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Radical Leadership key to change the world

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- We need radical leaders! We need men and women who are not afraid to make changes to the way we accomplish our mission despite the pressure to keep doing things the same old way.

Radical leadership is a topic unsettling to those who are comfortable in the status quo. But for us to survive the rapid pace of change in military operations, in an era of smaller budgets, we require leadership from those who can see the present and future, not as it is, but as it should be. We will need them to drive the changes to keep us relevant in an ever changing global environment.

Radical leadership is not a new phenomenon in American society and those who embraced it changed our world forever.

In 1776, a band of radical leaders assembled at the Continental Congress and told the world's most powerful nation they would not stand for their actions anymore. As stated in the Declaration of Independence, they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to a cause worthy of fighting. It was a bold action, defiant in the face of those who wanted to stay with Britain despite the wrongs the nation committed against its own colonies. War was fought and radical leaders developed daring plans to survive and ultimately win, to secure a new nation.

And four score and seven years later, another radical leader promoted an idea that all men were created equal regardless of the color of their skin. It is estimated nearly three quarters of a million people died in a conflict to destroy the status quo of slavery. Without radical leadership to see this nation through its worst conflict, we would not be the mighty nation we are today. But it doesn't end here, nor is it always about war.

Thirty eight years later, two men challenged the notion that man could not fly a controlled, heavier than air, powered machine. It took determination, inventiveness, and creativity, which are all vital skills radical leaders need to prove naysayers wrong. On December 17, 1903, two bicycle shop owners from Ohio flew an airplane 120 feet for 12 seconds.

They shrank the world and changed it forever. Their bold actions eventually paved the way for the creation of the mightiest air, space, and cyberspace force in the world.

Throughout American history, radical leaders have been at the forefront of great change. They forged a nation and then saved it. They advocated a view that anything you think, can actually be done.The greatest advances in technology, values and changes to our way a life came from those who ignored the critics and shunned the status quo.

If we are to remain relevant as a military power, we will need people who think outside the box, challenge conventional wisdom, and who do not fear change. I urge all leaders to take 12 seconds and change our world forever.