Training Day

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For many officers in Iraq — following orders, going by the book, really hasn’t been an option. There simply isn’t a book for the kind of challenges they face. There is no manual on how to spot insurgents during civil repair work, or how to navigate messy ethnic and tribal politics.

So instead of waiting for the higher ups to catch up with realities on the ground, a group of West Point commanders devised a way to help troop leaders learn from each other.

They started a website which became a virtual front porch where platoon commanders and junior officers could swap advice and anecdotes. Now a third of all army captains are part of the site and it is even getting praise from the brass as a learning tool. But what about army discipline?


Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Wong, research professor of military strategy at the Army War College

Major Peter Kilner, start-up team member of the website

Dan Baum, New Yorker writer and author of the article “Battle Lessons: What the Generals Don’t Know.”