Jul 3, 2019
Adm. Michael Rogers, Retired Four Star Admiral and Former Director
of the National Security Agency and Commander of the U.S. Cyber
Command discusses risk and reward, and the difference in both. THe
Admiral also discusses accountability, the things that concern him
regarding ethics in the new world of AI, and one of the best
lessons he ever learned.
[1:20] Mike Rogers retired from
the Navy in 2018 after nearly 37 years of service, rising to the
rank of Four Star Admiral.
[5:49] As a Four Star Admiral,
Michael’s life was all about risk and reward and how they’re
intertwined. The risk is there to help us prioritize challenges to
achieve an outcome that generates our reward. Michael would tell
his team if they were uncomfortable with risk, they are in the
[8:06] In the military, risk in
viewed as two parts: Risk of mission and ability to achieve the
outcome, and mission to force. On the private sector side, you
worry about risk of mission but not so much the mission to force.
In the civilian world, we also see reputational
[13:21] Michael defines
accountability as the alignment of authority, resources, and
responsibility. In the business world, we typically are less
comfortable giving people authority, and we need to
truly empower people to make them accountable.
[18:15] Michael recounts an
example of how the Commander in Chief provided the ultimate example
[20:23] The biggest challenge as
a leader isn’t the technology, it’s the people, ethos and
[22:23] AI and machine learning
will be huge advantages, and if used correctly and supervised when
appropriate, we will be able to help us parse through vast data and
free up time and energy.
[27:41] We must think how we can
effectively communicate in a way that helps the decision maker
generate a decision.
[35:33] What Michael loved about
the special operations approach was that it wasn’t about your rank
or position, it was about the value you bring and how one maximizes
speed, agility and communication within the chain of
[40:35] Leadership is so much
more challenging, we can’t fully replace the experience of
connection and crisis response with AI or
[42:34] Michael shares an
experience that inspired him to forever be combat ready and
impacted him for the rest of his career.
[52:19] Adaptability is as much
about ethos and culture as process, and should be based upon what
as the greatest impact on completing the mission.
[54:55] We have the ability to
shape workforce behavior by how we incentivize
[57:33] Think about the dynamics
that shape your own work culture, and the backgrounds and values of
who works there.
have always enjoyed the challenge.”
can’t truly hold people accountable if you don’t give them the
authority they need to actually do the job.”
not about me, it’s about the mission and the men and women that do
the hard work.”
do we incentivize behavior that we say we value?”
School of Management | Northwestern
Department of Defense
AEGIS Weapon System
TLP 101: General Stanley McChrystal on What Connects
Bio: Mike Rogers retired from the U.S.
Navy in 2018 after nearly 37 years of naval service rising to the
rank of four-star admiral. He culminated his career with a
four-year tour as Commander, U.S. Cyber Command and Director,
National Security Agency. In those roles he worked with the
leadership of the U.S. government, the Department of Defense and
the U.S. Intelligence community as well as their international
counterparts in the conduct of cyber and intelligence activity
across the globe. He also assisted in the development of
national and international policy with respect to cyber,
intelligence and technology – including extensive work with
corporate leadership in the Finance, IT, Telecommunications and
During his broader service in uniform, ADM Rogers held
positions afloat and ashore around the globe focusing on cyber,
intelligence, maritime operations and national security. His
joint service was extensive including duty with the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Indo Pacific
Command and U.S. Atlantic Command. In addition, Admiral Rogers
commanded at the unit, Numbered Fleet and service component levels
in the Navy.
Admiral Rogers is a graduate of Auburn University and
also holds a Masters of Science in National Security. He is a
distinguished graduate of the National War College and a graduate
of highest distinction from the Naval War College. He is
also an MIT Seminar XXI fellow and a Harvard Senior Executive in
National Security alum.
He is currently supporting companies in the private
sector, serving as a member of various Boards or acting as a Senior
Advisor. He also speaks globally to various business and
academic groups and is working internationally in the cyber and
national security arenas. Additionally, Admiral Rogers has
recently joined Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of
Managements’ Public Private Initiative as a Senior Fellow and