When an After Action Report is developed it should be based on facts observed and discovered during the exercise. Sometimes, editorials and opinions make their way into the feedback and documented findings that are used to create the AAR. These reports should never be altered and should be retained as originally submitted. However, not every opinion needs to be nor should be included in the official AAR.
This is especially true when it is discovered that many issues raised are tied to a particular senior person in the organization. If these issues are brought out in the exercise injects, debrief, and written evaluations, then it is up to the facilitator who is developing the AAR to determine how best to manage this situation.
I have found that there is either very good reasons for the comments or that the comments are complete bunk, as in the case where the senior person is disliked or has taken a hard stand and individuals have used the exercise as an opportunity to ‘get back’.
In the former case, when there is some merit to the raised issues, I believe a one-on-one direct conversation with the senior person is appropriate. The discussion should be honest and the data should be shared. Often times a seasoned professional will very aptly manage the feedback and may go public directly and ask for help in making things better. The opposite could also happen and that could be a ‘career limiting move’ on the part of the exercise facilitator.
In the end, the person responsible for the AAR must present a fact-based set of lessons learned that are focused on the objectives and not any one individual. The collective organization owns the responsibility to make improvements and that should be the focus of the follow up.