Leadership News

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Different Kind of Leadership Book!

I write police promotional textbook exams and assessments for a living [...]. I'm always seeking out new and cutting edge books in the fields of police supervision, management and leadership. So, I was very pleasantly surprised after I finished reading this unique leadership book. It presents an impressive amount of information on leadership in a fun and interesting format - with liberal use of relevant and humorous quotes, experiences and analogies. Your retention of the material will be extremely high because of the author's unique writing style and the attention-grabbing format. Both authors are highly qualified and experienced to present this material - but that's not the primary reason you should consider this book. If you are in law enforcement, entering law enforcement or looking to advance your law enforcement career, this book not only covers the basic leadrship experience in a way that is lively and interesting, it makes you relate to and almost experience the hardcore, daily struggle all law enforcement supervisors and managers have with how to select, train and "grow" quality law enforcement personnel. It took a lot of guts to write a leadership book in such a unique format. And guts is what you'll need in Poker .. and in Leadership ... and this book, if nothing else, will make you see how you can embody these leadership skills.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Police Author Published in Overseas Text Book

December 5, 2008 (San Dimas, CA) In November 2008, the ICFAI Business School Research Center (Chennai, India) published Employee Morale: Concepts and Cases. Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA is the author of Chapter 12: Morale: Whose Job is it Anyway?

The ICFAI said of the book, the initiative “is to publish a series of books in the areas of finance, management and allied areas with a special focus on emerging and frontier areas.” Foster, the co-author of
Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style, said that he was contacted by the ICFAI University in the Summer of 2007 about using an earlier article on employee morale as the basis for a chapter in the book. Foster continued, “we were just in the finishing stages of production on the leadership book when the Indian University contacted me. I liked two things about the proposal – the subject is particularity interesting to me and it was an opportunity to reach out to an additional 900 million readers.”

Foster noted that while the book has only recently reached US shores, it has been available in India since August 2008. Foster said, “I hadn’t seen a copy, but when I began to get a lot of email from India from students, academics and business professional about the book, I knew it must have been published.”

Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA is the author of books subjects of policing,
technology and leadership. His most recent book, Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style has been adopted by several universities for course work and other organizations for employee development. He is also a part-time faculty advisor, lecture and the Criminal Justice Department chair at the Union Institute and University. Raymond can be reached through www.pokerleadership.com

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Leadership in Tough Times

Times are getting tougher. Most of us are not the top person in leading our organization; we are line supervisors and middle managers; but it’s still getting tougher. While we don’t make the big decisions we have a responsibility to provide leadership for our organizations and for our followers. Indeed, if enough of us in the ranks make small adjustments the cumulative effect on our organizations may forestall the sweeping cut-backs coming from the top. We have a responsibility to act and here are five cards you can play:


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Life Coach

The November 21, 2008, program of the Watering Hole will feature a conversation with former Ontario Provincial Police Officer Julie Hryniewicz-Hache who is an author, speaker, trainer and life coach; “If you are looking to achieve goals or overcome self-imposed limitations, Julie is a Certified Coach Practitioner, with the Certified Coaches Federation, Julie will support and guide you towards the life goals you are looking to achieve.”

Program Date: November 21, 2008
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: Life Coach
Listen Live:

About the Guest
Julie Hryniewicz-Hache is an inspirational speaker, life coach, author, and corporate trainer in the realm work/life balance and wellness. As former Ontario Provincial Police Officer in five separate Northern Ontario detachments, some of Julie's specialty positions included Hostage and Crisis Negotiator, Acting Detective Sergeant, Investigator with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and Casino Intelligence Liaison officer.

Following her policing career, Julie became a college level instructor in the Police Foundations and
Criminal Justice Program. Using her experience in policing and as a front-line social service worker in child protective services, with young offenders, and facilitating social skills programs in homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and low income housing complexes, Julie shares her journey of burnout and healing with others as a writer of magazine articles, columnist, host of a community online talk radio show, author of a book titled, "Natural Balance" as well as the audio CD program, "What Happened To My Tires?" on life balance.

