By Kirk White
I recently posted two lessons learned applicable to any complex organization. Here is the final in the series of posts.
Finally, the 3rd lesson; embrace change and be agile. When I joined the National Guard only twenty years ago, our wartime mission was focused on defeating the Warsaw Pact in Europe. Today, we operate in a complex counterinsurgency environment where success requires that we adapt tactics faster than the exceedingly agile terrorist groups. In 2005, my commander in Afghanisatn did not allow us to engage in social or political problems in the provinces where we were operating. By contrast, in 2010 my commander required that I blog weekly to communicate our progress to the world. Changing the culture of an organization is difficult but essential as the landscape and requirements evolve. For example, currently at Indiana University we have a culture built on educational excellence. However, our challenge is how to maintain excellence during very challenging economic constraints.
After several years of discouraging news from Afghanistan, I am convinced that we are again making the advancements that will allow the coalition to reach the successful end state of denying terrorists a safe platform and building the Afghan security forces to allow the elected leadership the ability to maintain a safe and secure environment. The lesson we have learned is that with any counterinsurgency, international leadership and perseverance will be essential to reaching the goal.