New Army Uniform (Updated)

August 30, 2008

UPDATE (Feb. 20): The Army is asking for more input from officers on this survey (only accessible by Common Access Card)

You can purchase new ASU items from Marlow White here.  (Not an official Army source)

After much research, many surveys, design options; the Army announced the new Army Service Uniform about two weeks ago.  Now there is a slick new website with a variety of photos illustrating the new Army Service Uniform.  This pictorial timeline of Army uniforms is interesting and worth taking a look–though it claims in “2006 all of U.S. Army transition to blue service uniform.” (I’m sure someone will correct the error)

U.S. Army Service Uniform

U.S. Army Service Uniform

There are many frequently asked questions about the transition to the new uniform.  The Army has done a good job of consolidating them here.

A few interesting facts:

o The Green Class A is the only authorized uniform for DA Photos until 4th Quarter FY ’09 (a year from now)

o There are three different variations of the ACU (camoflague uniform): Ceremonial, Garrison, and Utility/Field

o  Prices are not currently set for the new uniform.  However, it’s estimated to cost between $200-400.  I previously suggested that the Army should give a uniform voucher to Majors to help with retention.

The uniform debate has generated many spirited and funny blog posts/comments.  Look at few here, here, and here.

It’s good to know that Soldier’s input was considered in the decision.  In ten years, half the Army will have never even worn the current Green Class A’s and we will still be fighting and winning the Nation’s wars.  Change is a good.  I look forward to wearing the new uniform proudly.  Army Strong!

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Obama stage design evokes American history

August 28, 2008
MLK speaking in front of columns...how arrogant? *snark*

MLK speaking in front of columns...how arrogant? *snark*

Tonight is Obama’s big acceptance speech at Invesco Field in Denver.  Video of stage and interview with David Plouffe here.

The naysayers are out in full force chastising his set design. Criticism here, here, and here…one more here.

To me, it is a brilliant move and clear symbolism to evoke memories of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln. The imagery communicates a message that the majority of Americans reflect on positively.

MLK delivers I have a dream speech in front of columns

MLK delivers "I have a dream speech" in front of columns

I look forward to the speech.

What’s wrong with trying to replicate images that all American’s hold dear like that of the Lincoln Memorial?  Am I the only one this makes sense too?  Perhaps, it’s just that every move Sen. Obama makes is criticized because it’s new?  Because it goes against conventional wisdom?  Recent history will indicate the Obama team has set new lessons for all leaders–particularly in coalition building, use of new media, and branding.

Happy 45th Anniversary of the “I have a dream speech“!!!  Hopefully Rita & Kevin (I don’t know them) get good seats.  Here is a  photo of them inside the stadium last night.


Biden it is

August 23, 2008

*eats crow*  Yummy!  And I owe my Mom a pair of shoes.  She was right.  Seems like she Moms always is are…

Here’s the VP choice SENATOR JOSEPH ROBINETTE BIDEN, JR.

On June 23, 2008 Senator Biden said:

“Of course [I would say yes],” he said. “If the presidential nominee thought I could help him win — am I going to say to the first African-American candidate about to make history in the world that, ‘No, I will not help you out like you want me to’? Of course . . . I’ll say yes.”

Things you may not know about Sen. Biden:

Read more of Joe Biden on the issues

Joe Biden speaks at the Center for American Progress

Joe Biden speaks at the Center for American Progress


Things I might ask a politician

August 21, 2008

If I were allowed to really ask tough questions of a politician…I would ask:

“Sir/Ma’am: Each year American born, ‘Christian’ Americans murder over 14,000 American born, ‘Christian’ Americans…why isn’t crime prevention higher on the list of campaign issues? Why does your messaging not link education, healthcare, adequate housing to crime?”

“Sir/Ma’am: Most Americans don’t work in factories. But it seems that the pols constantly pander to ‘hard working factory workers’ in ad after ad. What about the other people who work in the service industries, education, technical fields, military, artists, and even unemployed?  Do they matter too?”