Julie Hryniewicz-Hache is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, with criminology studies from Lake Superior State University in Michigan towards her degree, as well as a Law Clerk diploma from the Ontario business college. Julie was recently a selected participant of the two-and-a-half week, 2008 Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference. For further information about Julie, her work, and her inspirational blog, you can visit her website at: www.MakeItWorkSeminars.com.

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the
Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole.

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

American Heroes Story Contest

Law enforcement, fire, military and other emergency services personnel are our American Heroes. Did one of your parents, a sibling, a friend or even an anonymous American Hero touch your life? Who is your American Hero and what is their story? American Heroes Press is looking for the best stories about our heroes. You don't have to be a member of the law enforcement, fire, military or emergency services community to enter. You simply need to share your story concerning these unique individuals – whether funny, compelling or truly life-altering

The contest launches Nov. 3, 2008. We will accept submissions through Jan. 31, 2009. Winners will be announced April 1, 2009.

Grand Prize
One Grand-Prize-winning story will be selected. The author of the story will receive the following prizes:

Choice of $200 cash, or $250 credit toward an American Heroes Publishing package
Featured spot for his/her Grand-Prize winning story in the contest anthology
Printed and bound copy of the finished anthology

One Runner-Up-winning story will be selected. The author of the story will receive the following prizes:

Choice of $100 cash, or $150 credit toward an American Heroes Publishing package
Featured spot for his/her Runner-Up winning story in the contest anthology
Printed and bound copy of the finished anthology

Fifteen Finalist stories will be selected. Each finalist author will receive the following prizes:

Inclusion of his/her winning story in the contest anthology
Printed and bound copy of the finished anthology

All participants will be eligible to receive an electronic copy of the finished anthology.


About American Heroes Press
American Heroes Press is more than just a means of publishing your book. It's a growing, active and innovative community of writers. Retired police Lt. Raymond E. Foster of the Los Angeles Police Department started this community in 2003. Today it offers a brand of publishing designed specifically for true American Heroes: police, military, firefighters and emergency workers. As an American Hero, great things are accomplished through teamwork. This community – this team – is here to help you achieve success with your literary work.

More information about American Heroes Press can be found at:

Monday, November 03, 2008

No More “My Way or the Highway”: Embracing the 21st Century Workforce

Editor’s Note: Registration is free and open

On November 19, 2008, the National Institute of Corrections will host a live 3-hour satellite/Internet broadcast to provide an overview of the divisions related to generational differences and how to address them.

Collaboration within today’s multigenerational workplace gets everybody involved with a common goal. Today’s workforce poses both challenges and opportunities for agency leaders. Developing effective strategies to recruit, communicate, train, retain, and lead staff is essential to high performance.

Is your organization looking for answers to the following questions?
Why don’t the younger staff act more like me?
Why don’t these boomers just retire and give me a chance to promote?
How do we begin to prepare new
leaders given our fiscal circumstances?
What does the future of our organization look like? Who’s next?
How do we prepare the next generation of
leaders? (“Building the bench.”)
How do we help the last century’s workforce evolve into the new century’s workers?
Does your mission/vision statement reflect a commitment to staff?


Friday, October 31, 2008

Finding Leadership

Stop the presses! (or, the bytes)

My question is – have you done everything possible to make your print edition as successful as possible? The business of writing is like any other business. You have different streams of sales. Each of those streams has a maximum capacity. By adding an electronic version of your book you are concentrating on adding capacity, but not maximizing capacity in existing streams.

BTW, I have published through large houses and self-published. My last book I sold to two different publishers (one small press and one medium), but I didn’t like the deal – they didn’t share my vision and it was obvious their marketing efforts weren’t going to at least match mine. So, I self-published. The first anniversary of that book past on October 27th. We sold 1400 copies in that first year.

Since you have both a website and an Amazon listing, here are ten things you can do to make those streams work together.

