I think he has made a significant error, one that will have long lasting negative consequences for our national security intellectual capital.
In a June 4 memo labeled "Guidance," Defense Secretary Ash Carter outlined a subtle shift for the Pentagon's renowned Office of Net Assessment and its new director, retired Air Force Col. Jim Baker. With Carter's memo, the office, which traditionally looked toward the horizon when it comes to defense concerns, will incorporate more of today's issues in its analyses.ONA's value proposition is based on one thing - it isn't caught up in the POM cycle crunch ... the CNN effect ... the personality driven priorities of the present ... the political flavor of the day.
It is the long view, it is the big picture, the "what's next" after the "what's next." It isn't the eyes searching the horizon; it is not the cupped ear ... no ... it is the elder with his head to the ground, feeling for what is missed by the other more obvious and immediate senses.
"Your work remains future focused, but you must ensure the team's work has present relevance to me."This the toxic quote. This is where the corrosion will begin on a national asset; self-inflicted damage to our collective intellect.
Woven throughout the DOD nomenklatura, we have legions of people, uniformed and civilian with billions of dedicated budgetary dollars, working on the present and immediate future. If that isn't enough to serve the needs of the Secretary to the degree that we have to dilute and degrade ONA's core competency, then I would argue that the SECDEF's restructuring and re-missioning is being focused in the wrong direction.
Bookmark this; circa 2025 when a black swan defiles our national security assumptions and everyone around the table is going ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ you can look back to this moment and go, "Well, we used to see these emerging challenges earlier, but then ...."
As a great man messaged me yesterday; sigh.