An excerpt from Stan's latest book, Risk: A User's Guide, publishing on October 5th.
In a well-intentioned but misplaced effort to limit the risks to our troops, the Pentagon prescribed that every soldier leaving a secure base in both Afghanistan and Iraq wear body armor, and required each casualty report to include a detailed accounting of every piece worn. The overall intent was to ensure that American service members were as 'bulletproof' as possible - an admirable goal to be sure.
But unfortunately wearing protective gear simply wasn't always realistic. Many activities, including climbing Afghanistan's towering mountains, were literally impossible in the heavy armor, and the perception was that the decision-makers above, clueless to the realities on the ground, were covering themselves to evade accountability by ordering maximum protection. To accomplish their missions, soldiers would now have to assume both the normal risks of combat and the added risk of disobedience.
Too often our efforts to manage risk create further risk. Whether in combat or in day-to-day life, we encounter situations that call for us to assume a reasonable amount of risk to achieve our goals, and if we try to make ourselves 'bulletproof,' we may ultimately collapse under the weight of our gear.”
Order Risk: A User's Guide here.