“Sir/Ma’am: Many people in cities don’t drive cars, or at least not very far. So why, oh why, don’t we ever discuss the need from more rail and mass transit? Do you think the special interests have bullied you into drilling for oil?”

Does anyone else wonder why the media doesn’t ask tough questions?  Do you think the upcoming debates will focus on policy or side-issues?


A Major concern for the Army

August 21, 2008

A recent Washington Post article discussed the current shortage of Majors in the Army.  I thought the article was well written and provided good context about the impact of deployments and the expansion of the Army.

Major Insignia

Major Insignia

According to the article:

Majors plan and direct day-to-day military operations for Army battalions, the units primarily responsible for waging the counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout the Army, majors fill key roles as senior staff members, putting together war plans, managing personnel and coordinating logistics.

I’d say that’s an accurate overview.  Though the shortage hurts, we are still fighting and winning wars across the globe.

In general, those of us who continue to serve understand that we aren’t going to get rich in the military.  However, in many of my private discussions my friends agree that a few minor incentives/signs of appreciation would be welcome.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Provide an annual $1,000 “bonus” for all active duty Majors–incl. mobilized reservists (Total cost to Army…less than the price of 100 Toyota Prius)
  • Extend Tuition Assistance benefits to immediate family members if the Soldier doesn’t want to utilize the benefits due to deployments (Total cost to Army…probably less than the price of a $250K Uparmored HMMWV)
  • Allow officers to select duty station of choice for current -or- future assignment (Total cost to Army…”free” someone’s got to fill the slot)
  • Really encourage Senior Leaders (Generals and Colonels) to mentor Majors…some do this really well, some aren’t as engaging.  I suspect that if there were more instances of Senior Leaders having the “How’s your day Major? Where do you see your career going? blah, blah, blah” conversation than many Major’s would simply “feel better.” (Total cost to Army…”free”)
  • Utilize technology to enhance the assignments process (Think: match. com) e.g…A Major fills out a profile of his “desired assignment type, location, duration, family, etc…” that information goes into a computer with an algorithm that spits out potential assignment options.  Through a Social Networking tool, the Major can now contact the Major who currently fills the potential assignment to ask specific questions “How are the schools? Do you like your boss? When will your unit deploy? What are the recreation options? Do you use X,Y,Z equipment?”  All along the way the assignment officer can monitor the conversation and establish report dates based on what works best for the officers–because they will have real-time information.  (Total cost to Army…undetermined; however, the Social Networking technology already exists…just need the “match” feature)
  • Give Majors a free uniform voucher to replace the Green Class A’s.  This is a win-win for the Army because leaders should be the first in the new uniforms and the Majors would appreciate the vouchers. (Total cost to Army would be less than 100 Smart Fortwo!!!)

Let’s hear your opinions…So what do you think?  Should Army Majors simply serve for pride and commitment to duty?  Are the incentives I discussed feasible?  Why do you think the Army is slower than the Navy to embrace incentives? (I have a college classmate who has received $122,000 in bonuses during his Naval career as a Surface Warfare Officerhe’s never been shot at!)


Obama Vice President picks

August 14, 2008

(Posted: 8/14/08) For what it’s worth…here are my pick/hunches/guesses for Sen. Obama’s Vice President (Gov. Sebelius and Rep. Roemer are my strongest guesses):

***My only hard & fast rule for Tier I guesses is that his VP will not have voted for the Iraq War***

TIER I:

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (Kan.) (Moderate; has battled health care industry; hunts; Ohio roots; gray hair, yet youthful; “regular” wife & mother)

Gen. Wesley Clark (Decorated veteran with executive foreign policy experience; 3am experience; respected by netroots)

Gov. Brian Schweitzer (Mont.) (Popular governor; foreign policy experience–yes, you don’t have to be in the military to have foreign policy experience; will lock in Montana’s electoral college votes; pro-sportsmen; anti-FISA; netroots will love him) UPDATE: VIDEO OF GOV. SCHWEITZER‘S ADDRESS TO DNC

Fmr. Rep. Tim Roemer (Ind.) (Opposed NAFTA; serious Foreign Policy & Intelligence credentials; solidly puts Indiana in the toss-up category; Louisiana connection–hey, it’s possible Cleo Fields almost won the governorship a few years back)

TIER II:

Fmr. Sen. Sam Nunn (Ga.)

