangible result of the Banana Wars, and carried their experience into a Big War. So too, now, Small Wars Veterans like Mejia, Mattis, Kelly, Dunford, West Jr., Neal, Quinn are tasked with applying the lessons of Fallujah to Ukraine — applying COIN/ Small Wars lessons to possible Big Wars. As Bickel notes in Mars Learning, the most important legacy of the 1930s Small Wars to World War II were the lessons learned by Walt, Krulak Sr, Puller.

As the COIN Veterans of the 9-11 Small Wars carry forward the Small Wars lessons into a likely era of Big Wars in a Clash between the 8 world Civilizations — West, Slavic-Orthodox, Sinic, Japanese, Hindu, Latin American, African, Islam — the main lessons learned from post 9-11 COIN may be these:
Inkspot COIN at the key naval chokepoints that cause shifts in the Global Reserve Currency, like Suez, Malacca, and Hormuz.
The global impact of the Jesuits: possibly in reconciling Eastern and Western Christianity, thus turning Slavic-Orthodox civilization away from an alliance with Sinic and towards the West; and the Jesuits cultural importance in the “swing vote” civilizations in a World War 3, Latin American and Hindu.
9-11 COIN Veterans received the best entrepreneurship training through their military training, and the experience of running a successful counterinsurgency, which may apply to a future Big War between civilizations wherein the most important objectives are networks which control currency.

Gannon Jr. was buried by his uncle, a New York Jesuit, who invoked the heroism of the founder of the Jesuit order, Ignatius, who had undergone Post Traumatic Growth after himself being shot on a battlefield. But Gannon Jr.’s generation of Iraq Marines went on to win their Counterinsurgency, whereas Gannon Sr.’s generation of Vietnam Marines lost their Counterinsurgency due to the dereliction of duty of McNamara and the senior leadership to ignore Krulak Sr’s memorandum advocating the Combined Action Platoon doctrine which had worked in the 1930s Small Wars.

the key to danger close is comparing iraq and vietnam, in the band of brother’s 4 tour progression to the successful adoption of COIN (Iraq) compared with the failed adoption of COIN (Vietnam). The key is the successful adoption of COIN, in contrast to the earlier failure of COIN. The key to the successful adoption of COIN is the Strategic Corporal, made possible by he higher quality NCOs available due to the All Volunteer Force in contrast to the Vietnam era draft military population.


Danger Close: Strategic Corporals in the Crucible, Lima 3/7 2003-200728 Dec








Vietnam and Iraq14 Sep

the key to danger close is comparing iraq and vietnam, in the band of brother’s 4 tour progression to the successful adoption of COIN (Iraq) compared with the failed adoption of COIN (Vietnam). The key is the successful adoption of COIN, in contrast to the earlier failure of COIN. The key to the successful adoption of COIN is the Strategic Corporal, made possible by he higher quality NCOs available due to the All Volunteer Force in contrast to the Vietnam era draft military population.


Entrepreneurship Video22 Feb


Entrepreneurship Video


Entrepreneurship Video22 Feb


Entrepreneurship Video


Entrepreneurship Video22 Feb



Entrepreneurship Video22 Feb



This is a website for writing a book about Lima Company, 3/7, during 4 deployments to Iraq between 2003 and 2007.


This is a website for writing a book about Lima Company, 3/7, during 4 deployments to Iraq between 2003 and 2007.