Military to Business Blog: 2020

Collection of all the military to business social-media posts that have helped build War Is My Business' audience during 2020.

PTSD, Battle Fatigue, Shell Shock, War Is My Business, Grossman

Dave Grossman - "Posturing Mode"

April 15, 2020

“The weak link between the killing potential and the killing capability of these units was the soldier. The simple fact is that when faced with a living, breathing opponent instead of a target, a significant majority of soldiers revert to a posturing mode in which they fire over their enemy’s head.”

– Lt. Col. Dave Grossman from “On Killing”

What Hollywood and pop culture sometimes fail to capture in depictions of warfare is a human being’s natural aversion to killing fellow humans. People can posture, discussing the act of killing as both an act of aggression and self-defense – even training to do such acts – but when a real-life scenario presents itself, the great majority have found it difficult. The above quote from Grossman was alluding to the layman’s perspective that smooth-bore muskets were generally inaccurate, but in tests proved to not be the case. Combat stressors taken into account, most combatants find it difficult to kill – even in self-defense. Some purposefully miss while some don’t even fire, looking for other tasks to undertake – like running messages and caring for wounded. Personnel on the battlefield, when engaged in close-combat with an enemy, may underperform as a result of behavioral impulses.

In business, we can see behavioral impulses impact the actions in consumers – making their decisions unpredictable and sometimes counter to their own interests. Behavioral Economics by Richard Thaler counters the concept of the “Econ” – a human that doesn’t throw good money after bad, doesn’t allow sunk costs to impact future decisions, and always makes the best financial decisions when they have complete information. Humans are prone to make mistakes and decisions because of emotions. Just like you can’t predict a soldier’s behavioral responses in close combat, we can’t predict a consumer’s behaviors when they are stressed and facing novel financial decisions – emotions can have great impact over logic and reason.

Napoleon, War Is My Business, Good Soldiers

Napoleon Bonaparte - "Having Good Soldiers"

April 15, 2020

“To have good soldiers, a nation must always be at war.” –Napoleon Bonaparte

It is easy to train soldiers to fire weapons, to march long distances with heavy loads, and to employ small unit tactics in a training environment. It becomes difficult when you add this to the uncertainty of combat environments, and the numerous functions of military and civilian organizations that have to work in tandem. The ability to do even the simplest of tasks becomes impossible when certain warfighting functions fail.

What Napoleon alludes to is the difference between merely having soldiers available and having soldiers capable of winning battles; more importantly, having organizations that can manage the training, deployment, and maintenance of military forces that can engage in combat. Soldiers, no matter how skilled, can achieve very little on empty stomachs and no ammunition. Militaries at war regularly exercise their warfighting capabilities, which can atrophy during times of peace – which is why modern militaries seek to make training as realistic and rigorous as possible. Realistic training can be costly, but that is what is needed if you want capable soldiers and competent staff.

In business, the scope and scale of operations and the market aren’t as complex or as zero-sum as war can be. Still, it nonetheless has its uncertainty with evolving and emerging markets and equally diverse functions. In this sense, how does a business continue to succeed if the various functions – human resources, operations, marketing, logistics, production, etc. – don’t understand how they fit into the bigger picture? By tackling new projects, by being engaged with capturing market share, by entering and engaging with new customers, and directing all the departments towards these efforts, a business can develop its own people and keep them skilled and competent. Better to be engaged in your craft then letting those skills atrophy.

George Patton, War Is My Business, Training, Leadership, Coronavirus, COVID19

George Patton - "A Pint of Sweat"

March 22, 2020

“A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.” -GEN George S. Patton Jr.

The concept that Patton speaks of, and to which we all endeavor now, is to provide rigorous and relevant training for our organizations so that we can more effectively achieve our objectives and bring our people home alive and in one piece. In combat, or with non-traditional missions, there will be many variables and pressures that we cannot effectively predict, and our systems and processes will be strained. It is the weaknesses, especially single points of failure, that can defeat an organization. By straining ourselves during training, we can identify and strengthen our weaknesses and improve upon our systems and processes so that when we are thrown into a real-world mission, we are better prepared.

