Rule #3: Exit gracefully!
As I read and hear about the accounts and comments regarding the release of Bowe Bergdahl, I am struck by the hand-wringing over the question of whether or not we should negotiate against terrorists. There are those who stand strongly on the side of NEVER and a growing number believing we should. The NEVER crowd suffers from antiquated thinking and fails to understand hostage negotiations and recovery is constantly evolving. It is constantly evolving because we are more flexible than ever in our approach in resolving incidents. This flexibility is a byproduct of our willingness to learn from each mission, incident or job we (or someone else) handle. As someone much smarter than me wrote in an article recently, each critical incident that we have handled is a prelude to the next. If we, as negotiators maintained the status quo of how we were trained and operated in the early 1970s I would venture to say that our success rate would not be as high as it is today.