Team of Teams

Lessons from JSOC for a Complex World

When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2003, he quickly realized that conventional tactics were failing. Al Qaeda in Iraq was a decentralized network that could move quickly, strike ruthlessly, then seemingly vanish into the local population. The Allied forces had a huge advantage in numbers, equipment, and training—but none of that seemed to matter. General McChrystal and his colleagues remade the task force, in the midst of a grueling war, into something new: a network that combined extremely transparent communication with decentralized decision-making authority. In Team of Teams General McChrystal and his coauthors, David Silverman and Chris Fussell, show how the challenges they faced in Iraq, Afghanistan, and over a decade of special operations missions around the globe can be relevant to businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations here at home.

A retired four-star general, General McChrystal 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 the current counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and for creating a comprehensive counter-terrorism organization that revolutionized the interagency operating culture.

Chris Fussell, a co-author of Team of Teams, is a Senior Fellow at New America and spent 15 years on U.S. Navy SEAL Teams from war-torn Kosovo to Iraq and Afghanistan to the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. Fussell served as Aide-de-Camp to then-Lieutenant General McChrystal during General McChrystal’s final year commanding the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He is also the Chief Growth Officer at CrossLead, the consulting firm that General McChrystal and his colleagues founded based on the theory laid out in Team of Teams.

New America is pleased to welcome General McChrystal and Mr. Fussell for a discussion of their book and the lessons from JSOC.

Follow the discussion online using #TeamofTeams and following @NatSecNAF.

Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event.


General Stanley McChrystal
Co-author, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Chris Fussell
Senior Fellow, New America International Security Program
Co-author, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Peter Bergen
Director, International Security Program, New America