That being said, the coronavirus, COVID19, is indeed a strain that is testing the systems and processes of every nation, local community, business, and family. But, other than those that will be directly hurt by the virus, as a society, there is a benefit that can be had. Here is why:

1) The pandemic ISN’T STRONG ENOUGH to destroy society. Things may change, but we will continue in the same way for the most part.

2) The pandemic IS STRONG ENOUGH to strain all our systems and processes. It is enough for everyone to identify their weaknesses and put in measures to mitigate or correct them.

Conclusion: If we treat this pandemic as we would a training opportunity we can learn from it and improve our plans so that we can be better prepared the next time such environmental strains occur. What we learn from this pandemic may save scores more people and help recovery efforts decades from now when something even more dangerous presents itself.

For business, we identified many weaknesses with more to come. How we engage our customers has been impacted. How we deal with logistics, especially global, in order for our supply chains to keep functioning has been impacted. Now is the time to learn!

Tank Destroyers, WWII, Patton, War Is My Business

General Board of 1946 - "Good Enough for the Job at Hand"

March 12, 2020

“Suffice it to say that the self-propelled tank destroyer proved to be a most versatile weapon on the battlefield, and although its use did not follow pre-combat doctrines, it did fill a need and became a very highly respected part of the successful infantry-armor-artillery team.” General Board - 1946 <

Leading to our entry into combat operation during WW2, the German Blitz had yet to be effectively defeated so America had to develop a solution untested on the battlefield. The tank destroyer forces were developed as a mobile defense, but the doctrine never panned out in practice. These weapon platforms (M10, M18, M36), however, provided commanders on the ground a flexible weapon and units geared towards seeking out enemy armor. The doctrine was imperfect, but it allowed the Army to move forward and get equipment and personnel in the field with something that was “good enough” to accomplish related tasks.

A good example of the saying the “best is the enemy of the good,” and Patton’s saying of “a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” Waiting for the best option to be developed instead of simply acting with what you got isn’t necessarily the best course of action. You may not have the luxury to time to spend to devise and employ the best options. You may also not be able to develop the “best” options without firsthand testing. So simply moving forward with something “good enough” is the best course of action in many cases.

In business, you can similarly wait to develop the best product or devise the best service options for your customers. You can wait until you have every revenue stream tapped, and every corner of your business plan fleshed out… but it may take you a long time. And by the time you do execute, someone may have already beaten you to the market. The “good enough” plan is a viable option for entrepreneurs, and just having some value to provide is better than waiting.

Zhou Dynasty, War Is My Business, Jiang Ziya

Rosa Brooks - "Suffering from Success"

March 02, 2020

“In many ways, the military is a victim of its own success; our conventional military dominance makes direct challenges nearly suicidal for other states, pushing adversaries toward asymmetric strategies designed to neutralize our strengths and play on our weaknesses.” –Rosa Brooks <

There are many ways to influence others, and in the case of nations – as it does with individuals – conflict is such a way. Because the consequence of conflict is so severe, nations invest heavily towards improving it, and sometimes at the expense of other avenues of influence – avenues that adversaries may exploit. Even within conflict there are many different tools and methods that can be either developed or atrophied, and some high-tech measures can have low-tech countermeasures.

In antiquity, the military dominance of the Shang dynasty (1600-1046 BCE) was not sufficient to counter the plotting and intrigue of the Zhou kings and their strategist - Jiang Ziya. By endearing themselves to the Shang to throw off suspicious and undermining the trust between the other kings while building the strength of the Zhou military they were eventually able to overthrow the Shang and establish the Zhou dynasty. It is a lesson that would be emphasized by other great military leaders – avoiding an enemy where they are strong while attacking where they are weak, destroying their alliances while building your own.

In business, you must always be aware of those that threaten your position. Even the greatest businesses can fall as market conditions change and competition develops new tech and services that put yours into obsolescence. Maintain strengths while seeking out your weaknesses and improving upon them. Finding new innovations and being the first to promote them.

