Scowcroft Institute’s Army Fellows Speak on Leadership

December 18, 2017

Colonel Neil T. Chafee

Colonel Neil T. Chafee

This year’s Scowcroft Army Fellows, Colonel Neil T. Chafee and Lt. Col. Kevin Boates, recently spoke to Bush School students on leadership and their careers in the military. Bush School Dean Mark Welsh, a former Chief of Staff of the Air Force, introduced the speakers, noting that while there are no new lessons in leadership, lessons learned are passed on during a military career.

As part of the United States Army War College’s Senior Service College Fellowship Program, the Scowcroft Institute hosts officers as Fellows for one academic year. The Institute’s Army Fellowship Program is designed to promote research on topics of strategic relevance to the Army and the Institute and to increase the knowledge and awareness of military affairs among Bush School and Texas A&M University faculty and students. Mid-career officers are selected by the Army War College to take part in the program.

Lt. Col. Kevin Boates

Lt. Col. Kevin Boates

Both Boates and Chafee have had distinguished careers that began quite differently. Lieutenant Colonel Boates joined the Army after high school and served in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations in the Gulf War. He later graduated from West Point and has been an aviation officer in various commands both at home and overseas, including Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Colonel Chafee, received his commission in the U.S. Army upon graduation from Texas A&M in 1994 and earned his flight wings in 1995. He has commanded aviation units from the platoon to the battalion level in twenty-three years of service; has served overseas tours in the Balkans, Middle East, Central Asia, South America, and Europe; and is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chafee and Boates have had extensive training and education while in the service, including attending the Army Command and General Staff College.

Chaffee cited commitment, relationships, partnerships, leadership, and taking care of people as essential elements of public service, whether civilian or military. He also said that while “small-level” leadership is an essential beginning, you learn more about how to lead as you move through the ranks. “The Bosnian experience helped me to learn about other people in our task force as well as about other agencies and international partners and how important those relationships are,” said Chafee.

The men also emphasized the Army’s priorities: readiness, modernization, and reform, and noted that there has to be a team mentality between the military and the government. They also shared their views on balancing service and family. “Family is part of your journey,” said Lieutenant Colonel Boates. “It was important to our family that our son play football in Texas and that I watch him in both high school and college.”

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