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Marine Corps University Press
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Marine Corps University
Quantico, Virginia

6 x 9 paperback
282 pages
PDF download


Coalition Leadership

Lessons Learned While Commanding A NATO Brigade in Afghanistan
by Colonel James L. Creighton, USA (Ret)
foreword by General John W. Nicholson Jr., USA (Ret)

DOI: 10.56686/9798986259505



Colonel Creighton’s command provides an excellent case study in the leadership of coalitions, which are critical to the United States now and in the future. The U.S. military’s mission in Afghanistan enjoyed significant legitimacy because it operated within a coalition that was based on international mandates from the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). These mandates enabled unity of purpose among the more than 50 nations that joined the Coalition and sustained that unity for more than 20 years. Coalitions enable the sharing of burdens among troops, funding, equipment, and civil, humanitarian, and development support. When legitimacy is firmly established, political leaders can more easily generate domestic support and secure precious resources. Coalition members contribute within their unique capabilities, and as a result, the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. The unity enabled by legitimacy creates political and military options that are not possible when nations act unilaterally. Ultimately, this unity among the United States and its allies and partners will be essential to prevail in the strategic competition vis-à-vis China and Russia.






Chronology of Combined Team Uruzgan

Glossary of Select Terms, Abbreviations, and Acronyms 


Chapter 1. Coalition Leadership in Uruzgan: How Positive Leadership Makes an Impact

Chapter 2. Setting the Scene: Know Your Environment and the Enemy

Chapter 3. Combined Team Uruzgan Operational Overview, June 2010 – June 2011

Chapter 4. Selection for Command: Know Yourself

Chapter 5. Arrival in Uruzgan: The Importance of Preparation and First Impressions 

Chapter 6. Taking Command: Establish a Unifying Vision

Chapter 7. Relationships in Diverse Cultures: Build a Team of Teams 

Chapter 8. Shades of Gray: Know Who to Trust and How Much to Trust Them 

Chapter 9. “The Jerry Springer Show, Afghanistan”: Courage and the Ability to Adapt to Ambiguity 

Chapter 10. Building Development Capacity in Uruzgan: Lead without Direct Authority

Chapter 11. Safe and Secure Elections: Cooperate across Agencies

Chapter 12. The Battle of Derapet: How to Fight a Battle in a Coalition Environment

Chapter 13. Freedom in the Mirabad Valley: Set Priorities and Achieve Goals

Chapter 14. Liberation in Gizab: Capitalize on Opportunities

Chapter 15. Building Education Capabilities: Question “Facts” and Information

Chapter 16. Commander’s Emergency Response Program: Fight Bureaucracy with a Tenacious Attitude

Chapter 17. Building a New Police and Army Headquarters: Follow through on Promises

Chapter 18. Delivering Winter Wheat: Build Local Capacity or Set Leaders up for Failure  

Conclusion  Retirement and Reflection: Thoughts on Leading a Coalition Team


Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C

Appendix D

Select Bibliography and Suggested Further Reading
About the Author

Marine Corps University