|Date published:||21 Sep 2018|
Apply critical-thinking skills to identify, explain, and defend the selection of the critical leadership problem. Use relevant facts and assumptions from the 4th ABCT case study below to support your argument. (30 Points)
Applying concepts and processes from case study below, describe how you will solve the problem, implement your vision, and measure effectiveness in achieving your vision. (50 Points)
The introduction clearly states the thesis and introduces major points.
Major points are fully developed using clear reasoning.
The conclusion reinforces the thesis and major points.
Style is concise, primarily in active voice, and generally free of errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
You are LTC (P) Pete Owens, a promotable lieutenant colonel who commanded a battalion in the 4th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). One month ago, you returned to the post where the 4th ABCT is stationed to assume command of the brigade after attending the Army War College. The current brigade commander, Col Michael Lanks, is retiring early due to medical reasons. Your change of command is in 30 days. While you are excited about getting reacquainted and acclimated with your old unit, you know a lot has happened, including a deployment. In the last 30 days, you have had an opportunity to observe the ABCT and review a multitude of historical documents to assess the state of the brigade. The 4th ABCT returned from Afghanistan 55 days ago. The most significant event in the next 12 months is the brigade rotation at the National Training Center (NTC), just prior to assuming the transition/mission/committed period in the new Sustainable Readiness Module (SRM) with a Regionally Aligned Force (RAF) mission. The RAF mission in support of U.S. Army Africa requires two maneuver battalions to deploy consecutively for nine months during the mission phase. Simultaneously, the RAF mission requires the remainder of the 4th to support over 90 theater security cooperation engagements on the African continent ranging in size from two-person teams to company plus. While U.S. Army Africa may cancel some of the existing 90 engagements, they expect the number of engagements to increase, many with limited time for preparation. During the recent deployment the 4th’s parent division headquarters and the other divisional BCTs did not deploy with the brigade. Instead, the 4th ABCT worked for two other divisions during their deployment and with a number of other BCTs. Further, due to operational needs and capability shortfalls in another brigade, the 4th detached one of its combined arms battalions for nine months. This battalion, “The War Hawks” gained a reputation for being superstars and they are very proud of the other division patch they wear on their right shoulder. The brigade has been back at home station for almost two months; reintegration training and block leave are complete. As you continue your assessment, you realize that few, if any, of the ABCT staff remains from your last assignment with the unit. Further, many of the current ABCT staff will PCS in the next few months. The change of command for three of the battalions is in the next 60 days. Your initial perception of COL Lanks, the brigade commander, and CSM Ivor, the brigade command sergeant major, were positive. COL Lanks has been very gracious, allowing you to observe key events and have access to key leaders in the brigade to facilitate your transition. You know you will not have the luxury of having a deputy commander, based on the recent TO&E changes, however, your discussions with LTC (P) Tagoli, the outgoing deputy brigade commander, seemed inconsistent with what you discussed with the brigade commander and command sergeant major.
You remember just three short years ago the 4th ABCT was considered among the best maneuver brigades in FORSCOM. By all measurements, the brigade excelled. Morale across the brigade was high, as it seemed the brigade attracted the best of the officer and non-commissioned officer corps. The brigade had focus. Leaders and Soldiers were dedicated to the mission and a supportive family atmosphere existed among the battalions. There was a strong work ethic. Problems existed but there was a prevailing attitude that most problems could be resolved. More often than not, leaders solved problems at lower levels, they rarely reached the brigade command level. Competition within the brigade existed but it was positively oriented toward the success of the brigade. Frequent coordination occurred among peers to share information, resources, and lessons learned. Often the brigade and battalion officers met informally for happy-hour type social events. Although these were definitely social occasions, the leaders could not help but discuss ways to improve their brigade. Leaders shared information freely with little regard for ownership or competitiveness. Often the battalion and brigade commanders were active participants. Their peers in the division often ridiculed brigade officers as “whackos” who always wanted to discuss work issues. A similar environment existed among the battalion and brigade non-commissioned officers. Now it appears the environment is different and the battalions are competing not to improve the brigade, but to set themselves apart from the brigade. Camaraderie amongst the outgoing battalion commanders and command sergeants major appears to be only skin-deep. Prior to your departure to attend the Army War College, the 4th ABCT received notification of a twelve-month deployment to Afghanistan. As a battalion commander, you took pride as you observed all leaders pitching in to “make it happen.” Soon after the notification and your departure, the brigade experienced a change of command. The new brigade leadership team assumed responsibility for the pre-deployment train-up period. Your remaining brigade contacts indicated that the transition and train-up seemed to go as well as could be expected. The 4th completed its mission readiness exercise (MRE) at the NTC and deployed for war.
