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The importance of a developmental view of our enemies 2010-May-17 at 11:09 PDT

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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Combat Generation: Trying to work with an Afghan insurgent, by Greg Jaffe, 17-May-2010

The offer came from an insurgent known as Mullah Sadiq, who had been on the U.S. kill-capture list since 2005. [Lt. Col. Robert B.] Brown assumed that some fighters aligned with Sadiq had taken part in the assault.

Sadiq wanted 50 assault rifles, $20,000 and a promise that U.S. forces would not kill him. In return, he promised to turn against more-radical Taliban insurgents and to begin to work with the Afghan government.

Sadiq’s proposition gave Brown a chance, however tentative, to achieve a victory of sorts in his corner of Afghanistan and redeem the loss of his men.

"This has the potential to work," Brown told his commander.

This is the kind of creative thinking and perspective-shifting that our troops are faced with every day in Iraq and Afghanistan, and everywhere else we’ll deploy the SysAdmin force.  Those who are considered enemies can be, in these messy and shifting situations, our allies, and all for far less than the cost of having a single soldier in theater.  The fact that our Lt. Col. Brown warmed to this proposal, even from a first-tier or flatland perspective on development, is a powerful testament to his own openness and creativity, and makes me incredibly happy that he’s on our side.

Imagine how many more commanders would be able to make this leap if they knew a little bit about vertical development?  What if we trained our military leaders with the basics of Integral philosophy?  What if they had at least heard of the idea of Spiral Dynamics or developmental psychology?

All of this is coming, I promise.  The military is incredibly fast to adopt useful ideas and run with them.  And with that will come a smoother, more predictable and repeatable SysAdmin process wherever it’s required.

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