Monday, March 30, 2009

AfPak plan given poor marks?

Mike was early in saying Iraq was sliding into civil war, was one of the first to call the surge a success (he saw it from a grounds-eye view), and left Iraq for Afghanistan almost two years ago because that was where he felt the center shift. He drew attention to the crisis brewing in Afghanistan long before even McCain.

Of course now all that is conventional wisdom. While he could be wrong this time, it is worrying that, as he says:

There is little in the Obama plan to be excited about. Some have called it "bold," but from my boots it looks like a recipe for disaster.

We are steaming toward failure in AfPak, but with more steam than ever before.
I am not read on enough to know the truth, and as in Iraq, I am quite sure the "truth" is shrouded in a veil.

At any rate, if Mike is saying it, it is worth considering.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Back to work

I go on terminal leave starting Monday, having completed the clearing and demob processes last week. I have a few things to take care of up at my Guard unit and then I am back to work as a civie! For those that are interested, I have started another blog focused on Project Management called The Grumpy PM. I imagine it will be a bit dull for most of my readers, but if you are interested in project management, I'll see you there.

Up next: best practices for dealing with terps. CI Roller, I'm expecting you to weigh in.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shoulder Recovery Update and WTU thoughts

I have been medically cleared by my surgeon and physical therapist to "return to duty", which for me means I can finish the demobilization process and return to civilian life. I have been warned that I will need to "watch it" with my shoulder and be disciplined about sticking with the PT program for at least 12 months. And the while the shoulder is much stronger, it still ain't right, so to speak.

So I expect in the next few weeks to wrap things up, clear my medical hold unit (the WTU), be returned to my Guard unit and go on terminal leave. Fortunately for me, I have found a good job and will start working right away. I want to thank everyone for their support while I've been stuck on this.

I also want to say that the cadre and staff in the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) have been excellent. The Army's WTU system has been getting some bad press lately, and while I can't speak for other WTU's or the specific charges made by other current/former Soldiers, it is my opinion that this is a vastly better system than what was in place previously, and I find it hard to believe any Soldier could fall through the cracks, failed to get the help and support they needed, or didn't have access to an incredible array of resources unless they (the Soldier) willed it so. I certainly can believe the charges recently made about excessive discipline, unfortunately the Army has Officers with that kind of mentality. I can also say from observation though, that many WTU Soldiers fail to show even the most basic motivation to get up in the morning and go to the appointments that will help them heal. Where is the line between the Army's responsibility and the Soldiers? Personally, I feel that Army should provide support and resources without resorting to coddling Soldiers - that does not help the Soldier at all, and in fact may worsen their self-esteem already damaged by not being back with their units. I don't have the answer, but I do believe that allowing Soldiers to sit around and cruise the Internet and play video games all day is worse for them than holding them to a personal plan of recovery and self development. That would not include of course police call and standing guard. What do you think?

All in all, my experience has been a very positive one, and I am grateful to the support from my surgeon, the post hospital, my case manager, and company cadre. Everything was fairly efficient, people were professional, and my personal needs and situation were taken into account when developing my recovery plan.

Up next: I have been working on drafting some Bosnia and Iraq stories, my goal is to publish about one a week. I also have something else I am preparing to launch in a week or two. Check back!