Review DVD: Ike – Countdown to D-Day

Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Reviews (DVD Only), War & Face of Battle
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Leadership at the highest level,

September 2, 2006
Tom Selleck
As much as I like Robert Duvall, his version of Ike was scripted to focus on his relationship with Kate Summersby, not on the substance of leadership. This movie is absolutely superb.

Tom Selleck gives what may be one of the most mature and serious performances of his career, and from my vantage point–not having been a general officer but knowing about fifty of them)–I believe he captures with enormous nuance and feeling the stress not only of leadership, but of leadership in a coalition environment where egos and posturing by lesser generals can run amok.

The very best part of this movie is in its portrayal of the dynamics between Churchill and Ike, and the historic shift away from separate field commanders for air, land, and sea, and one Supreme Commander. The USA could use a Supreme Commander today. In my view, the services continue to posture and lie to inflate their budgets, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be a five-star general and chosen to be the Supreme Commander, with the Secretary of Defense in command of policy and acquisition and inter-agency support, but NOT micro-managing either the strategy or the global force projection.

When in London I always try to visit the war bunker from which Churchill managed World War II. I always look for the 2-3 telephones that were used and remind myself that command is about more than having a ton of command and control, communications, computing, and a heavy metal military. This movie is a primer on sensible leadership under stress.

Other DVDs with reviews that I like:
We Were Soldiers (Widescreen Edition)
The Last Samurai (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Glory
Tears of the Sun (Special Edition)

and the entire Horatio Hornblower series
Horatio Hornblower Boxed Set
Horatio Hornblower – The New Adventures (Loyalty / Duty)

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