Reflections on my blogs and suggested articles from the past year

I started blogging over a year ago mainly to start a conversation with myself about my chosen profession, and also share my thoughts along the way to others who may find some benefit in my opinions. I’ve seen that blogging is incredibly narcissistic to some extent when writing online – you are writing to a reader whom you are trying to convince that your perspective or opinion is correct. It is incredibly personal, and I’m not sure why writers do it. I’ve decided to stay humble, raw, and real in my posts. I’ve even tried to share some of my faults, which all of us have. In doing so, I’ve found it has humbled me and made me (I hope) a better leader, person, and helped me be better in my career field.

My goals when I started doing this were to learn:

1) humility (reflect on my past and show others what to do or not to do);

2) honesty through my writing (not sugar coat it);

3) cover gaps where I think our current schools lack (I’m sure there are those who read my posts that say “We teach that” – sometimes its in one ear and out another unless they have the context of their AFRICA OSC job).

It took around a year of courage to actually start the AFRICA OSC Facebook site I contributed to and managed and also the online blog I write (with some other contributors). Doing so has also taught me many lessons in life. Honestly, I started both thinking more people would comment on blogs, contribute to/with them, etc. They haven’t, and I’ve observed mostly the “lurker” online effect. However, I have had over 5000 views by over a 1000 people on the site. When looking at the statistics and the size of the community I am “targeting,” I’ve almost been seen in every country in the world, and every post in Africa. Sometimes I worry about my opinions and how they may have been received…then I remember that the O in FAO really means Opinionated! That is what they train us for – right? Lastly, I hope the following information and the blogs I’ve written have helped someone. However, in actuality, my writings are narcissistic in nature because they’ve supported me by reading, researching, and writing them.

My Opinions this year

Below are several articles concerning Security Cooperation / Assistance that I have shared on social media throughout the past year, as well as my comments. I hope they inform you as much as they have informed me.

“There is a lot of churn on this topic in the command right now…your thoughts? If you could change the strategic application of SFA in Africa what would you recommend?” –

“PCS season is amongst us, and many new OSCs are going through the new DISCS training program. What are the new changes that DISCS has made? Particularly, what are the aspects of “Exporting Security International Engagement, Security Cooperation, and the Changing Face of the US Military” that DISCS is interested in?” –

“For those OSCs who have PKO units I found the following website and courses highly helpful. Particularly the Logistics and Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) courses.” –

“JP 3-20 fills a persistent doctrinal gap by codifying SC and SFA doctrine into the changing character of warfare as essential to shaping the operational environment and, protecting U.S. and PN security interests now and into the future.”-

“Interesting read.” –

“Good to see a senior FAO in this position…1st item on the agenda hopefully is decreasing the amount of time the FMS process takes.” –

“RSWG Preparation #1 – The Ethical OSC: “…those entrusted with enormous sums of taxpayer money….” As OSCs we write proposals that normally start at six figures and usually we hope they hit the seven to eight figure mark. The mark of an experienced OSC is when we take SECDEF’s guidance and ensure our requests are researched, validated, and achievable.” –

Must Read for FAOs:

“I’ve been researching UK Defense Engagement (Security Cooperation) a lot lately and found this jewel of an article on their lessons learned from their failed attempt to rebuild the Libyan army. As we move towards this again in Libya and Somalia we should keep some of their recommendations in mind.” –

“Good overall breakdown of potential major changes in Security Assistance for FY18. The is also an interesting reference material, with some gaps in data.” –

“If you haven’t heard about the new requirements under the 2017 NDAA for Assessment, Monitoring, and Evaluations…as an OSC over the next few years I have a feeling you will. I have an upcoming blog on it, but it is such a moving target it is hard to put anything out on it yet. Maybe then it is best to look at the recent job posting on LinkedIn, which is a sign of what is to come. We need to start thinking about how to approach this as we know our partner nations may or will not like it. We need to think about what training we as OSCs need to be better at the 7 Functions we are challenged with executing. (Disclaimer: this post does not support SAIC or any other company!).” –

“A must read for African OSCs.” –

“My reading list is officially booked solid. Looks like an excellent read, 2 of 5 authors are senior African FAOs.” –

“If you are an OSC in a Francophone country this is a must read. Great synopsis of the French military in Africa.” –

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