Michael Harwood retired from 34 years’ active duty in the British armed forces in 2012. As a Royal Air Force pilot, he flew, instructed and also tested innovative tactics and state-of-the-art equipment. Extensive operational time overseas in leadership positions was complemented by tours at the Permanent Joint Headquarters, the RAF’s headquarters and the Joint Services Command and Staff College. In his last tour, he headed the British Defence Staff in the United States and also represented the UK in the United Nations’ Military Staff Committee in New York.
Risks and threat change, they are dynamic. They can be ambiguous, low in profile, ignored, and assessed differently. Risk has to be imagined, and we must understand the attitude of leaders and staff at all levels to that risk and the implications. Work-arounds should be anticipated once a risk has been recognized, but the preparation for, mitigation of, and learning from a particular risk will be determined by the culture on the environment in which they occur.