Major General Fox Conner: “The Indispensable Man”

  • Lieutenant Colonel Carter L. Price

Although every career officer prepares for command, the fact is that very few will do so at the senior level. The vast majority of Senior Service College graduates will spend the remainder of their careers on various staffs as advisors to commanders or civilian leaders. With this in mind, it is important that the services focus institutional education toward building the competencies of senior strategic advisors. Military history is replete with leaders who functioned as strategic advisors during critical periods. One such advisor is Major General Fox Conner. Arguably responsible for the development of a President, Secretary of State and one of the most prolific military leaders of a century, Fox Conner is largely an unknown figure in American history. This paper discusses Conner’s background and the attributes that made him such an effective advisor and leader. This paper will evaluate him against disciplines that James E. Lukaszewski proposes are crucial to maximizing the effect of strategic advice: be trustworthy, be a verbal visionary, develop a management perspective, think strategically, understand the power of patterns, advise constructively and show others how to use your advice.