New to the Defense Community

Entering the defense community can be challenging, specifically without any prior military experience. The greatest challenge to the civilian is the military “lingo” used in almost every conversation.

In my case, I entered the defense acquisition arena with military lingo on steroids. In order to better understand this line of business, I had to implement three powerful strategies taken from the Principles of War. Objective, Offensive and Mass are the three (out of eleven) principles that I chose for my strategy.

Objective – “Direct all efforts to a clearly defined, decisive, and obtainable goal.”

            My goal is to obtain the knowledge and network that is necessary to operate proficiently in the defense acquisition community. I need to admit, I did not set my goal in the beginning and this brought about confusion as to what was what. An objective needs to bring clarity and set a path of growth.

Offensive – “Seize the initiative in a decisive manner.”

            The offensive takes the objective and puts it to work. My offensive is scheduled as site visits of manufacturers, I attend a weekly Friday breakfast with experienced defense workers, and trade shows such the annual Michigan Defense Exposition. Another approach is to take online courses like DAU. The offensive should be action taken to achieve your goal.

Mass – “Concentrate your combat power at a time when it matters most.”

            This is where it can be tricky. You use mass when on the offensive and while defending the objective. Listen intentionally when an experienced veteran is speaking. Read military and business articles and take notes. I must use my concentration as my mass during any offensive. Perhaps the greatest mass is to ask questions. This provides clarity for the big picture objective.

            I hope this is an encouragement to anyone who is jumping into the defense world with no prior experience. I have to use these principles every day if I am to become useful to my company and to others. To get past the confusion, set your objective, and conquer the world.