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Archive: Wartime Leadership

The brave: Salvatore Giunta

Staff Sergeant Salvatore A. Giunta represents the potential in all of us to take actions than transcend our self-interest when the moment requires the best from us...

By Michael Useem | December 22, 2010; 05:38 PM ET | Comments (2)

The peacemakers: Daniel Ellsberg and Veterans for Peace

For those of us who in this holiday season hope for peace on Earth, let us renew our commitment to work for a peaceful world. And if we believe that war is not the answer in 2011, let's join those who are standing up for peace. After all, Daniel Ellsberg has been...

By Juana Bordas | December 22, 2010; 05:25 PM ET | Comments (53)

One strike and you're out

No exceptions, no matter how high your station, no matter how important you are to the organization. When you violate the fundamental rules of the institutional culture...

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | December 14, 2010; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (1)

Creating a Benedict Arnold

As with the Benedict Arnold example, star performers can move up the organization to positions of great responsibility, without a clear understanding of the value of ethical behavior and institutional rules and...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | December 13, 2010; 03:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Losing sight of Lincoln: A mid-course resurrection to save Obama's presidency

Remember, back in 2008, when everyone compared Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln? After he was elected president, Obama himself talked about what he was learning from the 16th president. Fast forward to today: no one is talking about those parallels. Only the most foolish among us would put Obama anywhere near the rarefied stratosphere reserved for our most revered leader.

By Nancy Koehn | December 8, 2010; 01:04 PM ET | Comments (19)

Then and now: Reflections on diversity this Veteran's Day

Although 185,000 African Americans served in the Union Army during the conflict, only white troops made up the 200,000-man procession through the capital of our restored nation.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | November 11, 2010; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Gettysburg lessons reverberate in a modern world

To paraphrase, "a day on the Gettysburg battlefield beats any day in the seminar room." Of course for our U.S. Army War College trip, the seminar room was the battlefield. Over the years, I have been privileged to observe several student groups of senior military officers vicariously experience the great national contest of wills that was our American Civil War. It is advantageous for our students that contest came to be realized in central Pennsylvania.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | August 24, 2010; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (14)

Battle on the third front

In both Iraq and Afghanistan there is a third front -- Washington and interagency politics.

By Robert Goodwin | June 25, 2010; 04:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

No bailout in Afghanistan

General Petraeus must now be VERY clear on the mission and strategy - is it counterinsurgency, is it troop withdrawal by a certain date, is it leaving Afghan leadership with control of their own security?

By Lisa Larson | June 25, 2010; 03:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

The toughest decisions

In announcing his decision, President Obama underscored two vitally important principles of good management: the mission is always bigger than any one man or woman; and there is a profound difference between debate and division.

By Lisa Caputo | June 25, 2010; 12:36 PM ET | Comments (5)

A modern-day Gen. George McClellan

The Civil War General George McClellan was a true talent, and one might argue his was essential in building the Army of the Potomac. But he had no sense of place, and this got him sacked.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | June 24, 2010; 03:26 PM ET | Comments (6)

Treading on non-negotiables

Our founding fathers understood that a standing military represented a potential danger to liberty and therefore sought to minimize its power.

By George Reed | June 24, 2010; 12:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

What matters now is Afghanistan

the president's action stems not from his dismissal of McChrystal but his appointment of General David Petraeus.

By D. Michael Lindsay | June 24, 2010; 12:27 PM ET | Comments (10)

Our broken strategy-making process

Stan was wrong and the president did what he had to do. However, unless and until we address the root cause, we will continue to lack strategic focus on the road to bankruptcy and failure.

By Gen. John Batiste (Ret.) | June 24, 2010; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (64)

The burden on Petraeus

In assuming his new position, General Petraeus must show the leadership that McChrystal failed to exhibit.

By Scott DeRue | June 24, 2010; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Rebuilding 'Team America'

Such blatant hostility and disregard for their superiors endangers everyone. When respect for authority is absent more than egos are hurt - lives can be lost.

By Katherine Tyler Scott | June 24, 2010; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (7)

He had me at Pat Tillman

I thought that Gen. McChrystal's career ended with the Tillman investigation, and I was surprised to see his name appear as the new commander in Afghanistan.

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | June 24, 2010; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (7)

A general destablized by Afghanistan

General McChrystal, a career military man and Army Ranger who is known to sleep just four hours, eat just one meal and run seven miles per day, excelled in the Iraq war. Yet something about the ambiguous nature of the Afghan struggle destabilized him.

By Amy Fraher | June 24, 2010; 10:44 AM ET | Comments (4)

Don't dismiss McChrystal's doubts

Why would a four-star general risk reprimand and dismissal in such an obvious way?

By Michael Maccoby | June 24, 2010; 10:36 AM ET | Comments (2)

When the reason trumps the result

The generals must be held just as accountable as the privates. That is why President Obama's reasons were just as important as the result.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | June 24, 2010; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

McChrystal should just be the start

Even tough-minded hombres like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush couldn't bring themselves to boot aides lacking discretion or competence - or both.

By Ken Adelman | June 24, 2010; 07:22 AM ET | Comments (1)

How to fire a superstar

Four-star generals, like CEOs, need to think highly of themselves but when that sense of self leads to a heightened sense of self-importance, hubris sets in.

By John Baldoni | June 24, 2010; 07:18 AM ET | Comments (3)

A Constitutional necessity

One need not go far - Iran, North Korea, Iraq in the days of Saddam Hussein -- to see the dangers of military rule.

By Kathryn Kolbert | June 23, 2010; 04:55 PM ET | Comments (1)

A time and place for debate

General McChrystal should have known what to expect from making his disagreements as public comments

By Barry Posner | June 23, 2010; 04:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

An excellent replacement

What a tragedy this is to damage a long, distinguished career in a single media interview, and with Rolling Stone, no less!