1. Search engine optimize (SEO) your website. Yes, you have written a book that readers will read, but you need to design a website that search engines will find. Many authors have their sites SEO for their own names or the title of their book. Okay, who searches for you? I mean if they already knew about your book or you they would have bought it. You will need to do some research and find out what people are searching for that closely matches what your book is about. As an example, Google “
leadership book” and “leadership books.” The site for my leadership book should appear, for “book” on the first page of Google; for “books” the second page; and for the word “leadership” four or five pages back. You can see as a search term becomes more valuable (in terms of potential site visitors) my site (www.pokerleadership.com) descends the list.

a. Make a list of three word, two word and then single words that people search for and when they do would make your book a potential sale.
b. Begin with the three word combinations and adjust your website (title, meta data, content and links, etc) to reflect those words. As time passes, you can work on making the two word, then the single “hot” word push you to the top of the search engines.

2. Sell your book – make the “purchase now” button or whatever super super easy to find. On my home page there are at least five different ways to “click to buy” People simply see things differently.

3. Become an Amazon Affiliate. Make any book purchases through your site go through Amazon.

a. You will pick up, minimally, an addition 6.5% on each sale.
b. You will increase your own Amazon rating.
c. You can now “book bundle” on your own.
4. Add some mechanism for purchasing a signed copy. I use a paypal function.

5. Offer similar books somewhere on your website. First, if you are an affiliate, a sale a is a sale. Second, if someone buys your book and one other that you recommend, Amazon begins to bundle those purchases. They will, in some manner, offer your book as an alternative to the other book. They have some secret formula, but Amazon has actually sent out an email recommending my book, based on purchases of other books – how do I know? Well, a two day spike in sales along with someone forwarding what they received to me.

6. Use Amazon.

a. Ask every reader you know or meet to write an Amazon review. Good, bad or indifferent, reviews create content which is findable by Amazon as well as third party search engines. BTW, everyone you know is everyone who can type – your spouse, children, etc.
b. Tag your book and encourage others to do so.
c. Make an Amazon list, with your book at the top.

7. Set a “Goolge Alert” on your name, book title and the key word phrases you identified when doing your SEO homework. This is really cool.

a. As an example, I set them up. Two months ago Google emails me and tells me that the title of my book has appear on a university website. I click on that and find that the book has been adopted (yes, the self-published book) by the President of the university for use in a course he teaches in the Anderson School of Management. I send him an email thanking him and making myself available for lecture. The result was: 1) a speaking fee 2) firming up the books use in four subsequent years 3) referrals to other professors teaching similar courses 4) the library buying a copy 5) referrals to other people in the industry.

b. Every time my “key words” come up in an alert I go and visit the site. I look for: 1) is this a site that can possibly list my book 2) is this person a potential reviewer 3) should I ask this person for link to my site. You see, the search engine has already identified the site by the alert as being meaningful to you – that means a link, listing, adoption, review, etc by that website owner is pre-qualified as valuable to the search engine and your SEO efforts.

8. Google those key words – look for courses, websites, people, etc. that can potentially use your book. Sometimes, I ask them if I can send them a review copy. Open a dialogue with that person and make them a salesperson of your work.

9. On your website, find a mechanism for “fresh content.”

a. Rotate small excerpts for your book.
b. Make sure you have google ad words, they change and create shifting content.
c. Use some RSS for news feed.

10. Start a “revision” or “new edition” file. On the “contact” page on your website, let readers know you have this file. People love to help, or at least think they are helping. They will find the errors, omissions and suggest new content. Open a real dialogue with your readers by telling them you have this file and are saving their comments for future editions.

Well, that’s a lot of information. If you think my comments are valuable and you want to ‘repay me’ 1) forward this to someone 2) link to my site 3) buy my bookJ


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gates Honors Career Civilian Employees for Service, Dedication

By Donna Miles

American Forces Press Service

Oct. 21, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today honored career civilian employees from throughout the department, crediting them with providing extraordinary support to warfighters and their families while improving efficiency and saving taxpayer dollars. Gates presented seven employees the Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the highest department honor recognizing exceptional contributions by a civil servant. He also presented the David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration Award that recognizes a nonmanagerial department employee who exhibits potential as a future federal executive.

"It has been an honor to work with the people in this department – professionals whose overriding priority is the defense of our nation," Gates told the honorees.

He noted the broad range of pursuits in which the group has excelled: providing housing for troops, fielding new weapons systems while ensuring support for troops in the field, teaching safety training to foreign partners, helping to stand up U.S. Africa Command, negotiating treaties with allies and training new leaders.