To quote Gary Vaynerchuk, “If you are not making long term decisions you will be vulnerable, because somewhere out there someone is hungry and working to put you out of business themselves.”

military technology, military, business, theory, PRT, high-tech, low-tech, war is my business

Rosa Brooks - "Military Technological Evolution"

February 19, 2020

“Here’s what we seem eager to forget: military technological evolution can go in both directions. In biological evolution, there’s no technology: the simple doesn’t inevitably become more complex, and while life-forms change and evolve in response both to random mutation and environmental conditions, they don’t inevitably “advance.” In modern warfare, the same is true. High-tech measures aren’t inevitably countered by more high-tech measures. Sometimes, the opposite is true: the most successful countermeasures are low-tech – and historically, this has been demonstrated just as often as has the opposite.” – Rosa Brooks <

In warfare, while technology may advance along certain branches – i.e., more complex and capable weapons systems or communications – warfare as a social endeavor evolves.

Evolution is about finding efficiencies related to current conditions, and a military will seek to achieve its objectives in the most efficient way possible. Therefore, war may emphasize less advanced methods if they provide more effective results. Expected results should dictate what tools you use, not just using tools for their sake alone.

Within any profession, there is a perspective that the “advanced” is inherently better than previous forms. While within real-life tech trees, that is the case, it doesn’t naturally translate to best or better results – the environmental conditions will determine that. So, for example, Gary Vaynerchuk once replied to a digital business that asked about the importance of physical meetings as opposed to digital.

“Real life meetings matter because there is just so much context that can be done in human interaction that doesn’t happen over digital… That is the part that matters so much in the equation of real-life… Digital is the gateway drug to human interaction.” In his case, the more advanced digital meeting doesn’t necessarily produce better results.

It is the results that matter, not the ways they are produced.

JIIM, military, joint operations, integration, definition of war, military theory, business theory, war is my business

Rosa Brooks - "Definition of War"

February 11, 2020

"Scholars and lawyers can argue until they're blue in the face about the proper theoretical definition of war, but for all practical purposes, war is whatever powerful states say it is. From an institutional perspective, it is the state, through the apparatus of government, that decides which tasks to assign to civilian entities and which tasks to assign to the military. And from a legal perspective, it is the state that defines what will be considered a war and what will not." -Rosa Brooks <

War is a nebulous concept, and there is no real universal definition for it. The most accepted definitions revolve around the mutual employment of force between two or more states. But there are instances when force is used against each other without being in a state of war - think US vs. Iran. There are also times when war exists, and force is not used - think the still technically ongoing Korean War. There are also efforts that we call "war" but don't constitute our understanding of war, like the "war on terror," which represents a promise to utilize force against those that use terrorism as a method of influence.

What matters is how we define a relationship between a government and some other state, organization, or environmental condition (like a famine or crime) as this will - as Brooks alludes to - determine which resources a state will use to deal with it and who takes control of those resources. How we call something will impact how to treat it, and who takes the lead.

In business organizations, most plans involve many different departments working in tandem to achieve objectives. Imagine an effort to improve a business' brand image. Who would take the lead? Marketing, customer services, or operations? If you called it a "campaign" then operations may take the reigns since campaigning is an operation. If you called it an "engagement plan," then marketing or customer services may take it since engagements are in their domain.

hollywood, military assistance, rosa brooks, business theory, pepsi, military theory

Rosa Brooks - "Hollywood"

February 6, 2020

“Hollywood doesn’t make movies about soldiers providing technical assistance to Iraqi parliament, or sailors operating mobile health clinics in coastal Africa. The news too is dominated by stories of firefights, missile strikes, and IEDs, not stories of the countless military personnel whose jobs have little to do with traditional forms of combat.” -Rosa Brooks <

For those that don’t have constant exposure to those in the military, they have two ways they generally glean the nature of the military, 1) media avenues and 2) self-study of military history and organization. While most would get exposure through the first way in mediums such as movies, video games, and news platforms, the media's focus is on drawing in and retaining audience attention. As a result, they portray what audiences would find most interesting, and not necessarily what is most realistic. If you based military service on what you saw in the movies, you would presume that all we did was fight. If all you saw was what was in the news, then you may think something similar.

