Friday, November 28, 2014

Three Secretaries of Defense Resigned/Fired on Obama’s Watch !
Now is the time to redefine what a 21st Century Secretary of Defense should be in this changing world.  As you many of you know by now, I will often take a bad situation in our National Security and try to make something constructive out of it or at least, reformulate a new understanding of the problem at hand. America requires a military leader that is competent, powerful and understands that we are operating in a new age but who also can advantage the lessons of the past. Yet we have been witnessing an assortment of good men performing poorly or not at all in overseeing a military of close to 2.2 million personnel.
Now I will redefine the role of a 21st Century Secretary of Defense who must address the protean issues confronting our forces all over the world including: terrorism in general; ISIS in Iraq/Syria; Russia/Putin incursions;  Chinese naval/military expansion in the South China Sea/Indian Ocean;  Middle East nation-state implosions; cybersecurity; space warfare; naval warfare etc. Just enumerating the problems confronting the new Sec Defense is exhausting, if not debilitating. The multitude of these problems implies the notion that no one person is capable of dealing with all of these issues. In reality that may be true.

However, like a Medical Emergency Room, the Pentagon with its widespread military commitments is akin to the diversity of problems that we, doctors, have to treat on a seemingly ad hoc basis, 24/7. I am not suggesting that a physician become the new Sec Defense but the characteristics of an effective ER doctor might apply to the redefinition of what the new Sec Def might require in order to perform his/her job properly, if not magnificently.

This new Sec Def will have to possess the ability and experience to read the personalities and capabilities of the senior military leadership quickly.  No Sec Def had a better assessment of his personnel than George Marshal who dismissed over six hundred senior military personnel and appointed George Patton, [Colonel] Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, and the greatest narcissist of all, Douglas MacArthur, to key positions for implementing a two war strategy. I am not advocating a complete house cleaning because that would serve no purpose, other than instilling massive fear into an already disfunctional system. What I am advocating for is a candidate who has been tutored and experienced in working with a myriad of military personnel in a smorgasbord of combat scenarios from counter-terrorism to cyber-warfare; naval containment of worldwide sea lanes; selective use of Special Forces [which would not open their collective mouths as the SEAL TEAMS have done]; space warfare; submarine warfare; and ‘Regime Change’.

Clearly this is quite a daunting task. Few of our past six Sec. Def. have been good at any of these let alone a multiple of these skills. None of them have been really trained specifically to deal with large groups of different personalities; and equally important, none of them, be they of either party, have experienced combat, let alone understand the dynamics of terrorism, counter insurgence or regime change.
Our current military has some unique qualities. It is now populated by the warrior/scholar which means that the intellectual demands of leadership are far more rigorous than in the past. There will be many challenges to decisions on strategy by underlings. The new Sec of Def must be ready to delineate plans in theoretical terms as well as providing references to past failures and successes.  After the Chairman of the JCS achieves a military consensus, it requires him/her to impose it on the White House and all other ancillary bodies of intelligence, logistics and implementation.
The new Sec Def must be able to pivot back and forth to address the different military strategies and tactics required by the specific regional conflict. What may work in Syria may not work in North Africa. Similarly, cyber warfare may not be appropriate to the penetration of groups like ISIS which may involve an incredible effort on behalf of all types of HUMINT from a variety of countries and esoteric sources.

Most likely, neither academia nor politics will provide this type of individual who is really a polymath of military/psychological/managerial talents rarely found in a political loyalist turned adversary [a la Panetta and Gates]. Our country has always discovered these unusual individuals at times of need. George Marshal was a quiet self-effacing southern military officer, trained at Virginia Military Institute [VMI] and not at West Point.
America needs to identify the Black Swans of International Foreign Security and can no longer rely on the outdated, outmoded military academies [West Point, Annapolis], think tanks [Brookings, Heritage, RAND];  nor non-governmental institutions like the dormant Council On Foreign Relations. New times require new types of leaders who have been versed in all matter of war and its consequences.
Our new Sec Def must first listen, learn and then decide. Then he/she must execute a strategy or different strategies; articulate the Rules of Engagement [ROE]; and most importantly, know how to terminate the conflict and leave without any residue of regret or resurgence of the initial problem. It’s a formidable task for someone that must have unusual skills. The least of which is the need to inject his/her narcissism into the front pages of our newspapers; nor the sadistic need to brow-beat our senior officers into submission of military plan that would never work.
Times are a changing. Now it’s time for a new type of American leader –be it in war, or in peace. For the reality is that war and peace are truly inseparable. In times of turbulence, our Black Swans have often arisen in the past, into the maelstroms of our discontent, and have been able to allay our greatest fears, seamlessly.

Interestingly enough, General George Marshall, later Secretary of State, never wrote of his exploits as the most successful Sec Def. in the history of our country. Modesty and competency are extremely rare virtues in our modern times.

The less the medical doctor explains the complicated procedure of healing the sick patient, the more successful will be the outcome. Titrate expectations! Under promise and over deliver. Can we do that in the 21st Century?


  1. it is never good to fight with military unit while it is in battle formation, best is put let them to be in column as they always do (i do not know why they like it but every military unit just do it even they do not need that because of GPS today, but ok) and then while they are in column attack them and run away...

