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Adm. James Stavridis on what decision-making in the heat of battle can teach civilians

Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Admiral James Stavridis during the departure Ceremony for OTAN Rapid Deployable Corps - Italy bound for Afghanistan at Ugo Mara Barracks on January 10, 2013 in Solbiate Olona, Italy. (Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Admiral James Stavridis during the departure Ceremony for OTAN Rapid Deployable Corps - Italy bound for Afghanistan at Ugo Mara Barracks on January 10, 2013 in Solbiate Olona, Italy. (Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

In war, a commander’s decisions have consequences. Lost battles can mean lost wars.

Retired Admiral James Stavridis served in the U.S. military, and as former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

He says leaders have to learn how to think, plan, decide — and act — in moments of high stress and danger. Sometimes, that means risking everything.

“We see Ukraine and Russia locked into a war. We see two leaders who have risked it all,” he says. “On one side, Vladimir Putin … is risking his future and his nation’s future in many ways. On the other side of the lines, we see Vladimir Zelenskyy, who is risking it all in a very different way and for very different reasons.”

Admiral James Stavridis knows what it takes to make decisions in battle.

Stavridis says the things needed to make good decisions in war are not that different from what’s needed to make good decisions when facing challenges of everyday life. He’ll tell us about it.

Guest

Retired Admiral James Stavridis, retired as a four-star admiral. Former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. Managing director of the Carlyle Group. His new book is To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision. (@stavridisj)

Book Excerpt

From TO RISK IT ALL: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision. Published by arrangement with Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2022 by James Stavridis.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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