But for most military organizations, just as is for many large businesses, the bulk of its people are engaged in support of the organization - not necessarily in the prosecution of its most distinguishable purpose. The military may dispense force, and Pepsi Co. may dispense beverages, but most people in those organizations simply keep them operating. They have personnel in human resources, financing, training, operations, logistics, legal sections, marketing, etc.. Still, it is easy for us to forget that organizations in any human endeavor have more in common than we would typically think - they are, after all, formed and filled by human beings.

Odierno, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Raymond Odierno, military theory, technology, business

Raymond Odierno - "Human Interaction"

February 4, 2020

“There are many people that believe that through technology advancement, we can solve all of the issues of warfare, I absolutely reject that concept... Human interaction in a complex environment is key to our success in the future.” -General Raymond Odierno

Warfare, as is business, is a human endeavor. Seeking to attain objectives through the influencing of other human beings. We develop new technologies in order to improve our abilities to engage other human beings towards our ends. But occasionally, our pursuit for the newest and fanciful tech leads us to forget that fundamentally we are supposed to be engaging humans, and that the tech is merely a means to an end - not the end itself.

In Business, we focus on the acquisition of tech in order to optimize our work. We look to improve our systems and processes so that our people work more effectively and provide greater quality to the consumer. As a result, it is the consumer - how the tech impacts engagements with that consumer - that should be dictating policy.

Peter F. Drucker discussed the importance for businesses to shape their underlying operations based on the needs of the consumer over the systems that facilitate the development and acquisition of tech. Meaning that, it shouldn't be the newest and most advanced that dictates the tech you acquire, but the potential benefits to the consumer that should dictate which is best for your to have.

"The foundations have to be consumer values and consumer decisions on the distribution of their disposable income. It is with those that management policy and management strategy increasingly will have to start." -Peter F. Drucker <

eisenhower, ike, wwii, war is my business, military theory, business theory

Dwight D. Eisenhower - "Planning is Indispensable"

January 19, 2020

“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower

What Eisenhower’s quote alludes to, in a sense, is that in the complexity of warfare, with its numerous variables and an enemy actively trying to disrupt your plans, that your plan is unlikely to remain intact. “The enemy has a vote” is a common saying in regards to this. Planning, however, is still necessary for multiple reasons.

1) It allows you to begin executing in a unified manner with others - so even if you have to adapt, you are all working from the same document.

2) It helps you understand the nature of the variables of your environment, and will help inform you of what you need to adapt when new information is discovered in order to generate the desired results.

3) Networks, like communications and logistics, may be necessary for change to occur once in operation, and they will be established as a result of the original plan.

In marketing for a business, most will develop a marketing plan that will help them build and engage a customer base. They need it to help determine what the target audiences are for specific niches, where they hang out, and how best to engage them. It enables you to identify, through specific metrics, whether your efforts are successful or whether you need to change up your plan. The plan may not work as intended, but without it, you can’t be sure whether you are having any success within your market.

"The 1-Page Marketing Plan" by Allan Dib offers a nice single-page document that allows you to develop a comprehensive, yet simple marketing plan for your business to move forward. Its simplicity and ease-of-use make it something that can be shared and updated as needed. So when you inevitably need to adapt, you have a plan that allows for it. Click on the link here to check it out >

quds force, iran, terrorists, soleimani, war is my business, military theory, business theory

Eliot A. Cohen - "Intellectual Inertia"

January 12, 2020

“It is the nature of sub-conventional conflict that it usually provides no conclusive victories, that it lasts a long time, and that it is obfuscated by denials and misrepresentation. It is therefore easy for the United States to ignore it, as it did in Iraq, when Iran’s Quds Force persistently supported groups attacking American forces with ever more lethal improvised explosive devices (IEDs)… Those who wage sub-conventional war do so chiefly because they hope to achieve gains on the cheap, and because they know they cannot prevail in conventional conflict. All the more reason to respond forcefully, to make the gains more expensive, and to confront opponents with risks that they do not wish to bear.” -Eliot A. Cohen <

This quote was written a few years ago but has significant importance given recent events, especially in regards to the targeted attack on Soleimani. Now that we have actually responded with force, and have had some noted benefit, we will see how all subsequent actions begin to unfold.