By Bill George | June 23, 2010; 04:42 PM ET | Comments (2)

D-Day anniversary: The leaders of Omaha Beach

They could not back off the beach--there wasn't even a plan for withdrawal. The only thing left to do was to get the troops moving directly up the bluffs, right into the teeth of the German fire.

By Ed Ruggero | June 4, 2010; 05:11 AM ET | Comments (24)

The battlefields and cemeteries that are more than scenery

Since only a tiny minority of our population has served in the military, for many of us one of the few connections to the military we have are memorials to those who sacrificed for our cause.

By John Baldoni | May 28, 2010; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (16)

One freezing dove, four precious freedoms

A morning spent caring for a frozen dove with a foreign military officer reminds me that we do have something special in America--probably more than we deserve and something that we should hope for others to experience.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | May 10, 2010; 04:24 PM ET | Comments (4)

Gen. Petraeus: No sugar-coated optimism

Success does not depend on one person, but whatever the U.S. achieves in Iraq could have been accomplished without Gen. David Petraeus's leadership.

By Col. Michael E. Haith (Ret.) | February 23, 2010; 02:44 PM ET | Comments (36)

Karzai's feet to the fire

The U.S. has had a bad habit of betting on the wrong horse, whether in the Philippines or Panama or Iran. Even Saddam Hussein was once our friend.

By Yash Gupta | December 7, 2009; 02:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Afghanistan's West Point

My experience at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan showed me leadership development is already happening, but that it may take a generation to accomplish.

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | December 3, 2009; 02:34 AM ET | Comments (2)

The right leaders

Succeeding in Afghanistan is not a matter of teaching leadership to Afghanis. Rather, we need to find and support the right leaders with the right followers.

By Michael Maccoby | December 2, 2009; 02:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

A familiar job

Our U.S. military has many years of experience in training the forces of other nations.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | December 2, 2009; 01:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Not just sheikhs and generals

For progress to occur, an expanded culture of leadership must become pervasive throughout Afghanistan.

By Ed O'Malley | December 2, 2009; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

18-month miracle?

Ultimately, motivation and leadership are grounded in culture: Why do we think we can change the complex Afghan culture when our "outsider" attempts to influence it have, to date, been unsuccessful?

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | December 2, 2009; 10:36 AM ET | Comments (5)

Laying with the enemy

Considering that little success has been achieved through working with expatriate and Westernized Afghanis, U.S. leaders should consider capitalizing upon entrenched Afghan power structures.

By Coro Fellows | December 1, 2009; 12:54 PM ET | Comments (3)

Taking "exit" out of the strategy

Who will risk their survival and that of their family in siding with an outsider who promises much but whose intent is clearly to leave on his schedule? Developing leaders requires that we build relationships of trust and depth.

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | December 1, 2009; 12:07 PM ET | Comments (1)

New ranks of business leaders

It is critical for the reconstruction of a war-ravaged nation to not only focus on leaders in government, but also leaders in business and civic society, including women.

By Angel Cabrera | December 1, 2009; 06:29 AM ET | Comments (0)

Our most difficult task

We can and must engage in leadership development of Afghan leaders, and this will be the most difficult effort of our involvement in Afghanistan.

By Col. Michael E. Haith (Ret.) | December 1, 2009; 05:18 AM ET | Comments (11)

When Presidents and Generals Disagree

In Afghanistan, there may be more ways to fail than succeed, and in this complex situation, it's tempting -- and wrong -- to reduce the issue to "Obama vs. McChrystal."

By Ed Ruggero | October 19, 2009; 05:43 AM ET | Comments (12)

Neither Hamlet Nor Bush

If President Obama is reconsidering our policy in Afghanistan, that is the essential act of a leader -- not an "about face."

By Warren Bennis | September 24, 2009; 06:15 AM ET | Comments (39)

Not Just Afghanistan

A Pakistan destabilized from Afghanistan and its own Tribal Areas presents an unacceptable strategic prospect.

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | September 24, 2009; 06:01 AM ET | Comments (17)

Facing Up to Facts

I believe victory is still possible in Afghanistan--but it will require brutal honesty and a renewal of support for our mission there.

By Robert Goodwin | September 23, 2009; 12:42 PM ET | Comments (8)

Hated Invaders

The U.S .did not lose its friends in Asia by leaving Vietnam, where we were supporting, as now in Afghanistan, a corrupt government against an insurgency with deep roots in the country.

By Michael Maccoby | September 22, 2009; 01:11 PM ET | Comments (33)

The Right Decision

Making the right decisions and executing them -- whether an about face or full steam ahead -- always require listening, planning, then leading.

By Andy Stern | September 22, 2009; 06:36 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Difficult Road

If a policy is not working and will not work, a president, like a CEO, must act decisively, explain his decision clearly and move on. Few have ever been willing to do so.

By Slade Gorton | September 22, 2009; 06:32 AM ET | Comments (1)

Relentless Communication

Once the decision has been made to execute an about face, any leader needs to communicate, communicate, communicate.

By Beth A. Brooke | September 22, 2009; 06:28 AM ET | Comments (2)

Intelligent Resolve

A good leader must explain with patience and clarity the reasons for the change, as the public will not follow an uncertain leader.

By Mickey Edwards | September 22, 2009; 06:14 AM ET | Comments (1)

Boldly Reconsidering

Obama could do the nation, indeed the world, a favor if he could convert such a major change in course into a learning experience.

By Howard Gardner | September 22, 2009; 05:58 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Necessity of U-Turns

Leadership is all about adjusting--wisely and swiftly--to overwhelming evidence or changes in the external environment.

By Raju Narisetti | September 22, 2009; 05:52 AM ET | Comments (2)

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