AH-64D Apache Longbow - Demon Brigade, Flickr



The stakes are often high when it comes to change. Sometimes, they’re unthinkably high. In 2009 the war in Afghanistan was heating up and the United States Army was being called upon by the U.S. Secretary of Defense to increase the number of trained pilots. Failure to deliver would have been catastrophic, impacting national security and taking a terrible toll on the existing pilots who would be facing near back-to-back deployments and on their families. The barriers were formidable. A “bubble” in one level of trainees was creating a backlog for the next level of training facilities and resources and an underlying culture of blame-shifting among various military, civilian and contractor groups stymied collaboration. The Army Aviation Center of Excellence sought to create a leadership culture across hierarchical levels and functions. They understood that updating the processes that were exacerbating their current challenge would require thousands of people to change their individual behaviors – no small task.

18 months

to achieve goal of successfully processing the backlog of pilots through the training program


budget increase optimized to meet goal and pave way for sustainable agility into the future


awards earned to recognize their transformational change


mission accomplished

The installation’s operating budget was set to increase by 50% the following fiscal year. Poised to quickly add people, aircraft and facilities to increase flight training, leaders at all levels quickly realized that resources alone would not be enough. Meeting their mission was constrained by a culture of inefficiencies that had grown over decades; policies that had once made sense were now getting in the way of getting the job done. Senior ranking officials feared that without total transformation at a more granular level, there was risk they could fail to deliver the required number of trained pilots even after the influx of funding. Kotter was commissioned to empower individuals throughout the workforce, building a culture of collaboration through participation in the change effort. In just 18 months, the base met their goal of successfully processing the backlog of pilots through the training program, meeting the U.S. Military’s pressing need for more pilots, garnering the 2013 Commander in Chief’s Award for Installation Excellence and the 2013 CSA’s Communities of Excellence Gold Award.

The vision of the Leading Change Team is to empower you to take ownership and share responsibility for change that produces and supports the best Aviation Warfighter for the present and future.

U.S. Army / Aviation Center of Excellence