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Former CIA chief advises dealing with hardest risks

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Institutions, whether businesses or governments, must react and adapt to changing and disruptive influences in order to survive and thrive, former Secretary of Defense, CIA Director and Texas A&M University President Robert Gates said Monday at the Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America's annual meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Mr. Gates served as the 22nd secretary of Defense from 2006-2011 and was the only person ever to be asked to remain in that post by an incoming president when Barack Obama took office in 2008.

Speaking at the conference Monday morning, he compared his former realm of national security with the insurance industry.

“One thing that the insurance and national security professions have in common is that we're both in the business of assessing and balancing risk,” Mr. Gates said.

Americans must react to the changing circumstance around themselves, Mr. Gates said.

“The tectonic plates of the post-Cold War international system are shifting.

This disruptive transformation abroad argues for significant institutional transformation here at home,” said Mr. Gates of the world tumult, referring repeatedly to the unsettled Middle East as an example.

He stressed the importance of dealing with often-difficult and stressful changes in one's world.

“America's National Security institutions for defense, diplomacy and intelligence must adapt in accordance with these realities,” he said.