The military to business comparison here is that the allure of the use other non-conventional forces over your own military allows for two benefits.

1) It has a great return on investment potential. Small efforts here and there, when unified towards an overarching strategy, can produce a slow change in the environment. The funding and resourcing of external militias mean a minimal requirement for your own people to be involved and all the trappings that come with it - it is a type of outsourcing, but for violence, which allows for the second benefit.

2) It can be treated as a sunken cost. If a particular effort fails, they can move onto another one. They can be abandoned as necessary or further supported if they have successes. Plus, they can leave the whole endeavor if it suits them. It's easier, and there are fewer ramifications for giving up support of external militias than it is trying to withdraw regular military forces.

clausewitz, theory, entrepreneurs, deming

Carl von Clausewitz - "Aid of Theory"

January 8, 2020

“So long as no acceptable theory, no intelligent analysis of the conduct of war exists, routine methods will tend to take over even at the highest levels.” -Carl von Clausewitz <

For many in the military, as it is with complex human endeavors, like businesses, if we don’t understand the reasons for why something works – the variables that make specific courses of action successful or not – we are prone to simply rehash what has worked in the past. There is comfort in following well-tried and established processes, as the expected results give us ease in chaotic times. David Ben-Gurion would call this “intellectual inertia.” Sticking with what works even when unknowing changes in the environment occur, or in spite of  those changes right in front of them. We may cling to our ways, or follow the ways of others that were successful, even if those conditions that made them successful are no longer the same.

“Theory is a window into the world. Theory leads to prediction. Without prediction, experience and examples teach nothing. To copy an example of success, without understanding it with the aid of theory, may lead to disaster.” -W. Edwards Deming <

In business, we seek out models for us to emulate. Great pioneers, business gurus, and entrepreneurs, and try to do what they did. We follow their guidelines, business plans, and motivation in order to achieve success in our own way, but sometimes we do this without comparing and contrasting our environments. Do we have similar strengthens and weaknesses? Do we have similar opportunities and threats? Is this model even the most apt one for our situation? You will never really know unless you have a grasp of business theory and concepts, and how it impacts your particular business and your specific market.

gary vaynerchuk, vaynerchuk, war is my business, GDP, military spending

Eliot A. Cohen - "Top-Line Numbers"

January 2, 2020

“These top-line numbers do not take into account the calculations of American resolve that foreign leaders make when considering US threats and promises; they do not capture the ability of small but disciplined powers to inflict damage disproportionate to their economic might; they don’t measure reliance. Nor do they measure experience, strategic or tactical skill, and adaptability. Perhaps most important of all, these measures do not take into account whether a state’s military expenditure is growing or remaining steady, or the edge that can be gained by having the latest and best technology in the field.” -Eliot A. Cohen <

The number helps you understand total spending in regards to other government sectors – energy, education, etc. – but it doesn’t inform you into how the money translates into military capabilities. A nation with a conscript force doesn’t utilize a sizable portion of its defense budget on its people (America, however, uses 25% of it) and can redirect it elsewhere. You need to dig into the numbers to understand how exactly it may translate into capabilities. The Chinese can equip eleven soldiers for every one US Soldier, but the US Soldier has greater capabilities with their loadouts.

In business, or specifically in #ASKGARYVEE, it stated,

“I don’t care about width metrics. Any brand start-up using the number of views it receives to gauge its success doesn’t realize that tech can game that game. I’m looking at the engagements, the comments, the click-throughs to the product… It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.” -Gary Vaynerchuk <

If you are spending capital to market and advertise your business, there is a difference between building it through likes, subscribers, followers, etc. and that of actually using it to engage with people. You could have a broad audience with little substance or a small community that is deeply involved.