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.

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 < https://amzn.to/2VDDd1r


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 < https://amzn.to/2VDDd1r


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 < https://amzn.to/2VDDd1r


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 < https://amzn.to/2ThVmQY

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 > https://amzn.to/38gnhoB

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 < https://amzn.to/32HSkbA


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 < https://amzn.to/2PHA5hh


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 < https://amzn.to/39dIroy


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 < https://amzn.to/2TvvL5T


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 < https://amzn.to/2vpMXlo


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.