While the majority of the brigade took block leave over the last month, you had the opportunity to review a number of historical documents, observe routine meetings, speak with members of the brigade, and walk around the brigade’s footprint. Your review of the brigade’s historical unit status reports indicates the 4th ABCT completed all necessary training and received its required equipment prior to departure. The ABCT deployed at 92 percent strength, although the assigned strength was 105 percent. The commander’s comments specifically highlighted that brigade leaders and Soldiers were well- trained and qualified. The majority of the non-deployable Soldiers remained at home station for medical reasons that surfaced within 60 to 90 days prior to the departure date. During the deployment, the brigade redeployed more than 100 Soldiers for non-combat-related medical problems. While the installation’s medical providers addressed many of the non-deployable Soldiers’ medical concerns, a significant number of non-deployable Soldiers remain on unit roles. Additionally, since returning, the number of medical non-deployable Soldiers has slightly increased above pre-deployment numbers.
The brigade’s historical records from Afghanistan indicate the unit was fairly successful in accomplishing all missions. Two of the battalions performed Security Force Advisor Team (SFAT) missions. Personnel from the battalions not involved with SFAT requirements were cross-leveled in the remaining battalions of the 4th. The documents suggest violence in the 4th’s area of operations did not significantly increase, nor did it decrease; and casualties in Afghanistan were considered light. Security of the populace and US forces was a major priority that was accomplished very well, but the records indicate the ABCT’s ability to support the host nation was mixed; the SFATs had marginal success influencing Afghan Army units and police forces. It appeared the ABCT staff was able to manage day-to-day operations effectively, but struggled with their ability to capitalize on opportunities and to anticipate potential threats.
Even though the casualties were few in number there was one critical incident that influenced the ABCT dramatically. Approximately three months into the brigade’s twelve-month deployment, a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated on a patrol in one of the maneuver battalion’s area of operations. The attack killed the brigade commander, COL Timmons, the brigade command sergeant major, and one of the battalion commanders, as well as wounded several other Soldiers and Afghan Security Forces. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, LTC (P) Tagoli assumed command of the brigade until the arrival of COL Lanks and CSM Ivor. The division headquarters assigned LTC Rouchard, a battalion command-selectee already with the brigade, to assume battalion command.
Another document you reviewed is a Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) report compiled from observations of the 4th in Afghanistan. From all accounts, the ABCT and its leaders performed as well as possible in Afghanistan, given the circumstances. However, the official record indicates significant challenges requiring attention. The extensive study identified several specific issues that may have an impact on the organization’s future effectiveness. You highlighted the following sections of the report.
Multiple and often incompatible communications systems hampered command and control throughout the brigade. At battalion and below levels, the varying battlefield, electronic, and environmental conditions required leaders to carry multiple radios to communicate effectively. Further, the dispersed nature of multiple combat outposts and forward operating bases (FOBs) created significant digital network challenges for the brigade’s network technicians. The digital network frequently crashed, making communication loss between the brigade and subordinate battalion headquarters a normal, if not daily, occurrence. While tactical satellite and high frequency radios provided some redundancy, the limited number of systems and frequencies available to the brigade in some cases created operational and personal friction.
Personnel authorizations on the battalion staffs were not sufficient to allow 24hour operations over a sustained period. Often, battle captains were taken “out of hide” to conduct the mission, resulting in unqualified and untrained personnel attempting to perform battalion tactical operations center functions, especially during the evening hours. This contributed to increased friction between the brigade and battalion staffs.
During the brigade’s deployment, the brigade commander tasked the deputy brigade commander to supervise the SFATs operating within the brigade’s area of operations, synchronize the operations of the brigade support battalion at a different forward operating base, be the “voice” of the ABCT to the media, act as liaison officer to coalition forces, and act as a chief of staff. These varied missions for the deputy created confusion within the brigade, and this confusion created the perception of a weakened ABCT command structure. COL Lanks contributed to this confusion when he left many of the responsibilities for daily operations with the deputy brigade commander.
