LOA’s 2023 WISE Reading List
This year at LOA2023, the Logistics Officer Association introduced the WISE model in recognition of how logisticians must think as warfighters, innovators, sustainers, and educators. Building on this concept, the Logistics Officer Association University is pleased to release an updated reading list that supports each of these important parts of our profession. As always, we encourage our members and chapters to read these books, share their experiences, and contribute to their teams and to our community at large through forums like the Exceptional Release. Happy reading, LOGNATION!
Over the Hump
by General William Tunner
This book is a classic in the annals of air power history. William Tunner was a master of airlift operations at a time when the airplane itself was transitioning from the pre-modern into the modern era. His work encompassed airlift operations form the era of the Douglas C-47 and C-54, both of which launched major technological revolutions that dramatically affected subsequent aviation, through the gestation stage of the modern jet airlifter. Today, the C-17 Globemaster III airlifters that respond to America’s needs for prompt and decisive airlift to the crisis points around the globe fly in the wake of the airman of the Military Air Transport Service and its predecessors that met the challenges of the Second World War and defeated Soviet intransigence during the Berlin blockade of 1948-1949. That history offers both lessons and confidence to decision-makers and, in particular, to the men and women of the United States Air Force today as they project power, influence, and presence around the globe.
2034: A Novel of the Next World War
by Elliot Ackerman and Admiral James Stavridis
On March 12, 2034, US Navy Commodore Sarah Hunt is on the bridge of her flagship, the guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones, conducting a routine freedom of navigation patrol in the South China Sea when her ship detects an unflagged trawler in clear distress, smoke billowing from its bridge. On that same day, US Marine aviator Major Chris “Wedge” Mitchell is flying an F35E Lightning over the Strait of Hormuz, testing a new stealth technology as he flirts with Iranian airspace. By the end of that day, Wedge will be an Iranian prisoner, and Sarah Hunt’s destroyer will lie at the bottom of the sea, sunk by the Chinese Navy. Iran and China have clearly coordinated their moves, which involve the use of powerful new forms of cyber weaponry that render US ships and planes defenseless. In a single day, America’s faith in its military’s strategic pre-eminence is in tatters. A new, terrifying era is at hand. So begins a disturbingly plausible work of speculative fiction, co-authored by an award-winning novelist and decorated Marine veteran and the former commander of NATO, a legendary admiral who has spent much of his career strategically outmanoeuvering America’s most tenacious adversaries. Written with a powerful blend of geopolitical sophistication and human empathy, 2034 takes us inside the minds of a global cast of characters – Americans, Chinese, Iranians, Russians, Indians – as a series of arrogant miscalculations on all sides leads the world into an intensifying international storm. In the end, China and the United States will have paid a staggering cost, one that forever alters the global balance of power. Everything in 2034 is an imaginative extrapolation from present-day facts on the ground combined with the authors’ years working at the highest and most classified levels of national security. Sometimes it takes a brilliant work of fiction to illuminate the most dire of warnings: 2034 is all too close at hand, and this cautionary tale presents the reader a dark yet possible future that we must do all we can to avoid.
The Bomber Mafia
by Malcolm Gladwell
In The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War, Malcolm Gladwell, author of New York Times best sellers including Talking to Strangers and host of the podcast Revisionist History, uses original interviews, archival footage, and his trademark insight to weave together the stories of a Dutch genius and his homemade computer, a band of brothers in Central Alabama, a British psychopath, and pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard. As listeners hear these stories unfurl, Gladwell examines one of the greatest moral challenges in modern American history.
Most military thinkers in the years leading up to World War II saw the airplane as an afterthought. But a small band of idealistic strategists had a different view. This “Bomber Mafia” asked: What if precision bombing could, just by taking out critical choke points – industrial or transportation hubs – cripple the enemy and make war far less lethal?
In Revisionist History, Gladwell reexamines moments from the past and asks whether we got it right the first time. In The Bomber Mafia, he employs all the production techniques that make Revisionist History so engaging, stepping back from the bombing of Tokyo, the deadliest night of the war, and asking, “Was it worth it?” The attack was the brainchild of General Curtis LeMay, whose brutal pragmatism and scorched-earth tactics in Japan cost thousands of civilian lives but may have spared more by averting a planned US invasion.
