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    From the CSO


    Reading has always been central to my professional development because thoughtful reading introduces diverse perspectives, new ideas, and novel frameworks.  Reading also builds habits of mind that strengthen our ability to think critically and abstractly.  Additionally, the novel ideas and plot twists we encounter improve our ability to act under uncertainty by making us more comfortable with ambiguity and surprise. All these traits help build strong communicators, effective problem solvers, and well-rounded leaders.

    I believe the benefits of reading are not confined to a single genre. Non-fiction introduces new ideas, frameworks, and perspectives; fiction strengthens creativity and empathy.  History allows us to learn from the experiences of others; following current events makes us informed citizens.  Studying a range of topics broadens our world view; investigating a specific topic in depth exposes nuance and conflicting opinions.  Philosophy develops critical reasoning skills; poetry helps us interpret emotion.  

    The one overarching insight I offer is that how you read is more important than what you read.  I encourage you to read frequently on a variety of topics told from a diverse collection of perspectives.  Don’t just passively absorb what you read; scrutinize, critique, and improve upon the ideas and arguments you encounter.  Share these ideas with others and engage in meaningful debate.

    With those comments in mind, below is a collection of works that have significantly impacted my professional development.  I’ll continue to share recommendations from my library in future C-notes, and I encourage you to do the same with your fellow Guardians. 

    • The Killer Angels (Michael Shaara)
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman)
    • A Short History of Nearly Everything (Bill Bryson)
    • Nineteen Stars: A Study in Military Character & Leadership (Edgar Puryear, Jr.)
    • Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes (Irving Janis)
    • Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (Graham Allison & Philip Zelikow)
    • Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon (Alan Shepard & Deke Slayton)
    • Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision Makers (Richard Neustadt & Ernest May)
    • Longitude (Dava Sobel)
    • The Age of Heretics (Art Kleiner)

    I challenge each of you to not just read as a personal pursuit but also bring others with you.  Take a moment and ask a peer what they’re reading.  Just like a good book, you never know where the conversation will go or what exciting ideas you may discover.

    Semper Supra!




    The Case for Change

    Department of the Air Force and Space Force senior leaders, Feb. 12, unveiled sweeping plans for reshaping, refocusing, and reoptimizing the Space Force and Air Force to ensure continued supremacy in those domains while also better posturing the services to deter and, if necessary, prevail in an era of Great Power Competition. The Space Force’s Case for Change can be read here.


    A Proposed Theory Of Success For The U.S. Space Force


    Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman published a White Paper titled Competitive Endurance: A Proposed Theory of Success for the U.S. Space Force in January 2024, detailing a system of assumptions, guiding principles, and logical conclusions that focus the service’s activities on a common operational perspective. This approach has three core tenets: avoiding operational surprise, denying first-mover advantage, and responsible counterspace campaigning. Saltzman emphasized that, like any theory, Competitive Endurance is meant to serve as a point of departure for analysis and critique. The White Paper is viewable here and should not serve as new doctrine or policy guidance.


    CSO Library Bookshelf

    19 Stars book cover image

    19 Stars: A Study in Military Character and Leadership

    The Age of Heretics book cover image

    The Age of Heretics: A history of the radical thinkers who reinvented corporate management

    Essence of Decision book cover image

    Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis

    GroupThink book cover image


    The Killer Angels book cover image

    The Killer Angels: A novel of the Civil War

    Longitude book cover image

    Longitude: The true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time

    Moon Shot book cover image

    Moon Shot: The inside story of America's Apollo moon landings

    Thoughts of Interesting Scientific Facts book cover image

    Thousands of interesting scientific facts I forgot seconds after closing the book

    Thinking Fast and Slow book cover image

    Thinking, Fast and Slow

    Thinking in Time book cover image

    Thinking in Time: The uses of history for decision makers