Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal (U.S. Army, Ret.) is the former commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and of the nation’s premier military counter-terrorism force, Joint Special Operations Command. The warrior-scholar, comfortable with diplomats, politicians and military men alike, has lived a life full of risk. In a new book, “Risk: A User’s Guide,” McChrystal and co-author Anna Butrico highlight the key factors that determine how we detect and respond to risk.


Asked about Gen. Mark Milley’s statement that the war in Afghanistan was a “strategic failure,” Gen Stanley McChrystal agreed, saying it “ended differently than we wanted it to.” “I don’t think there’s any way for us to say it was not a failure. It certainly ended differently than we wanted it to.” (Washington Post Live)
McChrystal said Afghanistan provides some strategic advantages to terrorist organizing but said the threat could come “from almost any place in the world.” “I think it is a very real possibility. I don’t think there’s any guarantee it will come from inside Afghanistan because it could really come from almost any place in the world… Afghanistan could offer a couple things. It could offer a demonstrable victory to motivate a bunch of people who would say we should continue on the fight… And then you’ve got the practical part that if the Taliban regime provides safe haven, it could create that dynamic. But I don’t think it vastly increases the risk. The risk is already there.” (Washington Post Live)
“I don’t believe the premise that Afghanistan was an impossible mission, so I don’t buy in to that there was no way it could succeed. And I don’t think we should use that as an excuse for not succeeding.” (Washington Post Live)
Butrico said she worked with Gen. McChrystal to interweave his knowledge of military risk with the risks organizations regularly face to convey “the idea that the greatest risk to us is us.” “We came together to… create something that’s not just a military appraisal of risk, but how all organizations struggle with the idea that the greatest risk to us is us.” (Washington Post Live)

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal (U.S. Army, Ret.)

Provided by McChrystal Group.

A retired four-star general, Stan is the former commander of US and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) Afghanistan and the former commander of the nation’s premier military counter-terrorism force, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He is best known for developing and implementing a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and for creating a cohesive counter-terrorism organization that revolutionized the interagency operating culture.

Throughout his military career, Stan commanded a number of elite organizations, including the 75th Ranger Regiment. After 9/11 until his retirement in 2010, he spent more than 6 years deployed to combat in a variety of leadership positions. In June 2009, the President of the United States and the Secretary General of NATO appointed him to be the Commander of US Forces Afghanistan and NATO ISAF. His command included more than 150,000 troops from 45 allied countries. On August 1, 2010 he retired from the US Army.

Stan is a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where he teaches a course on Leadership. He also sits on the boards of Navistar International Corporation, Siemens Government Technology, and JetBlue Airways. He is a sought-after speaker, giving speeches on leadership to organizations around the country. In 2013, Stan published his memoir, My Share of the Task, which was a New York Times bestseller; and is an author of Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, which was a New York Times bestseller in 2015. Stan also co-authored Leaders: Myth and Reality, a Wall Street Journal Bestseller based on the epochal Parallel Lives by Plutarch.

A passionate advocate for national service and veterans’ issues, Stan is the Chair of the Board of Service Year Alliance. In this capacity, he advocates for a future in which a year of full-time service—a service year—is a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.

Stan is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Naval War College. He also completed year-long fellowships at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Anna Butrico

Provided by McChrystal Group.

I was a student at Vanderbilt University and a Summer Analyst with McChrystal Group in 2017. Upon graduating, I returned full-time as an Analyst, where I spent ten months with a Fortune 10 oil & gas company. From there, I spent six months as General (Ret.) McChrystal’s speechwriter, and now serve as his co-author. I have also held an internship with NPR and created my own podcast series in college.

During my internship, I found McChrystal Group’s work to be fascinating; our methodology is academically backed, proven on the battlefield, with proven success for our clients. The people at McChrystal Group were the ones who enticed me to return full-time. We all have different brains, work styles, and experiences, but we match one another in intensity, love for the company, fascination for our clients, and an eagerness to solve their problems. I was immediately struck by the opportunities presented to junior employees. McChrystal Group cares deeply about developing its young professionals into good teammates, and competent advisors and thought-partners with our clients.

My proudest moment at McChrystal Group was when I ran my first marathon, a handful of my coworkers recorded encouraging voice memos for me to listen to as I raced. Their voices encouraged me to push forward and excel - supporting me not only as a work teammate, but also as a friend.

Everyone has a relationship to leadership and teamwork - whether it be in a Fortune 500 company, a middle school basketball team, a fledgling start-up or a college group project. We have experience in leadership and teamwork in the military, but those lessons apply across dozens of disciplines. I find it fascinating how much we can learn from each other.