US Marine Corps Gazette: Schulze Memorial Essay
Every year the United States Marine Corps commissions an essay that challenges the Marines to perform better in the future. Past MajGen Richard C. Schulz Memorial Essayists include Jim Webb, later US Senator, and Gen. Bernard Trainor, later chief military correspondent for the NY Times.
Helio Fred Garcia was invited to be the 2013 Schulze essayist. The essay was published in December, 2013 in the professional journal of the US Marine Corps, the Marine Corps Gazette.
Marine Corps Gazette Dec 13
The essay is an adaptation of The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively. The essay, Communication: The Continuation of Policy By Yet Other Means, challenges Marines to see their work as winning hearts and minds as well as battles. It looks back at the opening moments of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and notes that Marines got the story strategically wrong. It notes:
“The new battlefield is one where every action is potentially immediately public. In the battle to win the support of those who matter, both at home and in the theater of operations, Marines—from four- stars to privates fresh off of Parris Island—will have greater power than ever before, and they need to harness that power effectively. A corporal draping a flag on a statue, a handful of Marines urinating on the bodies of enemy dead, or U.S. servicemembers burning Qur’ans communicate far more loudly than any words, and they send exactly the wrong message.”
And it calls on Marines up and down the chain of command to take communication as seriously as other elements of their profession:
“So the burden on commanders is high: They need to be excellent communicators in their own right, and they also need to create environments in which their Marines understand how everything they say and do—and everything they don’t say and don’t do—creates an impression that can affect the reputation of the Corps and the national security interests of the United States.”