2 thoughts on “How to Think Like an Officer: A Prospectus

  1. When I first read the title I had to give a small chuckle. Way back in the 1980’s I worked for a Senior NCO whose favorite way of berating us young NCOs was to yell, “STOP THINKING LIKE AN OFFICER!!!!” whenever we were trying to solve a problem and he felt we were “overthinking” it.
    In my observations during my twenty-one year career in USAF it seemed to me that USAF Leadership moved away from leadership of troops and more towards management of troops. During that time it also seemed to me that it became a “Cardinal Sin” to exercise independent thought. I heard a lot of “I will tell you what you need to do and you will do nothing more!” Sadly I don’t think the senior leadership understood the long terms effects that attitude was to have. If you don’t learn to make decisions as a young officer how are you going to know how to make them as a senior officer?
    I enjoyed your article very much and I believe it could applied to the NCO corps as well. There are times when a NCO is operating in a leadership position and must be able to “Think like an Officer”.


    1. Sir, I once saw a picture of a t-shirt once that said, “Officers: Making Simple Shit Hard Since 1775”! I think you’re absolutely right about this applying to NCOs, and also about building the habit of making hard decisions early. It has also occurred to me that there is something to be said for thinking like an NCO or non-rate. Officers need sometimes to think as they do, see the mission from their perspective. Reading CJ Chivers’ recent book has helped to drive that home for me. The Marine Corps isn’t bad at allowing initiative, but we sometimes make up for that by being type-A control freaks. Thanks for your comment.


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