Adm. Stavridis: Think, Read, Write and Publish

June 17, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

Adm. James G. StavridisAdm. James G. Stavridis, USN, commander, U.S. Southern Command, stepped away from the traditional IT conference speech after lunch today by talking about the need for everyone to think, read, write and publish. While it may be necessary during the 21st century to launch Tomahawk missiles, Adm. Stavridis proposed that it will be just as important for members of the military to launch some ideas.

Citing a number of military and government leaders who started their careers by being published in specialized journals such as Proceedings, Adm. Stavridis encouraged everyone in the audience to follow their lead. He also pointed out that many of those who created concepts such as maritime strategy made it a point to read, write and be published.

The admiral offered both advice and insights about writing for professional journals. He advised getting started by reading-fiction or nonfiction, it doesn't matter.

Writers should not get hung up on trying to write the perfect article; instead they should write material and have friends review it and then make adjustments based on their input. "Articles will sometimes be like Bambi-writers send them out only to take some hits," he noted.

Adm. Stavridis pointed out that publishing no longer has to be done on paper. "Get out there in the blogs. I'll see you in the blogosphere," he stated. He also emphasized that writing doesn't have to be long articles. Anyone can start by writing a short response in a blog. "Start small and think big."

Don't wait for that brilliant inspiration; be in this conversation, he advised.

Listen to his complete lunch address here (mp3 link):

Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN, at the Joint Warfighting Conference 2008

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Bob Gourley of CTO Vision has posted his reaction to Stavridis's comments here.

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