Gates conceded that it's not always fashionable in Washington to honor federal government employees, and that some politicians have been elected by criticizing the people they seek to lead.

"During my career, however, I have dealt with governments all over the world, and have found that the United States has the most dedicated, most honest and most capable public servants of any," he said.

The secretary praised dedicated career employees he said provide stability through leadership changes. "You are the foundation that allows the Defense Department, the largest and most complex organization on the planet, to operate smoothly and efficiently," he said.

"Public service can often seem to be a thankless job," he said, adding that he counsels young people to accept the challenges because, "in truth, the satisfactions far outnumber the difficulties."

Gates told today's honorees their decision to dedicate themselves to public service "is to the betterment of our 2.7 million men and women serving in the active and reserve armed forces and to our leaders here."

Michael L. Rhodes, acting director for the DoD Office of Administration and Management and host of today's awards ceremony, said the award recipients demonstrate the tremendous dedication public servants take on every day.

The winners were selected through an extensive review process that culminated in 25 nominations, Rhodes said. Ultimately, those chosen for honors today "have truly set themselves apart and proved themselves worthy," he said.

Honorees awarded today were:

-- Stephen A. Fleet, director of Missile Defense Agency's Warfighter Support Center, who was recognized for excellence in leading the center through rapid changes while providing vital support to the warfighter community;

-- Steven M. Huybrechts, a director in the DoD Networks and Information Integration Office, for championing the strategy that provided precision targeting, secure unmanned aerial vehicle operations while denying these capabilities to the enemy;

-- Frank D. Kenlon, a director in the DoD Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Office, for his roles as the lead negotiator on the Joint Strike Fighter memorandum of understanding and in drafting and negotiating the U.S.-United Kingdom and U.S.-Australia Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties.

-- Claudia S. Knott, the Defense Logistics Agency's acquisition management director, for leading programs that transformed the agency's business practices while improving customer service in its global logistics mission.

-- Barbara Estock Mays, deputy intelligence enterprise manager for the Defense Intelligence Agency, for applying innovative approaches to transfer responsibilities and design an intelligence enterprise for the new U.S. Africa Command.

-- John K. Russell, tactical safety specialist for Marine Corps Base Hawaii's Base Safety Center, for developing the Marine Corps' forward-deployed ground safety program during Operation Iraqi Freedom II that provided a model for follow-on operations there; and

-- Edmund G. Zelnio, an engineer in the Air Force Research Laboratory's Sensor Automatic Target Recognition Technology Division, for contributions leading to the successful deployment of new sensor and sensor exploitation technologies in numerous weapons systems.

Gates also presented Umit A. Spencer the David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration Award. Spencer, housing maintenance contract monitor with the 354th Civil Engineering Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, was honored for excellence in improving and maintaining 1,474 military family housing units, 48 playgrounds and five athletic courts.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Army Secretary Announces 2009 Will Be 'Year of NCO'

By C. Todd Lopez

Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2008 - The Army will recognize the value of its enlisted leaders at all levels of command as it observes "The Year of the Noncommissioned Officer" in 2009, Army Secretary Pete Geren said today. Geren made the announcement during his keynote address at the opening of the 2008 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition here.

"At the front of every Army mission in the United States or overseas, you'll find a noncommissioned officer," he said. "They know their mission, they know their equipment, but most importantly, they know their soldiers."

The secretary said that during the year, the Army will develop new initiatives that enhance the training, education, capability and use of the NCO corps, showcase the NCO story to the Army and the American people, and honor the sacrifices and celebrate contributions of the NCO corps, past and present.

"Today's NCO operates autonomously, and always with confidence and competence," he said. "Our NCOs are empowered and trusted like no other NCO in the world, and most advanced armies in the world today are going to school on our model."

Geren noted he came to the Pentagon late in the summer of 2001, and that he was in the building during the Sept. 11 attack.

"And for seven years, I've watched soldiers go off to war, and watched their families stand with them," he said. "I've been inspired by the service of our soldiers, and humbled by the sacrifice of their families -- spouses and kids, moms and dads. And it's the privilege of a lifetime to work with and for soldiers and Army families."