Fmr. Gov. Ray Mabus (Miss.)

Gov. Janet Napolitano (Az.)

Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.)

WILD CARDS (If not selected, I expect them to be key advisers or cabinet members):

Gen. Richard Cody

Gen. Anthony Zinni

Fmr. Sen. Max Cleland (Ga.) He is a lobbyist.

Fmr. SecDef William Cohen (A moderate Republican)

NOT GONNA GET PICKED:  Clinton, Bayh, Biden, Richardson, Powell, Hagel, Kaine, Webb (Webb is too important of an ally in the Senate and it would be hard for Virginia to produce a candidate to replace him)

Click here if you want to know the real answer as soon as it’s announced.  Read Garrett Graff, Sensei of Social Media’s New York Times Op-Ed about Obama’s announcement technique. Follow Graff on twitter here.

Final thing to watch for the remainder of the campaign…the Rocky Mountain strategy…during the primaries much hullabaloo was made of how poorly Sen. Obama performed in Appalachia; meanwhile he was winning big in the Rockies.  I project he will win MT, CO, NV, OR, WA, CA and NM in November (the old Florida/Ohio “big state” paradigm is soooo 2004)


Maiysha is on the playlist

August 7, 2008
A vintage modeling photo of Maiysha

I’ve taken sometime to listen to beautiful new songstress Maiysha. Her debut album is titled This Much is True.  Her Myspace page is here.  I suppose she’s classified as a Progressive/neo-soul type of artist.  But, she actually seems to have a neo-soul/jazz/classic rock/R&B/BananaRepublic-esque sound.

Bottomline:  The woman can sing and has cross-cultural appeal.

Favorite trackOver My Head (a song about a woman who gets intimate a bit too fast and is confused).  The song has a nifty change-of-pace and Mayisha shows her ability to sing smoothed out lyrics and then rap in a melodious manner.  This gals got talent!

I also like You Don’t Know, Sledgehammer (A cover of Peter Gabriel’s ’80s hit), and Wanna be, heck, the whole album is perfect for listening to on a long drive, a house warming party, relaxing in a lounge, or folding laundry.

Maybe the best thing about Maiysha is that she is a disciplined, conservative, and principled woman who everyone can be proud of.  She is not a flash-in-the-pan, big break type (Insert airhead artist [here]).  Maiysha is educated and dedicated to her family and friends.  She is well respected in the New York social scene and we will never see her put on blast for foolishness in TMZ or bossip.com

But you can see her on this video interview.  (As of this blog posting on Aug. 7th it has 367 views…watch it)

A vintage modeling photo of Maiysha...lovely

A vintage modeling photo of Maiysha...lovely

Seems like she may have been a background singer in NYC for a while.  Read official reviews about Maiysha’s music here, here, here, and here.

Hey, Maiysha, if you’re reading this, I’d love for you to dedicate Orbit to me someday–I’m smitten.  Oh and I’ll fix up your wikipedia entry, it’s not currently wikified.  If you have a Facebook fan page I’ll join it.

Maiysha is also a Supermodel.  You can see her in Slim-Fast and Lane Bryant national advertising campaigns and commercials.  She has great hair.

DISCLAIMER: Maiysha’s mom is one of my mentors.  They are a wonderful mother/daughter team who should be profiled in Essence, People, Oprah, or even Time magazine someday.