For one First Army battalion commander, having a positive influence on National Guard infantry units is one of the most enjoyable aspects of his job. And he has the chance to do that in both word and deed. For not only does Lt. Col. Ryan Liebhaber serve as commander of the 1st Battalion, 314th Infantry Regiment, he also has works published in military trade journals.
Liebhaber has conveyed his professional experience in more than six professional publications. Topics have included threat identification, multi-domain operations, unmanned aerial vehicles in combined arms maneuver, and planning the opposing force operations in brigade-level combat training center exercises.
Liebhaber joined the Army as soon as possible, completing basic training the summer after his junior year of high school. After high school, he attended the United States Military Preparatory School, then became a cadet a year later.
“I was a history major at West Point, so I definitely did a lot of writing in college,” he recalled. “Then when I became a field grade officer, I was assigned at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Germany and the commander of the operations group really pushed professional writing, so I published my first professional article as a major there. Since then, I’ve tried to publish something at every assignment I’ve had.”
Following that assignment, Liebhaber served in the Asymmetric Warfare Group, where he contributed to several threat-focused handbooks and authored articles in the Asymmetric Warfare Journal. He also co-published an article with members of the Israeli Defense Force on multi-domain operations.
His most recent submission was to Military Review and focused on First Army history and the challenges and opportunities of commanding a First Army battalion. The article highlights the impact that a First Army battalion commander can have on the total Army - including his favorite part of the job.
“I really enjoy the opportunity to partner with National Guard infantry battalions and mentor those battalions and help them achieve a higher level of readiness,” Liebhaber said.
Limited resources, however, means that some tough calls have to be made.
“At First Army there’s never enough of us to go around, so we really have to prioritize our partners and say ‘yes’ to certain units based on where they are in their sustained readiness cycle,” he said.
Leibhaber believes it’s important that First Army battalion commanders realize the situation their National Guard counterparts are in.
“National Guard combat units face challenges with limited time and resources,” he said. “It’s not realistic to expect them to achieve readiness and proficiency at the same rate that an active duty infantry battalion would.”
First Army’s role, then, is to use its expertise to help Reserve Component units develop a realistic and feasible training plan to keep them on the path to their readiness goal.
This chance to make a difference is what drives Liebhaber, who plans on being a career officer.