The Army's first priority, Geren said, are the loved ones in harms way.

"They are front of mind 24 hours a day, and we're committed to meeting with urgency the ever-changing, life-and-death needs and demands of our soldiers in Afghanistan and in Iraq," Geren said. "And not just meet their needs and meet the evolving threats, but anticipate, and do everything we can to get ahead of the threat. And care for those who have borne the battle, and their loved ones. These are moral duties of the highest order for our nation and our Army."

The secretary also talked about an often unseen portion of the military -- those who deliver goods and services to the fighting force: the Army logisticians.

"We have 250,000 soldiers in 80 countries, and we've been at war for seven years, with 140,000 soldiers in theater today," he said. "Nobody ever asks, 'Who feeds those guys?'

"Our logisticians are victims of their own success," he continued. "Their work is so good it is invisible -- it's a given. Wherever our Army goes, whatever our soldiers need, whenever they need it, they get it -- the miracle of Army logistics."

Geren said the Army logistics community repairs more than 14,000 vehicles every year -- a number equal to the number of yellow cabs in New York City. They also move more than 700,000 personnel in and out of theater, equal to the entire population of Charlotte, N.C. And each day, he said, Army logisticians provide 750,000 meals in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. They also dispense enough fuel in the combat theater to fill up 750,000 cars -- nearly four times the number of vehicles registered in Washington, D.C.

"We talked much about the surge -- 15,000 more Soldiers in Iraq -- but nobody ever mentioned that Army logisticians would serve 45,000 more meals each day, and ship 120,000 more gallons of water each day," he said. During operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, 619 sustainment and support soldiers have given their lives, the secretary said.

Geren also pointed out the historic anniversaries the Army has celebrated in 2008, including the 25th anniversary of the Army Family Action Plan, the 30th anniversary of the disestablishment of the Women's Army Corps, and the 60th anniversary of the integration of the U.S. military.

"Sixty years ago, our Army did not stand as one," he said. "It was not a single band of brothers, rather, a collection of bands of brothers divided by race."

The policy then, he said, was that the Army was separate, but "hardly equal."

"[It was a] cruel irony of our nation sending soldiers to fight for freedom against the Germans -- yet affording privileges to white German prisoners of war held in the United States that were denied to the African-Americans soldiers who guarded them," the secretary said.

On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, declaring "there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin."

"With the stroke of a pen, President Truman launched the Army on the path to the color-blind institution we know today," Geren said. "The Army moved slowly and stubbornly at first, but now stands as the model for equal opportunity in our nation. Today, we have an Army where the only colors that matter are red, white, and blue."

Geren also took time to reiterate another priority of the Army -- the elimination of sexual assault within the ranks.

"The brothers and sisters of our Army must be able to count on each other, wherever they are, in the battlefield or in the barracks, and whenever, on duty or off, no matter the cost," he said. "We will create a climate of zero tolerance for gender-based misconduct -- in attitude, word, and deed, and become fully, as our values demand, a band of brothers and sisters."

(C. Todd Lopez works at the Soldiers Media Center.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mullen Visits Sergeants Major Academy, Praises Senior Enlisted Contributions

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden

American Forces Press Service

Sept. 18, 2008 - A military's most valuable resources are its people and the experienced leaders who mentor and train them, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told senior noncommissioned officers here today during a visit to the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. "You are serving in an extraordinary time in our country's history," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said. "Right now [the military has] the best soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines we've ever had, and it's that way, in great part, because of your service."

Mullen spoke to a group of nearly 700 of the U.S. military's top enlisted troops, congratulating them for being selected to attend the academy and thanking them for their service. He commended them for the leadership and the knowledge they represent.

Because of the high tempo of today's military, Mullen said it's important for the more-seasoned troops to focus on leadership, mentoring and sharing their experiences with new and junior recruits. Although the individual servicemember is the military's number one asset, the chairman said they're no good without strong leadership.

The admiral also praised the families for their support. The pace of deployment rotations may be hard on the spouses and children, he said, but their positive support allows the troops to focus on their mission.

"We have the most combat-hardened, most capable, fastest changing military that I've ever seen," he said, "and we could not do that without the support of our family."

