Own the Night

Unique Leadership Axiom: Acquire the tools that give you vision to win.

“Own the night” is jargon which came from “WE OWN THE NIGHT”, a slogan. Slogans are another layer of jargon; they are the public face of the private language.  Often the public face is specific in its significance. In this case the public face is both a boast and a recruiting slogan. A boast about the night vision goggles equipment used on the battlefield.

With this equipment, a soldier no longer must move blindly and depend solely on his ears to detect the enemy. Now any visible light, no matter how small will be amplified by the night vision goggles. Now the soldier can see the enemy when the enemy is not able to see him. Now our soldier Owns the Night!

Now he owns the night because America made major economic and industrial investments to develop this technology, supplying soldiers with the ability to see in the dark.

What about the jargon private language? What is the meaning to the soldier’s jargon “own the night”? It is about not being blind. Not physically blind, but personally, professionally, and morally blind.

This is one of many attributes of the organizational structure followed by the military. The Army’s organizational structure is a repeated template at each level. This fractal like structure makes it possible for soldiers at all level to see what is going on at all other levels. It produces what politicians promise but never deliver: TRANSPARENCY!

This is the true meaning of “own the night”. Personal, professional, and moral visibility for all soldiers of any Army is the key to winning.

Leadership Focus

Vision is the real issue in

  • The Economy,
  • Politics,
  • Leadership, and
  • Whom we follow.

My Take

All human processes are subject to a lack of vision. It is up to us to ensure that we have the capability of seeing what the enemy is doing. Often economics and politics and industrial weakness are areas where vision in advance would have eliminated losses. Our mission is to have vision, not just with the aid of special equipment on the battlefield, but with our minds and our discipline and our behavior and our responsibilities.



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One Response to Own the Night

  1. About the time I published “Own the Night” I contacted an expert on the topic and asked the expert can you answer these 7 questions in 500 to 1000 words and if you could, would you and if you could, may I use it (or the part that is safe to quote) in my blog?

    The following is the reply with most expletives deleted.

    Smart Ass,

    1. Who came up with this motto?
    Night Vision Labs in late 70s or early 80s. Quickly adopted by the Infantry School. They love dribble and all forms of verbal mantras…to shout and crow about.

    2. Is it true?
    So despite the dribble it is true. Although the other side has caught-on and the French
    will sell anything to anybody.

    3. Is it just night vision equipment?
    It has made us (SOF) extremely successful, don’t know about the rest.

    4. Has it made the military more successful?
    You bet. Could tell you some stories, but it would shorten your tenure.

    5. Does it reduce casualties?
    Yes, best X-. Battle of Easting, Irac. 1000s of them… if I recall 5 or 6 of us.

    6. How much has it changed the win/loss ratio?
    Don’t know, but I’m very sure one of the analysis/ modeling boobs or boobets at AMC or the 5 Sided Insane Holding Pen would have an answer.

    7. How much has it cost the tax payer?
    Ben you know the answer… a bundle…for SOF probably 9K per soul and the regulars 3-4K per soul, just for eye wear. Never buy the best for cannon fodder… the latter. The stuff they stick on the rifle costs more than 10 or so rifles.

    The good tec is extremely expensive and held by a few.

    Helped? Well, even with the questions included in the reply was less than 500 words, but I feel better for hearing the tec/fiscal opinion!

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