The teacher who awakens and encourages in students a sense of possibility and responsibility is, to me, the ultimate leader.

We could do good things in Afghanistan for the next 100 years and fail.

Political campaigns offer Americans an opportunity to adjust direction, reaffirm values, and recommit to the covenant that binds them together.

The number of people in America killed by firearms is extraordinary compared to other nations, and I don't think we're a bloodthirsty country. We need to look at everything we can do to safeguard our people.

There's an art to asking questions. Briefings are valuable but normally communicate primarily what the subordinate leader wants you to know, and often the picture they provide is incomplete.

If we want to be members of the world community, we need to think that way.

I spent a career carrying typically either an M16 or an M4 Carbine. An M4 Carbine fires a .223 caliber round, which is 5.56 mm at about 3000 feet per second.

Throughout history, the organizational evolution of the military has been inextricably linked with that of the business world.

I think my biggest achievement was being part of a team of outstanding, entrepreneurial military leaders and civilians who helped change the way in which America fights by transforming a global special operations task force - Task Force 714 - that I commanded.

I find that if the day is terrible but I worked out, at the end of the day I can go, 'Well, I had a good workout'. Almost no matter what happens.

Mike Hall was my old friend and, more important, the finest soldier I'd ever known. After over 30 years of service and then 18 months at a good civilian job, a phone call had brought the retired command sergeant major back on active duty to become the senior enlisted adviser of all international forces in Afghanistan.

Soldiers fighting a daily battle under frightening conditions can feel their leaders are far removed from their reality. There's no magic cure for this challenge, and soothing words that aren't backed up by action encourage cynicism.

Caution and cynicism are safe, but soldiers don't want to follow cautious cynics.

Leaders must establish common purpose and build trust within an organization.

I'm a believer in the Afghan people, so I support an increase in forces there.

Public television works hard to engage young learners and build the skills needed for a jump-start on life. We need our youngest to be curious, resilient and empathetic, and prepared for the jobs of the future.

I'm not good at eating small meals. Some people can sit down and be very disciplined. When I sit down at a meal, I sort of eat everything I can reach. I know medical people say that's exactly the wrong formula, but I've made it this far.

Over my career, I'd watched senior leader visits have unintended negative consequences. Typically, schedules were unrealistically overloaded and were modified during the visit to cancel parts of the plan.

In June 2010, after more than 38 years in uniform, in the midst of commanding a 46-nation coalition in a complex war in Afghanistan, my world changed suddenly - and profoundly. An article in 'Rolling Stone' magazine depicting me, and people I admired, in a manner that felt as unfamiliar as it was unfair, ignited a firestorm.

Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity.

I was raised with traditional stories of leadership: Robert E. Lee, John Buford at Gettysburg. And I also was raised with personal examples of leadership. This was my father in Vietnam. And I was raised to believe that soldiers were strong and wise and brave and faithful; they didn't lie, cheat, steal, or abandon their comrades.

My dad was always the soldier I wanted to be.

The basic DNA we've got to implant in leaders now is adaptability: not to get wedded to the solution to a particular problem, because not only the problem but the solution changes day to day. Creating people who are hardwired for that is going to be our challenge for the future.

Americans enjoy the exciting, cinematic vision of a squad of muscle-bound Goliath boasting Olympian speed, strength, and precision - a group whose collective success is the inevitable consequence of the individual strengths of its members and the masterful planning of a visionary commander.

There is no avoiding the realities of the information age. Its effects manifest differently in different sectors, but the drivers of speed and interdependence will impact us all. Organizations that continue to use 20th-century tools in today's complex environment do so at their own peril.

Leadership contains certain elements of good management, but it requires that you inspire, that you build durable trust. For an organization to be not just good but to win, leadership means evoking participation larger than the job description, commitment deeper than any job contract's wording.

You're going to find out who your friends are. Anything that happens in your life is one of those challenges. It may not be at the level of celebrity, but everybody's going to travel that road.

In combat operations in places like Afghanistan, we often confronted the specter of dangerous people with powerful weapons who were a threat to their community and to our soldiers. Our aim was to quickly determine who in that community was a legitimate actor who could be trusted with a firearm and who was not.

Anyone in a position of power is either corrupt or assumed to be corrupt, and the assumption of corruption is as bad as the reality of it.

In our society, I see public media as a lever. It pushes people by elevating them and their sights. It brings them into more thinking and understanding, and it brings us together.

My very identity as a soldier came to an abrupt end. I'd been soldiering as long as I'd been shaving. Suddenly I'd been told I could no longer soldier, and it felt as though no one really cared if I ever shaved again.

Public broadcasting makes our nation smarter, stronger and, yes, safer.

To this day, I am saddened by Ranger Tillman's death, as I am for the loss of every service member I served with, and for the pain such losses cause each family.

When you go through some controversy and you see your face on the news in a negative way for 48 hours... you doubt yourself. And your friends make the difference. They become a safety net that come in and say, 'That's not the case.' And the relationships that you've built... come to the fore.

If who you were was entirely based upon the position you were in or the headlines you got in the newspaper, or you had essentially subcontracted out your self-worth to the judgments of others, then you're going to be like tumbleweed. You're going to be blown.

I think every war certainly wears on national will and national patience, particularly a counterinsurgency.

Like leaders in many walks of life, my business has been to serve with, and for, others.

We should get to the business of providing at least one million opportunities each year for young Americans to spend a service year with peers who are different from them - by race, ethnicity, income, politics and religious belief.

Christmases with Polish and Romanian troops, including religious ceremonies in crude bunkers and huts, were deeply spiritual experiences.

America needs a big idea that plays to its strength. It should look to national service.

The challenge that we faced with the arrival of the Obama administration is, they didn't really have time to build trust before they had to make big, difficult decisions.

Leaders walk a fine line between self-confidence and humility.

Our bureaucracy had excelled at compartmentalizing intelligence - we had a 'need to know' system - but by 2004, it was impossible to foresee what elements of our organization would and would not need to know a given piece of information.

The military does very well taking average people and making them very good leaders.

One of the great things about America is we should not judge until we know the facts.

The military likes to figure out how to do something, put it in a manual or an operating procedure, and perfect doing it, and have everyone do it the same way. I don't like that.

Military leaders, many of whom were students of counterinsurgency, recognized the dangers of an incremental escalation and the historical lesson that 'trailing' an insurgency typically condemned counterinsurgents to failure.

If you sit down with British officers or British senior NCOs, they understand the sweep of history. They know the history of British forces not just in Afghanistan but the history of British successful counter-insurgencies - Northern Ireland, Malaysia.

Trust is an amazing commodity. The Afghan people often talk to me about having to develop trust in America, because they believe that we deserted them in 1990 and 1991.