The modular BCT structure continued to create training challenges, especially within the combined arms battalions. Whereas previously the maneuver battalion commanders and staffs were able to focus on traditional infantry and armor skills (e.g., Bradley and tank gunnery, individual infantry and armor Soldier skills, infantry and armor platoon skills), the same commanders and staffs were required to attain and maintain proficiency at planning and executing individual and collective skills in areas outside their areas of expertise. Moreover, the report identified that this diversification diminished subject-matter expertise, once resident within the maneuver battalions.
The Army’s decision to align two battalions with the SFAT mission just prior to the MRE required the leaders to rethink combat organization. The ABCT never quite compensated for this additional mission even after COL Lanks, who had SFAT experience, arrived to take command. Many key leaders and Soldiers in the ABCT, as well as the division staff, were aware of the strain between the SFAT mission and the combat role of the ABCT.
The Afghanistan environment placed severe demands upon available resources. Specifically, the need to protect the population and expand operations in previously unsecured areas increased the need for infantry squads. As a result, armor, engineer, artillery, and other Soldiers filled the void, performing typical infantry tasks and not their own military occupational specialty core competencies. Soldiers from the forward support companies also augmented maneuver platoons as vehicle drivers and as alternate quick reaction forces within the maneuver battalions.
The 4th ABCT trained for the wrong mission-essential tasks during its training “ramp-up” for deployment to Afghanistan. The brigade trained predominantly on combined arms maneuver tasks with little emphasis on wide area security scenarios. Upon arrival in theater, operational necessity required use of seven versions of mine-resistant armor protected variant vehicles. The brigade was able to train on only one version at home station. The brigade had few assets available at Bagram Airbase to execute drivers training during reception, staging, onward movement, and integration, requiring the creation of a driver’s training program to train drivers during the first two months in combat. The high OPTEMPO forced the filling of a large number of “patrol sets” to support the mission. This adversely influenced the maneuver units, the brigade’s special troops battalion (STB) and the brigade support battalion (BSB). A lack of critical mission table of organization and equipment (MTOE) authorizations especially affected the brigade STB’s ability to support both brigade and battalion operations. The dispersed nature of the battalions required the BSB to spend increased time on the roads resupplying outlying locations. Lastly, during pre-deployment train-up, the artillery battalion focused on fire support tasks and not small unit operations. The stability operations mission created unique issues for the 4th ABCT. Although the size of the ABCT staff had a positive effect on shaping operations within their area of operations, the additional tasks associated with resourcing and supporting the SFATs from members of the staff created a “dual-hatted” staff, reducing the staff’s effectiveness. The CALL report also indicated a potential problem existed within the culture of the organization. The desire to be seen as an elite, highly professional unit led to the development of behaviors that were generally good-natured and helped instill an esprit de corps within the unit. However, the CALL reports contain information that implies some non-commissioned and junior officers allowed these events to devolve to an extreme degree during the deployment. The report suggests that the events have progressed from esprit building to “sanctioned hazing” according to one junior non-commissioned officer. You also reviewed a 360-degree commander and staff assessment of the 4th ABCT from the Center for Army Leadership’s Leadership Assessment and Feedback Program. A summary of trends from the assessment indicates that the staff had the trust and confidence of the subordinate units. It also revealed the non-commissioned officers display confidence in their abilities and have a good tactical and technical knowledge.
On the other hand, the assessment revealed that commanders shared a lack of willingness to include subordinates in decision-making and they fell short of expectations on developing subordinates, coaching, and counseling. There is a perception by many officers of a seeming lack of concern for leader development by the brigade commander. The report indicates battalion commanders do not routinely counsel company commanders on their performance and the captains receive little to no developmental guidance from either their rater or senior rater. One company commander commented, “I have always been a top performer, I just do my best and hope it is good enough, if no one is yelling at me, I’m golden.”
Recently the ABCT HQ completed a command climate survey. There are some inconsistencies in the survey report. Many of the Soldiers within the HQ seem to like being a member of the ABCT but report stress because of the unknown requirements of the RAF mission and the effect they anticipate on their families. There is clearly some disappointment amongst the leaders in the ABCT. One entry read, “COL Lanks tells us in formations to take care of our families but he never gives us time to do the things we need to do for them. My wife is really fed up with this unit.” Another comment reads, “Major Wilson (brigade S4) is always talking to the female Soldiers. I can tell he makes them uncomfortable by the amount of attention he pays them. He even goes out of his way to get certain females into his office. I think it is affecting the performance of the section, but what can I do, I am only a specialist.” You can find no indication that the ABCT leadership took any action on the issues within the survey.
