The Mission Is Clear Or Is It?

I was watching the news the other evening and they were running a story featuring the new supreme commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan. In the course of his challenge to the troops he said, “We are in this to win, that is our clear objective.” In other words, our mission is clear, we are here to win. However it has been my experience that when it comes to mission, things are often not so clear. What one organization calls mission another calls vision and still another uses terms like purpose and objectives. Is it any wonder then, that our carefully crafted mission and vision statements have little impact on those who are charged with the responsibility of carrying it out? What the general calls “objective” is really the Mission of the NATO forces. One might word it this way, “The mission of the NATO forces in Afghanistan is to win the war against the Taliban”, or “we are in this to win”. If one accepts this as the mission, the next logical question is what will victory look like? Or, how will we know when we have achieved victory? At one time the simple answer would have been when the enemy surrenders and has signed a peace treaty. Unfortunately, today things are much more complicated. Both the nature of the enemy and the context of the war make such a neat conclusion impossible. Consequently we have to take the time to clearly articulate what that victory will look like for both the combatants and those whose land we are defending. We have to, as it were, paint...