Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Long Break

My last day of lectures was last Thursday, and my fellow Strategists and I have been playing hard to celebrate. As most of my comrades are in the process of heading home for the long break, I find myself settling in for the long haul. Our exams are in mid-January, which leaves me to my own devices for about a month.

I had considered heading back up to Orkney for Christmas, hiring (renting) a little cottage, and studying. I had also considered a hop to Oman for some sight-seeing and research on the Dhofar Rebellion. Instead, I think I've decided to make one or both of those trips later on.

So, what to do with a solid month "off"? Here are a few of the things I'll be working on.

  • Studying for Finals: I have a lot of material to review - or, as the Brits say it, "revise" - in that month I have off. I have yet to plough through Strategy in the Contemporary World, Modern Strategy, Secret Intelligence: A Reader, and Intelligence in an Insecure World, and though I finished Modern Military Strategy: An Introduction in November, my attempt to conquer Intelligence Power in Peace and War has been brutally slow-going. I also have a bunch of PowerPoint presentations to review, as well as the Director's "clippings" of various articles in PDF form. My biggest priority is to review/"revise" as much of this information as I can, in as orderly a fashion as possible, in order to prepare myself for exams in January.
  • Studying Security and Arabic: During this semester, I've somewhat neglected studying for my PSP certification. I've done slightly better with my Arabic, but I'd like to really hit it hard over the break. I've been doing well with doing both a run-through of my current stock of eighty Libyan Arabic flash cards and listening to either a BBC Xtra podcast or Sultanate of Oman Radio.
  • The Counterinsurgency Paper: CN Odin and I will be working independently on our respective portions of a paper on counterinsurgency. Our presentation for Strategic Theory was on the Director-provided topic "Scrutinize the major requirements for successful counter-insurgency in the modern world", and we used examples from the Dhofar Rebellion (me) and the Algerian War (Odin) to illustrate six key requirements. We'll be combining the information in our memorandum with the information in our slide deck, and expanding them into a formal paper.
  • Photographing Local Sites: There are some local sites that I want to get pictures of for the blog. This one won't be particularly time intensive, but the month off from class should give me some time to accomplish this.
  • Day Trips: I have a few spots that I might try to see, if the completely asinine RMT strike doesn't stop me in my tracks - literally. My buddy Chris wants me to revisit his old digs in Edzell, I want to go harangue Captain John down in the Borders, and I'd like to get a couple of things at Edinburgh's Army/Navy store.
  • More Planning: With the first semester almost over, it's time to go back through my spreadsheets, find individual points where my strategy needs adjustment, and adjust accordingly.

    So, there are plenty of things yet to do. Fortunately, I have twelve more posts already written (or mostly written), which should allow me to focus on some of the bits I've listed above.
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