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How The Pentagon & CIA Align Efforts Improve Innovation, Train Leaders for Future War

Mike Mears, former Director of Human Capital, CIA, sits down for an exclusive interview with Warrior Maven's, Kris Osborn

By Kris Osborn, President - Center for Military Modernization

Partial Transcript Below:

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Hello, and welcome to the Center for Military Modernization, Warrior Maven. I'm Kris Osborn, very significant opportunity today to talk to a leader and a combat veteran. We are joined by Mr. Mike Mears. He is the former director of HR for the CIA, very senior member of the intelligence community, as well as a combat veteran. 

He served in Vietnam, and he's very familiar with Army and combat tactics as well. We're here to talk about innovation. So first, I want to thank you for your time and welcome you, sir.

Mike Mears, former Director of Human Capital, CIA

Well, thank you, Kris. It's a delight to be here.

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Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Thank you so much. One of the things we hear about a lot is, is China is threatening Taiwan, Russia is of course invading Ukraine. Both Russia and China have demonstrated hypersonic weapons, in some cases, anti satellite weapons. There's naturally a lot of concern and a long standing effort to increase innovation, increased s&t, basic research science and technology. What is your quick assessment, given your expertise with leadership and innovation, about the importance of innovating to keep pace with or ideally stay in front of near peer threats?

Mike Mears, former Director of Human Capital, CIA

Well, Kris, I lived in the old Soviet Union for three years back in the Gorbachev era and saw the shortfalls of what I lead a centralized thinking, planning and innovation does. It's just it's a catastrophe. So So where I come out on this is I think that the just like in corporate America, the the company or the country that that harnesses the most brainpower, and I'm not talking about the 10 people at the top, I'm talking about the the employee base is going to be the one that comes out ahead. The Russians have a lot of trouble with that. The Chinese do it better. But I think I think we really got to push and look at new ways to lead and manage people to get a leg up against these guys.

Be sure to watch the full video for insights

Kris Osborn is the President of Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization and the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President, Center for Military Modernization

Mike Mears retired as the CIA’s Chief of Human Capital where he founded and headed the CIA Leadership Academy. He is a trainer and leadership consultant to government and private sector organizations. Prior to CIA, Mike was senior vice president at GE investments where he managed private equity funds, was a turnaround specialist, and a Six Sigma Black Belt.  Before that, he launched eleven small business start-ups, and was president of a fast-food company. Mike served as commander of a nuclear missile site, a general’s aide, and was decorated for valor as a U.S. Army combat platoon leader in Vietnam. He earned his undergraduate degree at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and his MBA from Harvard Business School. Mike teaches or lectures on leadership at Department of Defense, Georgetown, University of Salzburg, University of Maryland, and the National Intelligence University.

Mike Mears retired as the CIA’s Chief of Human Capital where he founded and headed the CIA Leadership Academy. He is a trainer and leadership consultant to government and private sector organizations.

Prior to CIA, Mike was senior vice president at GE investments where he managed private equity funds, was a turnaround specialist, and a Six Sigma Black Belt. Before that, he launched eleven small business start-ups, and was president of a fast-food company.

Mike served as commander of a nuclear missile site, a general’s aide, and was decorated for valor as a U.S. Army combat platoon leader in Vietnam.

He earned his undergraduate degree at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and his MBA from Harvard Business School. Mike teaches or lectures on leadership at Department of Defense, Georgetown, University of Salzburg, University of Maryland, and the National Intelligence University.