In fact, Mullen gives military families much credit for the past year's success in Iraq. Violence there is at its lowest levels in nearly five years. Iraqi forces have grown more competent and self-sufficient, and some U.S. units have already redeployed without replacements.

"Family support has never been better," he said. "We've been unbelievably successful in Iraq. The change from a year ago is absolutely spectacular. [Success in Iraq] is still reversible, and it's still fragile, but the families made that possible."

Mullen concluded his visit with the academy by reiterating the importance of leadership in today's force and senior leaders to pass on their experiences to troops as they progress through the ranks.

"leadership is the most important part of your job as senior non-commissioned officers," he said. "You are a key group for our future, and our future rests on your shoulders."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Odierno Assumes Command of Coalition Forces in Iraq

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

Sept. 16, 2008 - Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno assumed command of Multinational Force Iraq from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus during a ceremony at al Faw Palace here today. The change of command occurs after incredible progress in the country, said Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who traveled to Baghdad to participate in the ceremony.

"When General Petraeus took charge 19 months ago, darkness had descended on this land," the secretary said. "Merchants of chaos were gaining strength. Death was commonplace. Around the world, questions mounted about whether a new strategy – or any strategy, for that matter – could make a real difference."

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that a national intelligence estimate in January 2007 doubted whether Iraq could reconcile over 18 months.

"Here we are, 18 months later, and Iraq is a vastly different place," Mullen said during the ceremony. "Attacks are at their lowest point in four years, 11 of 18 provinces have been turned over – including the once-written-off Anbar province – to Iraqi security forces, who are increasingly capable and taking more of a lead in operations."

The Iraqi government is providing for its people, the legislature is passing laws and the courts are enforcing justice, the chairman said. "In more places and on more faces we are seeing hope; we see progress," the admiral said.

Mullen said he looks forward to working with Petraeus as the general takes over the reins of U.S. Central Command next month.

Petraeus put all the credit for the progress in Iraq at the feet of "the men and women of the coalition and with the many courageous diplomats and Iraqis with whom we have served."

Petraeus thanked the Iraqi civilian and military leaders for their leadership. "You have risked everything to help your country make the most of the opportunity that our forces and yours have fought so hard to provide," he said.

The Iraqi people also have made the strategy work, standing with the new Iraq against extremism, Petraeus said.

"You've endured tragic losses and countless hardships, but you've begun the process of repairing the fabric of a society ripped apart by the horrific sectarian violence of 2006 and into 2007," he said. "There will always be a place in my heart for the 'Land of the Two Rivers' and the people of Iraq."

Petraeus noted that when he took command he told coalition servicemembers that the situation in Iraq was "hard, but not hopeless." The coalition and Iraqi partners stemmed the tide of violence and helped Iraq step back from civil war, Petraeus said.

"Al-Qaida in Iraq, though still lethal and dangerous, is on the run and reduced in capability," the general said, "and militia activity – while still a threat as well – has been reduced dramatically."

Coalition troops adopted the counterinsurgency strategy wholeheartedly, and they played unconventional roles to bring about change in the land, Petraeus said. "You have, in short, been builders as well as guardians, statesmen as well as warriors," he said.

Odierno, who is beginning his third tour in Iraq, served under Petraeus as commander of Multinational Corps Iraq. Gates said the pair formed "an incredible team" in putting the troop surge and the new counterinsurgency strategy to work, and that Odierno "knows that we are at a pivotal moment where progress remains fragile and caution should be the order of the day."

"And as we proceed further into the endgame here," Gates continued, "I am sure he will make tough, but necessary, decisions to protect our national interest."

Petraeus will take command of U.S. Central Command in late October.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gates Presents Awards to U.S. Leaders in Iraq

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

Sept. 15, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today recognized Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker, a military-and-civilian team the secretary said has transformed Iraq. Before a dinner in their honor today, Gates presented Petraeus with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and presented Crocker with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service – the department's highest civilian award.

Gates said he has never seen a better military-civilian team in his 42 years of government service.

"Under their leadership, Iraq has been utterly transformed," the secretary said. "Their individual leadership and accomplishments are stunning, and also self-evident."