Things might have gone differently had LeMay’s predecessor, General Haywood Hansell, remained in charge. As a key member of the Bomber Mafia, Hansell’s theories of precision bombing had been foiled by bad weather and human error. When he and Curtis LeMay squared off for a leadership handover in the jungles of Guam, LeMay emerged victorious, leading to the darkest night of World War II.
The Bomber Mafia is a riveting tale of persistence, innovation, and the incalculable wages of war.
Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War
by P.W. Singer and August Cole
Ghost Fleet is a page-turning imagining of a war set in the not-too-distant future. Navy captains battle through a modern-day Pearl Harbor; fighter pilots duel with stealthy drones; teenage hackers fight in digital playgrounds; Silicon Valley billionaires mobilize for cyber-war; and a serial killer carries out her own vendetta. Ultimately, victory will depend on who can best blend the lessons of the past with the weapons of the future. But what makes the story even more notable is that every trend and technology in book—no matter how sci-fi it may seem—is real.
The Devil’s Hand: A Thriller
by Jack Carr
It’s been twenty years since 9/11, two decades since the United States was attacked on home soil and set out to make the guilty pay with their lives. In the shadows, the enemy has been patient—learning, and adapting. And the enemy is ready to strike again.
A new president offers hope to a country weary of conflict. He’s a young, popular, self-made visionary…but he’s also a man with a secret.
Halfway across the globe a regional superpower struggles with sanctions imposed by the United States and her European allies, a country whose ancient religion spawned a group of ruthless assassins. Faced with internal dissent and extrajudicial targeted killings by the United States and Israel, the Supreme Leader puts a plan in motion to defeat the most powerful nation on earth.
Meanwhile, a young PhD student has gained access to a bioweapon thought to be confined to a classified military laboratory known only to a select number of officials. A second-generation agent, he has been assigned a mission that will bring his adopted homeland to its knees.
With Jack Carr’s signature “absolutely intense” (Chuck Norris) writing and “gripping authenticity” (The Real Book Spy), The Devil’s Hand is a riveting and timely thriller that will leave you gasping for breath.
The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare
by Christian Brose
For generations of Americans, our country has been the world’s dominant military power. How the US military fights, and the systems and weapons that it fights with, have been uncontested. That old reality, however, is rapidly deteriorating. America’s traditional sources of power are eroding amid the emergence of new technologies and the growing military threat posed by rivals such as China. America is at grave risk of losing a future war.
As Christian Brose reveals in this urgent wake-up call, the future will be defined by artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and other emerging technologies that are revolutionizing global industries and are now poised to overturn the model of American defense. This fascinating, if disturbing, book confronts the existential risks on the horizon, charting a way for America’s military to adapt and succeed with new thinking as well as new technology. America must build a battle network of systems that enables people to rapidly understand threats, make decisions, and take military actions, the process known as “the kill chain.” Examining threats from China, Russia, and elsewhere, The Kill Chain offers hope and, ultimately, insights on how America can apply advanced technologies to prevent war, deter aggression, and maintain peace.
Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success
by John C. Maxwell
Are some people born to achieve anything they want while others struggle? What is the real reason for their success? John C. Maxwell has the answer: The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.
Most people are never prepared to deal with failure. Bestselling author John C. Maxwell says that if you are like him, you feared it, misunderstood it, and ran away from it. However, he has learned to make failure his friend, and he can teach you to do the same.
Maxwell takes a closer look at failure and reveals that the secret of moving beyond failure is to use it as a lesson and a stepping-stone.
The New Rules of War: How America Can Win–Against Russia, China, and Other Threats
by Sean McFate
Some of the principles of warfare are ancient, others are new, but all described in The New Rules of War will permanently shape war now and in the future. By following them Sean McFate argues, we can prevail. But if we do not, terrorists, rogue states, and others who do not fight conventionally will succeed—and rule the world.
The New Rules of War is an urgent, fascinating exploration of war—past, present and future—and what we must do if we want to win today from an 82nd Airborne veteran, former private military contractor, and professor of war studies at the National Defense University.
Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed
by Ben Rich and Leo Janos
From the development of the U-2 to the Stealth fighter, Skunk Works is the true story of America’s most secret and successful aerospace operation. As recounted by Ben Rich, the operation’s brilliant boss for nearly two decades, the chronicle of Lockheed’s legendary Skunk Works is a drama of Cold War confrontations and Gulf War air combat, of extraordinary feats of engineering and human achievement against fantastic odds. Here are up-close portraits of the maverick band of scientists and engineers who made the Skunk Works so renowned. Filled with telling personal anecdotes and high adventure, with narratives from the CIA and from Air Force pilots who flew the many classified, risky missions, this book is a riveting portrait of the most spectacular aviation triumphs of the twentieth century.
Supplying War: Logistics from Wallstein to Patton
by Martin van Creveld
Drawing on a very wide range of unpublished and previously unexploited sources, Martin van Creveld examines the “nuts and bolts” of war. He considers the formidable problems of movement and supply, transportation and administration, often mentioned (but rarely explored) by the vast majority of books on military history. By concentrating on logistics rather than on the more traditional tactics and strategy, van Creveld is also able to offer an original reinterpretation of military history.
Feeding Victory: Innovative Military Logistics from Lake George to Khe Sanh
by Jobie Turner
An army, Lewis Mumford once observed, “is a body of pure consumers”—and it is logistics that feeds this body’s insatiable appetite for men and materiel. Successful logistics—the transportation of supplies and combatants to battle—cannot guarantee victory, but poor logistics portends defeat. In Feeding Victory, Jobie Turner asks how technical innovation has affected this connection over time and whether advances in technology, from the railroad and the airplane to the nuclear weapon and the computer, have altered both the critical relationship between logistics and warfare and, ultimately, geopolitical dynamics.
Covering a span of three hundred years, Feeding Victory focuses on five distinct periods of technological change, from the preindustrial era to the information age. For each era Turner presents a case study: the campaign for Lake George from 1755 to 1759, the Western Front in 1917, the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942, the Battle of Stalingrad from 1942 to 1943, and the Battle of Khe Sanh in 1968. In each of these cases the logistics of the belligerents were at their limit because of geography or the vast material needs of war. With such limits, the case studies both give a clear accounting of the logistics of the period, particularly with respect to the mode of transportation—whether air, land, or sea—and reveal the inflection points between success and failure.
What are the continuities between eras, Turner asks, and what can these campaigns tell us about the relationship of technology to logistics and logistics to geopolitics? In doing so, Turner discovers just how critical the biological needs of the soldiers on the battlefield prove to be; in fact, they overwhelm firepower in their importance, even in the modern era. His work shows how logistics aptly represents technological shifts from the enlightenment to the dawn of the twenty-first century and how, in our time, ideas have come to trump the material forces of war.
The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
by Peter Drucker
For decades, Peter F. Drucker was widely regarded as “the dean of this country’s business and management philosophers” (Wall Street Journal). In this concise and brilliant work, he looks to the most influential position in management—the executive.
The measure of the executive, Drucker reminds us, is the ability to “get the right things done.” This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.
Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes
by Margaret Heffernan
By implementing sweeping changes, businesses often think it’s possible to do better, to earn more, and have happier employees. So why does engagement prove so difficult and productivity so elusive?
In Beyond Measure, Margaret Heffernan looks back over her decades spent overseeing different organizations and comes to a counterintuitive conclusion: it’s the small shifts that have the greatest impact. Heffernan argues that building the strongest organization can be accelerated by implementing seemingly small changes, such as embracing conflict as a creative catalyst; using every mind on the team; celebrating mistakes; speaking up and listening more; and encouraging time off from work.
Tribe: On Homecoming & Belonging
by Sebastien Junger
We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding–“tribes.” This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.
Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing over to the Indians-but Indians almost never did the same. Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. The most recent example of that attraction is combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of platoon life. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may explain the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today.
Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, Tribe explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Tribe explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today’s divided world.
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
by David Epstein
Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.
I Hate the Ivy League: Riffs and Rants on Elite Education
by Malcolm Gladwell
Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know
by Adam Grant
Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success
by Matthew Syed
In the vein of the international bestselling Freakonomics, award-winning journalist Matthew Syed reveals the hidden clues to success—in sports, business, school, and just about anything else that you’d want to be great at. Fans of Predictably Irrational and Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point will find many interesting and helpful insights in Bounce.
If you have a suggestion for the 2024 reading list, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. The 2024 reading list will be released following the next symposium.
Download the complete reading list here.