Franz-Stefan Gady

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A culture war is brewing within Ukraine’s armed forces. It is being waged between top-down Soviet military thinking on the one hand, and bottom-up Western military culture on the other. This intellectual tussle is hindering Ukraine’s adaptation and learning. It is also hurting Ukraine’s performance in the war against Russia. This is one of my main lessons from a recent research trip to Kyiv and the frontlines of eastern Ukraine, which I conducted alongside some of the leading Western military experts on Russia.

This culture war is largely about leadership. Some army officers have embraced the Western philosophy of “mission command,” which grants commanders on the spot, regardless of rank, the freedom to execute their missions according to their own best judgment.…  Seguir leyendo »

In my life I have participated in several military parades, but one stands out. As an officer candidate in the Austrian Army, I marched in step to the tune of the “Radetzky March” past a crowd — my Uncle Winfried and Aunt Waltraud among them — down an alley leading to Eggenberg Palace, in Graz.

It was late fall, chilly and dark. Half the members of my company carried torches, which cast eerie shadows on the Baroque exterior of the castle.

As we marched by, crowds spontaneously clapped, some shouting, “Bravo, super Burschen!” (Well done, fine boys!) The shrill bark of red-faced sergeants and long days of monotonous drill were for a brief moment forgotten.…  Seguir leyendo »