Petraeus turns over command of Multinational Force Iraq to Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno tomorrow. The general took over command in Baghdad in February 2007, when the country seemed to be on the brink of civil war. Coalition servicemembers were taking high casualties, and the Iraqi people were under attack from al-Qaida in Iraq, criminal groups and Iranian-backed illegal militias.

He leaves to take over U.S. Central Command with the level of violence in the country reduced by 80 percent.

"It is safe to say we have not seen an American military and civilian capability combined this effectively since post-war Germany," Gates said. "Our nation has the remarkable ability to put forward the right people at the right time in fateful situations -- to find leaders who are able to do what many consider impossible. You two are such men."

The award for Crocker stated that his efforts allowed "the joint and combined diplomatic effort to re-energize the Iraqi political process, revitalize the Iraqi economy, improve national security and engage regional nations diplomatically."

Crocker worked closely with military leaders to formulate near- and long-term campaign strategy in Iraq.

The award took Crocker by surprise. He thanked Gates for the honor and said of his 18 months in Iraq that "there is no one I would have rather gone through it with than Dave Petraeus, and there is literally no one who could have done better than Dave Petraeus."

The ambassador said the achievements in Iraq are the result not of his efforts, but those of the people he led at the embassy and the servicemembers who did the tough work.

"Above all, they have been the achievements of the Iraqis themselves," he said. "When given the chance, they took it, moved forward, paid a huge price and helped create and then consolidate the security gains we now see."

Petraeus thanked Gates for his efforts in Washington on behalf of those serving in Iraq. Petraeus said Gates made tough calls in a timely manner, such as the 15-month deployment for Army personnel deployed in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, generating more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and pushing through production of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.

"These were critical ingredients in enabling what our troopers and Iraqi partners have been able to do here," Petraeus said.

Petraeus called Crocker "America's finest Arabist, and the greatest diplomat of his generation."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

America Supports You: Women Officers Get Leadership Development Opportunities

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 9, 2008 - Women who choose to serve their country as
military officers should be fully prepared to do so, and an organization has been working to fulfill that goal since 2003. "We stand behind this belief by providing programs that support and enable women to reach their full potential as leaders," said Susan Feland, president and founder of AcademyWomen. "Each year AcademyWomen hosts a leadership symposium to provide current, former and future women military officers the opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues and grow professionally."

Speakers from the
military and the public and private sectors offer their support, personal advice and motivation to the members through keynote addresses and panel discussions.

A career coaching and professional development workshop will preface this year's annual symposium, which is slated for October. These programs provide development opportunities, resources and a chance for discussion that will assist attendees in all stages of their careers, Feland said.

"In the future, AcademyWomen will host podcasts [and] tele-seminar series, which will provide insight into specific career paths, and share stories of success in a particular field," she said.

The group is moving forward swiftly on other technologies to help
women military officers develop leadership skills. It's developing an "eMentor" leadership program, and already publishes a quarterly online newsletter.

"Each edition focuses on topics of importance to our members and highlights the accomplishments of
military women officers and veterans," Feland said.

AcademyWomen also supports, and plans to conduct, research focusing on the professional development of women officers in the
military, their transition to civilian careers, and which professions they choose subsequent to their military service.

The organization is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

Face of Defense: Soldier Credits Success to Father's Inspiration

By Army Sgt. Jody Metzger

Special to American Forces Press Service

Sept. 8, 2008 - "Well boys, should we fix the table or make skis out of it?" the father asked, glancing from the broken wooden table to his two young sons. He had chosen to teach a lesson to his children instead of reprimanding them for breaking the table.

Army Maj. Lance Hamilton, who serves here with the 4th Infantry Division, smiles with fondness when remembering moments like this that remind him of the happiness he shared with his father, Stan Hamilton.

Growing up in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the Hamilton brothers batted, swam, ran and tackled their way through their younger years. Thanks to their civil rights activist father, they remained steadfast and loyal to academics. Stan's philosophy for his sons was that if you didn't get A's, you didn't participate in sports.

Hearing that ultimatum as a boy motivated Hamilton to pursue scholastic endeavors for the reward of being able to play sports. As gifted athletes, Hamilton and his brother, Harry, were excellent football players, playing all the way through high school. Harry earned an athletic scholarship to Penn State University; Hamilton wasn't far behind.

