‘Lessons Unlearned’ topic of latest Distinguished Lecture Series event
The CGSC Foundation and its Simons Center hosted a Simons Center Distinguished Lecture Series dinner event on Nov. 18, 2021, at June’s Northland in Leavenworth, Kansas. The guest speaker for the evening was retired Col. Pat Proctor, a U.S. Army veteran of both the Afghanistan and the Iraq wars, with more than 25 years of service. Proctor provided the evening’s guests with a look into the message of his recent book, Lessons Unlearned: The U.S. Army’s Role in Creating the Forever Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
After a reception period Foundation President/CEO Roderick M. Cox welcomed the guests and thanked the sponsors. As the dinner period wound down, he introduced Proctor.
Proctor walked the audience through low-intensity conflicts which began occurring after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the demise of the Soviet Union and the conclusion of the Cold War. Through the lens of Army doctrine and despite the success of the Army in the first Gulf War, Proctor outlined the Army’s resistance to low-intensity conflict and what he termed as the Army’s refusal to institutionalize lessons learned in the 1990s in places like Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo.
During his presentation Proctor was quick to point out that he was a part of the same institution he criticized in the book. He further explained during his brief and in the foreword of Lessons Unlearned that while he was critical of the Army’s senior leaders, he also well-understood and appreciated they always had the best interests of the Army and the nation at heart and that their service and dedication is beyond reproach. But, by understanding why and how the Army of the 1990s refused to prepare to fight low-intensity conflicts on the eve of the war on terror, it might be possible to halt the ever-accelerating march of today’s U.S. Army toward intentionally forgetting the hard-fought lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq.
After Proctor’s presentation, Cox again thanked sponsors and guests. Proctor conducted a book signing for those interested in purchasing a book.
The CGSC Foundation and the Simons Center wish to thank all the sponsors for the evening: Armed Forces Insurance, Mr. Dan Bolen, Mr. Bill Esry, First Command Financial Services in Leavenworth, USBA, Ulin Solutions Group, WJB Systems and Veteran on the Move.
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