Fundamentals of Strategic Advising in Reform Environments

Step 3 of 10: Introductory Lesson - Contextualising Advising
Slide 10 of 10

Case Study: Erik Leklem

In this 20-minute podcast, Erik Leklem discusses his role working to build capacity for the Afghan Ministry of Defence in 2011-2012. NATO and U.S. capacity building efforts in support of Afghan National Security Forces from 2009-2013 have increasingly come to focus on the need to also support Afghan governance objectives in the Ministries of Defence and Interior as the country approaches a 2014 transition. As such, Coalition forces expanded a nascent ministerial advising effort in 2008 into a wide ranging effort by early 2013. As part of this mission, Erik Leklem was deployed to Afghanistan to serve as the Senior Advisor to the Assistant Minister of Defence for Strategy & Policy in the Afghan Ministry of Defence from March 2011-March 2012. During the course of his advising work, he repeatedly grappled with issues of reputation and credibility while seeking to develop the relationships required for advising and ministerial development "progress."

His advising project's success depended upon his ability to gain a reputation of credibility and sound advice with Afghan counterparts - many who were military officers of greater age and significant military operations experience. In this reflection, Erik describes three methods for generating reputation and credibility in an advising effort: demonstrating cultural understanding of how reputation is gained or lost in the context; honestly assessing one's own experience and its relevance to the advising topic area; and developing a humble "classiness" in one's interactions and advisory work.

Erik Leklem is currently serving as the Senior Advisor for Global Defence Reform in the Office of the Secretary of Defence (US).

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Erik Leklem - Case Study

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