After graduating from Penn State, Lance Hamilton went on to study law at Yale University. He serves here as the 4th Infantry Division's deputy staff judge advocate. Looking across his desk nestled within the main headquarters of the 4th Infantry Division and Multinational Division Baghdad, he said he knows his hard work and his father's deep-seated faith have paid off.

Hamilton said he had not set out to join the Army. In fact, after graduating from Yale with a law degree, his dream, like many other young lawyers, was to work for a big law firm. In 1991, shortly after graduation, Hamilton began his clerkship with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Petersburg, Fla. Following the clerkship, he went to work for a law firm.

Then, in 1996, a restless Hamilton got a phone call from his brother, Harry, who surprised him with the news that he had just enlisted into the Army's elite Staff Judge Advocate Corps. Idolizing his brother, Lance set out in his brother's footsteps for a second time in his life and joined the Army.

Looking back on his decision to leave civilian law, he emphasized that he couldn't have made a better choice.

"I had a renewed sense of vigor when I left the private sector and felt like I was serving the greater good again," he said. It's been like living in his father's household again, he noted, "always helping and serving and doing for others."

"And finally being able to do it has felt for me like being put into an elite class," he added.

Serving in the Ivy Division family, Hamilton said, he's found it easy to relate to concepts the division commander, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey W. Hammond, espouses. They're influenced by lessons learned on the football field, a background they share and take great joy in remembering.

Just as his athletic background taught him to succeed as part of a team on the field, those influences have also lent themselves to the staff judge advocate office, Hamilton said.

"Every time I'm in charge of anything or keeping an office of valuable people, I have always taken it back to my athletic roots as far as building a team [is concerned], because if you have a cohesive team working together, then it is much easier to accomplish your mission," he said.

Hamilton said he is captivated by the strong leadership style he sees within the 4th Infantry Division. He noted that Hammond's influence on the division mirrors his own ambition of success and teamwork.

"That is where we get motivation in the office – having good leadership, which always helps," he said. "It's easy for me, because SJA is great. The chain of command, all the way up to the [commanding general], is really oriented about the team concept and taking care of one another."

Army Capt. Liz Waits, an attorney in the staff judge advocate office here, said Hamilton encourages everyone in the office to maintain a balance of work and play.

"He has a great attention to detail," she said. "On one side, he really pushes us to meet a high standard, and on the other, gets us out and playing flag football."

If athletics shaped Hamilton into a success, it was his father's belief in helping others that separate him from the rest, the major said. His father's community service and sense of justice while single-handedly raising his two sons and their young cousin were remarkable, Hamilton said. "My dad always reminded us: 'I don't care how many yards you ran or how many tackles you've done, if you don't think about your fellow man and do something for those less fortunate, than you are nothing in my eyes,'" Hamilton said. "He was always looking for what you are doing for the greater good for society, for your country."

Stan Hamilton -- father, military veteran and civil rights activist -- gave more than he took. His teachings to his sons came from the back-breaking idealism of a street minister whose goal was to help others less fortunate.

"It is all I remember him doing," Hamilton said. "He was running street programs for various churches throughout the community, looking to help those who have fallen through the cracks of society."

The ministry his father spearheaded was dedicated to helping people whom the social services had forgotten or overlooked. Social services, for as much as they helped the community, could not help everyone, Hamilton explained. As a result, the ministry was dedicated to helping those who were left behind.

"My father would do it in a fashion that went beyond what the social services could do for the people. There are a lot of people who didn't qualify for the services. There were always those that wouldn't fit somewhere in the middle, those that have children and are working but not making the cut, and they fall through the cracks. "

The freely smiling Hamilton has won many trophies in his life. Yet, "being the son of an incredible man" is his most treasured reward, he said.

"One day I hope to be half the man he was, and if I am half the man he is, than that would be an accomplishment," he said. "If my sons would feel half as much about me as I feel about my dad, I would leave this place a happy man."

(Army Sgt. Jody Metzger serves in the Multinational Division Baghdad Public Affairs Office.)