    1. if you want to win a war, use new weapon but only in overwhelming numbers... let s look submarines, used in WWI in small numbers, could have won war for Germany, than AGAIN in WWII in small numbers, again could have won war Germany... Military is the most conservative institution to adopt new thing on world but biggest inventor on world

    2. if you want to destroy one fortified camp alone, best way is to get closer at night, scare all animals around just by silently moving around camp so that all animals get silent, than that 100% silence in night will get camp guards to go crazy, than just wait and make them panic and to start shooting without reason.... and after they shoot, guess what, even more of silence is coming

  2. Senator Lowell Wicher spent a career in Congress gathering talent around him and criticizing and analyzing everything about the Defense Department. But when Clinton tapped him to become SecDef he totally imploded into nonesense!

    The best SecDef I can recall wasn't Marshall but modest little Harold Brown. Brown came from DARPA and was a "wonk" in the best sense. He repaired the forces RATIONALLY after the debacle of the Ford Administration, and re-built everything from the ground up in a sensible and professional way.

    Then Weinburger came in and everything became nuts again.

    Maine's Senator Cohen like Weinburger came from a Jewish family and had a Jewish name but those two people passed as non-Jews their whole lives for some reason. Anyway Cohen was not a bad SecDef either.

    What's needed is another Harold Brown, a technocrat who knows his way around the system and who can make sane choices.

    Frankly I think the US can scale back a lot and not compromise the real security of any American and still intervene selectively when necessary. I think Germany spends 1.5% of GDP on defense and I think the US should shoot for 2.5% rather than the 6% or so now going on. We have to remember that the wounded vetrerans of the last wars will require monies for the next hundred years.... By the time they're in middle age medical advances may increase lifespans by several decades.

    In terms of missions I think these should be the ranking....

    Cyberwarefare, both defensive and offensive, should be the first priority.

    Maintenance of foreign bases should be scaled way back. We don't need facilities in so many places. It's a useless bureaucracy.

    Scale back the Navy to five carrier battle groups. Eliminate the new jets, F-35 and whatever. Rely on the B-2 and existing tacair.

    I can't speak to Anti-Satellite warfare and such but these areas pertain only to adversaries like Russia and China who rely on them and war with them would mean nuclear war so there's little point in spending on that.....rely on nuclear deterrence and forget about space capabilities...It's what Eisenhower would have done.

    Scale back the General Purpose Forces by as much as one half. Keep tacair and strategic air in place.

    Keep the submarine force in place but with no expansions.

    Special forces can remain the same or expand somewhat. Maintaining a "robust" SF capability would be "cool...awesome" for those missions like harrassing assholes and hit and run attacks on weirdo freaks like ISIS and their ilk.

    Don't worry about Ukraine. Let the Europeans quarrel with Russia over that. Even if Ukraine were invaded tomorrow no American would be harmed so chill out about it.

    As for China they're not going to invade the US so as long as they stay in their own backyard leave them be. Don't "re-orient" anything or do anything to provoke them. Doing so will only make them rachet up their forces so chill out about them too. Afterall what would we think if they suddenly took exception to our dominance of the western hemisphere? It doesn't make any sense so let them have their sphere and we'll have ours.

    Let's all get along and spend less and finally have a peace dividend because WE WILL NEED IT.

  3. Aside from force planning and employment policies we simple must have a SecDef who is a decent personnel manager.

    The Israelis have many females in their ranks and there's no rape or harrassment there, but the US is full of Mexicans, negros, Puerto Ricans and there you have it. Rape and harrassment of cute girls in the American military is widespread because of the scum we have in our services and we need to put an end to this shit and start jailing these assholes when they step out of line.

    And everytime a carrier comes back from port there are dozens, sometimes a hundred or more, pregnant girls on board....

    We must end all this fraternaization immediately because what's going on is that many of these girls are fucking their commanders in exchange for priviledges and that shit has to stop right now.

    The US military is a fucking whore house.

    SecDefs come from areas of society that don't have a fucking thing to do with the realities of life for ordinary people.

  4. Maybe Obama should ask Colin Powell to come back. Why not?

  5. Let Powell, Obama and Rice form an "all-soul" triumverant of people of color listening to the "Delfonics" and "Stylistics" as they plan the nation's defenses.

    Let's hope they have to taste to steer clear of Beyonce and 'Lil Wayne.....

  6. Now on policy let's make this very clear....

    The Iranians after 9-11 "reached out" to the US once again for reapproachment, and if Bush and Cheney had taken them up on this INSTEAD OF MAKING WAR ON THEM....the Iranians might never have started their nuclear program.

    Now they have so let's negotitate an end to their program in exchange for real entente.

    We must..must..must...end our alliance with Saudi Arabia and Israel.

    Iran is the biggest power there, always will be, and the Shi'a are going to control Iraq and come alive in Saudi Arabia so we must join the winning team.

    In the same way that sound policy in CIA and the Nixon White House in 1970 saved Americans from terrorism by forming alliances with Kadaffi and Idi Amin.....

    Today we must form our alliance with Iran and the Shi'a of the region.

    Only by doing this can we contain Saudi/Israel hegemony and antics. Also we can gain some much needed leverage with the Iranians and perhaps get them to scale back if they over-reach.....

    It's what the Iranians have been wanted for decades so let's start the re-alignment today and let the Saudis and Salifists know their days are over.

    1. Ideology in this matter crys out for subserviance to realpolitik. This is the kind of situation where realpolitik is necessary.