In partnership with Hudson Union Society

Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Visits CORE: -

Learn about his new book “Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon”

The world’s largest organization is also one of its most mysterious. The Department of Defense (DOD) employs more men and women than Amazon, McDonald’s, FedEx, Target, and General Electric combined. Yet most Americans know little about it beyond its $700 billion budget and iconic five-sided headquarters. Now, the leader who knows the Pentagon best pulls back the curtain on an institution that many regard with a mix of awe and suspicion, revealing not just what it does but why, and why it matters.

Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s new book, Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon, is the ultimate insider’s account of how America’s military works, and how it should work. It is also a timely reassessment of U.S. foreign policy and national security strategies in a rapidly changing world, and a timeless reflection on the leadership qualities essential to not only run but also reform a dauntingly complex organization.

A Rhodes scholar with a PhD in nuclear physics, Carter brought a scientist’s mind and a patriot’s heart to his thirty-six years with the Pentagon, serving presidents in both Democratic and Republican administrations. His leadership encompassed some of America’s most consequential strategic eras, from the Cold War through the fall of the Berlin Wall, both Iraq wars, 9/11, the counter-ISIS campaign, and the continuing war in Afghanistan. Carter helped shape programs from the controversial Star Wars initiative and the peaceful de-nuclearization of the Soviet satellite states to the reforms in military contracting he introduced as the Pentagon’s acquisition czar.

As the 25th Secretary of Defense, Carter brought further transformation to an organization steeped in tradition. In a historic 2015 decision, he opened all combat roles in the U.S. military to women; he launched major technology initiatives, working with Silicon Valley innovators to bridge a dangerous divide between the Pentagon and the world of high tech; and he helped engineer and carry out the plan that brought ISIS to its knees.

Carter will explain:
    • The real threats we face in the world’s hottest hot spots. Carter has spent decades sparring against potential adversaries—Putin’s Russia, a newly assertive China, the secretive regime in North Korea—and offers unique insights into how they can be kept at bay.

    • What the Pentagon must do to maintain its vital technological edge. Unbeknownst to most Americans, China and Russia have sharply eroded the high-tech edge once enjoyed by the US military. Carter tackled this threat by becoming the first SecDef to visit Silicon Valley in 20 years, challenging programmers to “hack the Pentagon,” inviting hoodie-wearing techies to serve stints in the Pentagon, and launching initiatives to fight back against the threat of cyberwar.

    • The leadership challenges of running the world’s largest organization, advising a smart, sometimes prickly POTUS, and managing 535 members of Congress, all with their own agendas. Carter’s decades of public service taught him how to drive change in a massive organization; why the government must not be run like a business; and why “reinforcement” is a little-known key to effective leadership.

    • Fascinating behind-the-scenes stories: Carter recounts what it’s like to travel on the Secretary of Defense’s special airplane, the E4-B, designed as an aerial command center for nuclear war; why he kept his decision to open all combat roles to women secret – even from President Obama – until the hour he announced it publicly; and what it takes to supply thousands of troops and hundreds of bases in Afghanistan, a country that doesn’t make concrete and has some of the world’s worst infrastructure.