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November 06, 2023

“The key trait is self-reflection” says Col. Andy Milburn

Top Tip Details

Andy Milburn is a retired Marine Special Operations and Infantry officer – now keeping occupied as a military consultant, author, and student of modern war.

Milburn was born in Hong Kong and grew up in the United Kingdom where he attended St Paul’s School, University College London.

After university he enlisted in the US Marine Corps as a private. He was subsequently commissioned from the ranks, and as a Marine infantry and special operations officer, has commanded in combat at every grade. As the commanding officer of the Marine Corps’ special operations regiment, he was selected to lead a multinational task force given the mission of defeating ISIS in Iraq.

He transitioned in 2019 as the chief of staff of Special Operations Command Central, the headquarters responsible for the conduct of all US special operations throughout the Middle East. Since retiring, he has written a critically acclaimed memoir When the Tempest Gathers, and a number of articles for national publications. He is on the adjunct faculty of the Joint Special Operations University, and teaches classes on leadership and ethics to mid-grade and senior officers at US, British and Canadian military schools. He also teaches courses overseas to officers from countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He participates regularly in debates and forums concerning ethics, modern warfare and leadership.

Most recently he was the CEO of the Mozart Group, a crowd sourced, donor funded private military organization operating in Ukraine. The Mozart Group’s mission was to provide front line training for Ukrainian soldiers and to evacuate civilians from areas under Russian bombardment.

His Top Tip:
Self-reflection is key to good leadership. That means taking a moment, regularly, to assess yourself – your motives, your actions, and their effect — to view your decisions from the perspective of those who must execute them. You need to make this a habit, without succumbing to paralysis. I tell newly commissioned officers that good leadership is a lifelong journey – and all of us, from the newly minted second lieutenant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs – are perennial students. If you don’t have that mindset, then you can’t grow as a leader, and will ultimately fail.

He tweets at @andymilburn8. LinkedIn:

Articles Here

Substack Articles Here (Ukraine)

Interviews and Podcasts:

Combat Story

The Team House

Crisis What Crisis

BBC Witness History

The Team House: Military Culture and Leadership

Podcasts that I have hosted for the Modern War Institute (Irregular Warfare Podcast):

An UnAmerican Way of War: Why the US Fails at Irregular Warfare

American Decline — Losing the Campaign For Influence

The Harsh Lessons Of Anbar

Armed Overwatch: Air Power in Irregular Warfare

Competing for Influence: Operations in the Information Environment

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