The last historical document you reviewed was the brigade’s reset plan and timeline. A careful study of the document reveals the brigade returned 55 days ago and is in the prepare phase of SRM. According to the DA G3/5/7 SRM EXORD for the brigade’s redeployment, the brigade has another 35 days in the prepare phase before transitioning to the ready phase. Of immediate concern is the pending arrival of the unit’s containers and redeploying equipment from Afghanistan. The ship arrived at the port 10 days ago and immediately began downloading equipment to rail back to home station. The brigade commander expects the equipment to start arriving and be complete over the next two weeks. Of critical importance is the turn-in of ancillary equipment (NBC, NVGs, and radios) to the special repair teams beginning in 10 days. The special repair teams will keep the brigade’s equipment for the next four to six weeks to complete technical inspections and repair.
Earlier in the week you had an opportunity to discuss last week’s synchronization conference with COL Lanks. The conference included representatives from FORSCOM, Department of the Army G1, G3/5/7, G4, G8, Army Material Command (AMC), and the division staff primaries. You learned that the program executive office (PEO) Ground Combat Systems representative reported that because the brigade turned in all of its combat platforms (tanks, Bradleys, M113s, Paladins, and tactical operations center (TOC) equipment) prior to deployment, you will not receive your new issue for at least another 14 days. Further, PEO, Command, Control Communication, Tactical (CCCT), mentioned the brigade will receive all new TOC equipment but he did not think the equipment would be ready until another 30 days. The CCCT representative also provided less than optimistic information regarding the brigade’s satellite communication packages. Since the brigade chose to forego much-needed system upgrades prior to deployment, the majority of the components on the existing satellite terminals are out-of-date and no longer under warranty. Additionally, the Army is fielding new communication trailer systems over the next three-quarters of the fiscal year with the brigade’s equipment not scheduled for delivery until just before entering the transition phase in 125 days. Lastly, the AMC representative said the ancillary equipment (wheeled vehicles, trailers, water buffalos, MHE, etc.) the brigade turned into AMC prior to the deployment as left behind equipment will be ready for reissue over a 7-week period beginning in 25 days.
The information provided at the conference was grim. The division chief of staff, who attended the final out brief, pledged to COL Lanks that he would remain on top of the division G4 and G8 to ensure program managers and AMC upheld their end of the agreement and returned equipment to the brigade as soon as possible. The personnel outlook is mixed. The brigade is losing people as they move to new assignments or leave the Army. Most significantly, the change of command ceremonies for three of the brigade’s battalions will occur in the next 60 days. On a positive note, about half of the field grade officers in the battalions will remain in the brigade because they deployed late after completing the Command and General Staff Officer Course or their division staff time. The battalion XOs all appear competent and have a good understanding of their battalions’ strengths and weaknesses and brigade-level systems. There is also a significant turnover expected in the officers in the brigade headquarters. The brigade did receive some replacement personnel during the deployment, and can expect Human Resource Command to fill the brigade at 80 percent available strength overall and 75 percent senior grade before assumption of the RAF mission.
CPT Pat Donelson is the brigade S-1. He just recently moved up to the brigade S-1 section from “The War Hawks.” He is a recognized self-starter and well respected in the brigade. Yesterday, he was discussing an inbound personnel printout with you and he had some specific concerns. One of the inbound lieutenants is a recent graduate of Ranger School; he wanted to know where we are going to put her since she arrives after your assumption of command. She is a logistics officer. He also mentioned, “We don’t need this kind of attention or problem, and this is going to be a big one. We have to put her somewhere she can’t mess up.” He also gave you a heads up about a rash of officer actions from some of the battalions. He said he just dropped off seven packets in Col Lank’s inbox of officers requesting release from active duty. He acknowledged it was not your problem yet but he wanted you to know. He also mentioned, based on discussions with the battalion adjutants at the last adjutant’s call, there would be more coming from the battalions.
