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Former Special Operations general speaks with Soldiers
Dell L. Dailey, former special operations general and retired coordinator of the State Department’s counterterrorism office, shares leadership lessons with U.S. Army Alaska commanders, staff officers and sergeants major Dec. 8 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Dailey’s talk was first in a lecture series associated with the USARAK Commander’s Leadership Development Program. (U.S. Army photo/MSgt Eric Reinhardt)
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Former Special Operations general speaks with Soldiers

Posted 12/10/2010   Updated 12/10/2010 Email story   Print story


by MSgt Eric Reinhardt
U.S. Army Alaska Public Affairs

12/10/2010 - JOINT BASE ElMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Dell L. Dailey, former Special Operations general and retired coordinator of the State Department's counterterrorism office, talked leadership with U.S. Army Alaska commanders, staff officers and sergeants major, Wednesday, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The presentation was part of the USARAK Commander Brig. Gen. Raymond Palumbo's Leadership Development Program.

Palumbo, who said he first met Dailey as a company commander in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Ky., described him as a personal "mentor" and a "reason I'm still in the Army today."

He cited Dailey's 36 years of active-duty Army experience, including positions at nearly every level of the Army Special Operations community, culminating in his directorship of the Center for Special Operations, U.S. Special Operations Command, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

After his retirement in 2007 at the rank of lieutenant general, Dailey was appointed ambassador-at-large, heading the State Department's counterterrorism office until April 2009, coordinating diplomats, intelligence officials and the military in the world's largest global counterterrorism effort. He now heads a private consulting firm, Dell Dailey and Family, with clients in both the public and private sectors.

'Three kinds of courage'

Dailey's talk focused on the qualities that make leaders and units successful and fielded questions from USARAK leaders.

He described three kinds of courage leaders should exemplify and develop in their subordinates:

- personal courage, or "leading from the front";
- professional courage - confidence in one's decisions;
- moral courage - which guides leaders in making tough ethical or moral decisions.

He said he spent six weeks training in Alaska when he was commander of a Fort Stewart, Ga., based aviation company.

"So I'm not a novice (to Alaska)," Dailey quipped.

Although that Alaskan experience was brief, Dailey said, it taught him valuable lessons about dealing with harsh environments and the importance of taking care of Soldiers.

He advised commanders to use all the tools at their disposal, such as social workers, surgeons, psychologists and other professionals, to maintain their Soldiers' mental, emotional and physical wellbeing and readiness.

Drawing on his Special Operations background, Dailey encouraged leaders to embrace unconventional thinking and problem solving, noting that a "rogue" or "maverick" in the organization can be an asset if developed and guided correctly.

Dailey said leaders should be visible and accessible to their Soldiers, and work closely with their senior enlisted advisors to present a unified team to Soldiers.

"Minimize paperwork when you have the opportunity to stand in front of troops," Dailey said. "Don't ever let doing your e-mail get in front of visiting an organization or going to a briefing."

Dailey's talk was the first in an ongoing lecture series as part of the USARAK Commander's Leadership Development Program, which aims to create "an environment of learning and growth that will foster a cohesive command climate, enabling the senior leaders of USARAK to be more effective leaders now and in the future," according to the program's statement of purpose.

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