Tom Ricks, Task & Purpose

Tom Ricks

Task & Purpose

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  • Task & Purpose
  • Business Insider
  • Foreign Policy

Past articles by Tom:

The Brits found the wreck of a Continental Navy warship. Now they're plotting their revenge

The remains of John Paul Jones' ship, the Bonhomme Richard, have been found just off the British coast, and are supposedly visible from a cliff and walkable at certain tides → Read More

3 Tips On How To Make It Through A Serious History Book

A friend mentioned that he found my approach to reading history so unusual that I thought I might write about it, briefly. When I first pick up a book, I ignore the words on the jacket flap. Those are usually the product of an overworked 23-year-old publication assistant. They are written up and se... → Read More

The Real Key To Good Leadership: Put Down Your Narrative And Step Away Slowly

I am skeptical of a lot of the recommendations I read on leadership, which often strikes me as pyramids of buzzwords, but I liked this article by a former British submariner who went on to do a PhD in leadership. → Read More

The Qualities The British Army Look For In Officers Assigned To Advise Foreign Militaries

The British Army has an interesting take on what makes a good advisor to foreign forces → Read More

It's Time For 'The Long March' To Come To A End

Here's a letter I sent last week to the fine people who run Task & Purpose. We'll be wrapping things up over the next week or so → Read More

Marine Commandant Gen Neller Shows The Right Way To Respond To Criticism From Within

The lead letter in the January issue of the Marine Corps Gazette is a salute from Commandant Gen. Robert Neller thanking the magazine for the articles → Read More

Jim Webb As Trump’s Defense Secretary Would Be A Nightmare For Both

A report indicated that former Senator Jim Webb, a decorated Vietnam veteran who briefly was Navy secretary during the Reagan Administration, might become President Trump's next secretary of defense. → Read More

Why The Infantry Company Is No Larger Than 150, According To A British Soldier

150 is about as large a group of people as the human brain can handle in personal relationships, notes a British military commentator → Read More

Ricks: All I Want For Christmas Is A New SecDef

It was probably inevitable after his former subordinate John Kelly was said to be leaving his post as White House chief of staff. → Read More

American History Can Be A Pain To Absorb. This Historian's Work Is Anything But

As I was putting down that Washington book, I thought about what I appreciate so much about David Hackett Fischer. Four major reasons came to mind → Read More

The 7 Most Alarming Challenges Facing Today's Marine Corps, According To Its Own Officers

I’d missed several recent issues of the Marine Corps Gazette, so read them in a bunch when four recently arrived in the mail. When I did, I impressed by how willing the editors are to run tough criticism of today’s Marine Corps. Some examples: In the October issue, Maj. Stanley Bednar asks what the … Read More → Read More

What Does John Kelly’s Exit from The White House Mean For The Military?

New of retired Marine Gen. John Kelly‘s departure as White House chief of oozed out over the weekend like toxic slime → Read More

My Family Is At The Center Of My Life, And That’s Alright

"My purpose now, for lack of a better word, is my wife and I and our journey towards a distant retirement. I also am taking time for me" → Read More

An Insurgency Reading List From Max Brooks, Author Of 'World War Z'

I was reading a ist on books on insurgency from Max Brooks, author of 'World War Z,' and he makes an important distinction with his categories: → Read More

One Place to Find Post-Active Duty Meaning: In The Guard Or Reserves

"If you miss the military, haven’t gotten too fat, and don’t mind shaving your veteran beard once a month, check out your local reserve unit" → Read More

Why Did Tom Ricks Publish That Column Promoting Hazing And Ass-Chewing?

"I suspect that support for hazing is a lot more widespread in the military than people recognize, and I wanted to get a discussion of hazing on the table" → Read More

Mattis' Comments On The Passing Of President George H.W. Bush Are Pure Mattis

As I read this statement I thought, Boy, this is in Mattis’ own voice. In my experience, this is how he talks and thinks, especially one laden phrase → Read More

I’ve Got More Meaning Now Than I Did When I Was In The Army. Here’s How

"Arguably, this new mission provides me with as much, if not more, purpose and meaning than I had during my 22 years in the Army.” → Read More

An Ally Graded Trump’s Handling Of China — And The Report Card Is Rough

Kevin Rudd, the former Australian prime minister and an expert on China, reviews the U.S.-China relationship in a new article → Read More

Brit Bits: 6 Pieces Of Advice On Leadership From The UK Army

The rules that emerged from a recent meeting of British Army leaders struck me as somewhat different from what I hear coming from the Americans → Read More