The brigade S2 is Major Pete Stanford. Major Stanford appears to be very confident and competent, but he seems overly conscientious about his recommendations since returning from Afghanistan. He has some good systems in place and has developed a good team. He works very hard to be on top of everything. LTC (P) Tagoli mentioned to you during one of your previous conversations “Stanford is over compensating. He feels responsible for the deaths of the brigade commander, CSM, and the battalion commander. He briefed the threat along the route at one of brigade updates. He just needs to get over it and move on.” In the last command and staff, Stanford voiced his concerns about the increasing trends of serious incidence reports and blotter incidents. He said, “I’ve checked with the other brigades and are our numbers are increasing and the other brigades are not.”
Major Jeff Wilson is the brigade S4. The S4 section performed poorly during the last deployment. While Major Wilson appears to be a good officer who knows the technical aspects of supply and maintenance management, but appears to suffer from a lack of understanding of how to run his staff. Many of the brigade leaders view his section as lacking commitment to the ideas and direction of the brigade commander. The battalion commanders note that the S4 section can meet critical supply efforts to support operations, but struggles with the myriad of garrison procedures and associated requirements. The S4 section has conflict with the division G4 that has led to an adversarial relationship. The Soldiers in the section seem unmotivated and have a general lack of discipline across the group.
Major Sean Springsteen, the brigade’s S6, appeared to be the least likely officer to complain about workload. However, last week after a particularly stressful staff meeting, you heard him discussing something with the XO. He commented, “Sir, I know you are busy, but I have to talk to someone. I am not sure how much more of this I can take. Nothing we do on this staff seems to be good enough and staffing actions never seem to get the time they deserve. We are not allowed to make routine decisions at our level, and it seems we jump from one crisis to another with no apparent direction. I thought when we returned from Afghanistan the pace would improve a bit, at least for a short while, and allow me to once again get acquainted with my family. It has been far from that! I even had my leave shortened to support the division command post exercise. A division CPX for crying out loud! We just returned from combat! We were told the division’s new staff needed to resolve some internal staffing procedures, so they scheduled an out-of-cycle training exercise. Given this division’s 24/7 mentality and helter-skelter attitude, I would almost rather be back in Afghanistan. At least there everyone knows they have to work 24/7 and no one really expects to know what will happen next. Plus, you don’t have the family wondering why daddy isn’t home. Even my wife, who basically ran the brigade’s family readiness group when we were deployed and is a very dedicated Army wife, is about to throw in the towel.”
The ABCT Chaplain, (Major) Mike Cobb, came in this morning. He was on the brigade commander’s calendar and was bumped again, because “something important came up.” This is the fifth time. “I have had real trouble getting in to see him since we returned.” His frustration and concerns were apparent. He went on to say, “You think we have problems, you don’t know the half of it, the things I am hearing and seeing should be his priority.”
Last week you witnessed an exchange at an ABCT command team meeting. The commander and sergeant major of one of the brigade’s combined arms battalions provided COL Lanks and CSM Ivor a detailed review of the effect of the installation’s “red cycle” on their unit training plans, receipt of equipment, execution of the reset of personnel and equipment, reestablish garrison systems, and leader and incoming Soldier training to address shortfalls identified in Afghanistan. The battalion commander stated, “We’re caught between a rock and a hard place because we tell Soldiers to reconnect with their families after being away for nine months, and then pile so many competing requirements on the plate they have to work until 1900 hours each night to meet suspenses. When you add on red-cycle taskings, the problem increases because you have fewer Soldiers to do the same amount of work. When I have to defer equipment turn-in for two weeks or keep Soldiers late telling them it is more important to guard motor pools and ranges than recover our equipment from war, we all lose credibility. Soldiers know the difference between activity to keep them alive, and make-work.”
The battalion command sergeant major added, “This is worse than I’ve ever seen it. It seems we cannot catch a break on the ever-increasing extra duties and work details. When I mentioned this to the division command sergeant major at his last senior non-commissioned officer call, he dismissed me by saying, ‘we have had red cycles throughout my 26 years in the Army. They will always be here, so live with it. Quit complaining! You guys have been nothing but whiners since you returned from Afghanistan! The response of COL Lanks to both of his subordinate leaders was telling. “Look you are the commander, figure it out! Nothing is coming off the plate. Do not expect me or my sergeant major to plead your case with the division. This is life! Just get it done!”
