McChrystalAn innovative strategic thinker and operator, Kolenda uniquely combines the ability to develop insightful and practical approaches to the vexing strategic problems in Afghanistan.


Excerpt from performance evaluation June 2010

GEN Stanley A. McChrystal , former Commander International Security Forces - Afghanistan June 9, 2014

M_FlournoyA strategic innovator and change agent … Chris Kolenda is a brilliant strategic thinker who can articulate complex ideas in a simple and concise manner.

Excerpt from 2011 performance evaluation

Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle A. Flournoy June 17, 2014

g-mccownChris helped set a clarifying strategy and then led the implementation under very difficult circumstances for the Central Asia Institute with an initial focus on Afghanistan. Few people have the experience, breadth and courage to do both. For my money, Chris has it all!

Chris is the “real deal” – a person who has served in combat as a leader and thought deeply about the subject of leadership in organizations, large and small – a rare combination and an extraordinary person to have on your team.

George E. McCown
CoFounder American Infrastructure Funds
Member, Board of Directors, Central Asia Institute
American Infrastructure MLP Funds
950 Tower Lane, Suite 800, Foster City, CA 94404
Tel 650-233-4908  |   Fax 650-312-1760
[email protected]

George E. McCown Co-Founder American Infrastructure MLP Fund; Board of Directors, Central Asia Institute December 2, 2014

Jim Thaden_AFG

See the video testimonial by Central Asia Institute Executive Director, Jim Thaden, endorsing the business strategy and leadership development support CAI has received from Kolenda Strategic Leadership.
CAI praises support from Kolenda Strategic Leadership

Jim Thaden, Central Asia Institute Executive Director April 8, 2015

Marla_picture-2310Chris is an incredibly thoughtful and effective strategist and problem solver. His deep respect for NGOs coupled with a unique approach to applying his more than 30 years experience in strategy and operations creates effective results and high impact. His advice to my organization has been invaluable, especially in our advocacy efforts in Afghanistan and in bridging civilian and military perspectives. Beyond that, he’s simply a pleasure to work with!

Marla Keenan
Managing Director
Center for Civilians in Conflict
E-mail: [email protected]

Marla Keenan, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) Managing Director December 2, 2014

Dunford_2013A trusted advisor … His strategic advice and insight have been invaluable … He was instrumental in assisting in the development of a strategic design for success [in Afghanistan] that was sent by the Secretary of Defense to the President of the United States … His efforts have helped posture the U.S. for a successful outcome.

Excerpt from letter by General Joseph Dunford to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, January 2014.



General Joseph F. Dunford, Commander, U.S. Forces – Afghanistan. June 17, 2014

James_Miller,_Under_Secretary_of_Defense_for_Policy,_answers_questions_from_the_press_after_Secretary_of_Defense_Chuck_Hagel_announced_a_change_in_U.S._missile_defense_deployment_during_a_Pentagon_press_briefingChris Kolenda is a brilliant strategic thinker who can articulate complex ideas in a simple and concise manner … Chris is a trusted advisor … [and] a superb natural leader and role model.


Excerpt from 2012 performance appraisal

James Miller, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy June 9, 2014

Petraeus_ISAFChris Kolenda is a tactical genius and strategic thinker . . . [with] an unparalleled understanding of counterinsurgency principles, he is one of our foremost COIN experts.


Excerpt from 2010 performance appraisal

General David H. Petraeus, former Commander International Security Forces - Afghanistan. June 8, 2014

Leon PanettaHis creative intellect has produced innovative strategies and solutions to seemingly intractable problems.


Excerpt from Defense Superior Service Medal citation, September 2011



Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense June 9, 2014

Secretary of Defense - Charles Timothy "Chuck" HagelA trusted and respected expert, Mr. Kolenda’s advice and counsel were instrumental in the development and adaptation of United States policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Excerpt from Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, May 2014 (the highest Department of Defense civilian medal)


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel June 17, 2014

Hal Moore[Leadership: The Warrior’s Art] is the best book on leadership in peace and war that I have even read.

Lieutenant General Harold "Hal" Moore, co-author of New York Times bestseller, We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young.

NY Times Bestselling Author Lieutenant General Harold Moore June 9, 2014