Case #1834.3

The Accidental Statesman: General Petraeus and the City of Mosul, Iraq (Abridged)

Publication Date: July 21, 2008
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This case (1834.0 and related epilogue 1834.1 and abridged case 1834.3) tells the story of Major General David Petraeus and the US Army's 101st Airborne Division in the months following the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the fall of Baghdad, and collapse of Saddam Hussein's government. Having completed their combat mission, and with just a few days notice, the 101st is ordered to Mosul, Iraq's third largest city and the capital of Nineveh province. Their orders were spare - get up to Mosul and Nineveh Province and get things under control. The case details the development and implementation of the 101st strategy to bring stability to Mosul and the surrounding area and provides insight into General David Petraeus and his approach to leadership. While set in a military organization in wartime, the case is not about military operations. Petraeus and his division, with little notice or preparation, undertake traditionally civilian tasks associated with reconstruction and governance.

Learning Objective:
The case can serve several objectives: As an example of strategy development in a fluid, high risk environment. Petraeus is given little guidance, is in an unfamiliar venue, sets ambitious goals and develops a strategy that finds considerable success; To explore how executives adaptively employ their structures and administrative processes in implementing strategy.

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Kirsten Lundberg
Faculty Lead:
Peter Zimmerman and Hannah Riley Bowles
Pages (incl. exhibits):
Middle East, Iraq