Your experiences with the officers in the brigade S3 section were positive. All appeared professional, cooperative, and well-motivated by LTC Robert Galvez. However, recent comments to you by two battalion S3s indicated a dictatorial side to the brigade S3. They mentioned Galvez’s unwillingness to consider new ways of approaching the diverse training needs brought by the reconfiguration. Moreover, Galvez indicated if they took their concerns to their battalion commanders (one of whom was fairly new) they would regret it. When you mentioned this to LTC (P) Tagoli, he responded, “Hell, that’s just Galvez flexing his muscle. His system works and there is no better brigade S3 in the division, and everyone knows it. Those battalion officers need to quit sniveling and get to work.”
In a private conversation last week, command sergeant major Ivor mentioned, “I’m worried about my senior non-commissioned officers. They appear competent but I do not see any results from their work. They are sick and tired of the constant barrage of taskers and they don’t believe anything they do is making a difference. There is no priority, yesterday it was that, todays it’s this, tomorrow it will be something else. There appears to be little teamwork among them and their officers. When I ask them why they don’t speak up and get involved, they ask, ‘Why should I? Nothing ever comes of it. Our officers are only concerned about themselves, not the unit.’”
As you moved throughout the brigade, you perceived an undercurrent of discussion that centers on potential incidents of sexual harassment within the brigade by an officer. The conversation centers around one of the “superstar” company commanders, CPT Seth Cooper. As a platoon leader, he was in charge of the personnel support detachment (PSD) for COL Lanks. After the deployment, COL Lanks placed CPT Cooper in command ahead of other senior captains waiting for command. The consensus from the officers, NCOs, and enlisted personnel with whom you spoke is CPT Cooper gets results and is popular with battalion and brigade leaders. Every battalion commander requested CPT Cooper be assigned to his or her battalion after the deployment. However, at least four individuals stated, “CPT Cooper really got around while he was on the PSD.” Another stated, “CPT Cooper had a girlfriend at every FOB.” When you mention what you heard to LTC (P) Tagoli he dismisses the issue by stating “CPT Cooper is very friendly, a real extrovert. Besides, the only person that mentioned anything approaching a complaint had a reputation of being pretty friendly herself so COL Lanks dismissed the allegation.”
You also found out the ABCT is experiencing a growing trend in three other negative areas: domestic abuse, DUI, and divorces. The increases are across all battalions as well as the HQ. The reports are a strong indicator of the increased stress across the ABCT. While the ABCT commander put policies in place to ensure immediate reporting of both abuse and DUI cases, there is no plan for prevention. The organization seems to be in a react mode in these areas. Your discussions with the chaplain confirm the increase in divorces. He mentions to you the reason appears to be marital unfaithfulness during the last deployment and a continued operational tempo (OPTEMPO) that is causing the spouse at home to feel alone and without hope. He also indicates he believes most of the issues with infidelity are internal to the brigade, with a few cases among the senior members of the brigade staff that are still ongoing. COL Lanks’ response to the chaplain’s concern about these allegations was simply, “Those are only rumors. Don’t bring me that stuff without proof!” Finally, your informal conversations with friends within the division suggest the 4th gained a reputation in Afghanistan for being very “heavy-handed” in dealing with locals. While the characterization started during the initial relief-in-place/transition of authority, their behavior took a marked downturn after the death of the brigade command team and battalion commander. According to several sources outside the brigade, this approach appeared to inhibit the brigade’s ability to conduct host-nation responsibilities. One of your more trusted sources stated emphatically, “Tagoli’s negative attitude of the Afghans created a cancer among some within the brigade, and it’s still there. COL Lanks only made things worse with his hyperbole and forceoriented approach to the security in the ABCT area of operations. You need to be very careful.”
The past few weeks have been a blur for you. You understand the brigade has undergone numerous changes and know significant challenges lie ahead. Fortunately, the information you received from historical records, CALL and CAL assessments, and conversations and observations with leaders throughout the brigade and division provided some much-needed information. You know there is not much time before the NTC rotation and the brigade assumes the RAF mission, and there are many unknowns associated with the mission.
You are scheduled for a meeting with the division commander soon after your assumption of command to provide your assessment of the brigade’s status and to chart a course for the next few months. Your major concern is where to start. As you begin to reflect on the upcoming meeting with the division commander, you know you need to identify the significant challenges you see within the brigade, the processes you might use to improve the brigade, and how you will know you are successful in improving the brigade. You realize you should have this information available for the meeting with the division commander.