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10 19 2020

Meet Asvin Choksi, Head of Service Management, CSU Northwood

Asvin Choksi has provided unwavering and dedicated service to NATO for 26 years. Taking on a number of different roles during this time, he currently serves as the Head of Service Management of the Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Support Unit (CSU) of the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency in Northwood, United Kingdom.

With a huge portfolio in service delivery and operational support for CIS technology, Choksi is recognized throughout the NCI Agency for his professional, exceptional performance and as a champion for transformation and innovation. During his service, he has delivered critical CIS support across NATO's maritime operations.

Alongside his primary role, Choksi volunteered and deployed to Afghanistan on Operation Resolute Support and has volunteered for a second deployment in 2021. This characterizes the loyalty and dedication that Choksi has demonstrated throughout NATO.

In July 2020, the NATO Secretary General awarded Choksi with NATO's most prestigious honour – the Meritorious Service Medal.

We asked the awardee a few questions.

Meet Asvin Choksi, Head of Service Management, CSU Northwood

Why did you choose to volunteer for deployment to Afghanistan?

I want to live in a world where I do not have to fear for my security. I want to be able to have a comfortable life, raise a family and do all the things any ordinary person wishes to do. This is exactly what NATO has achieved - by creating an environment where peace, security and the well-being of its citizens comes first. I feel honoured and privileged to serve within an organization that helps create such an environment. Volunteering for one of the most enduring efforts this organization has undergone is an extension of my belief in what NATO stands for. Whilst I have supported various missions from a static location, I felt the need to participate in a mission on the ground. Six months of my and my family's life is a small price to pay in contributing to the NATO mission.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your work for CSU Northwood and the different roles you took on in your work there? How did you overcome that challenge?

At the beginning of my career with NATO, I had been thinking of where I want to be within the organization when I retire. My vision was clear - I wanted to lead teams that deliver successful IT services in support of the NATO mission. I simply had to wait for the right time and opportunity to arise. Therefore, my biggest challenge was the transition from an engineering to a more managerial role. The key to success was experience and a broader education in management, which is where my participation in an MBA programme and the more focused NATO Executive Development Programme helped to fill a gap. The other key element was an opportunity, which came in the shape of the transition to NCI Agency in 2012.

What advice can you give someone who has to carry out a number of complicated roles like you have done during your time at CSU Northwood?

The key to success is manifold. You need to believe in yourself and the people you work with, they are equally important to your success. Of course, different parts of the organization will have different perspectives but regardless of our individual perspectives, we must remain focussed on the customer. At the end, it is about the NATO mission and every user has a part to play in its success. The NCI Agency enables that success through a successful delivery of services to the end users.