Thursday, January 29, 2009

I feel so lightheaded ....

Meg gets close to describing almost how Dr. Harvey M. Sapolsky of MIT makes me feel after reading his bit in the JAN09 Proceedings.

From your lips to the SECDEF's ears ...
Nevertheless, some ideas, perhaps not all that new, will never appear in a National Defense University report or be aired in a Brookings Institution seminar. But Secretary Gates, old hand that he is, ought to be apprised of them.
But hey, it'll make it to CDR Salamander.

I'm not with all the good Dr.'s ideas - but I don't want to quibble about that stuff. Let's start to bask in the awesomeness; shall we?
First, the Office of the Secretary of Defense should stop preaching jointness. The services' inherent rivalry should be tapped, not suppressed. It is good that we have big, proud, and overlapping armed services. The overlap allows for comparisons, and the scale and pride provide the opportunity to follow a different path when one becomes apparent. Not much that goes wrong with our military can fairly be attributed to the parochialism of the armed services.

On the contrary, inter-service competition has been the source of much of our strength. The Navy's determination to get into the nuclear weapons game gave us solid-fueled rockets and the submarine-launched ballistic missile. Our four—or is it five?—air forces ensure that we have theater air dominance, the best helicopters, the longest logistical reach, and the constant urge to improve performance. Navy aircraft and tactics saved the day over North Vietnam, and Air Force technology allowed us to penetrate defenses in the Balkans and Iraq.
Just the foreplay.
Finally, it is important that Secretary Gates call a moratorium on changing management systems. DOD does not need more of this kind of change, but less. Military commanders and SecDefs have relatively short tenures. Each commander and each Secretary apparently feels compelled to leave his or her mark in the form of a reorganization or management scheme. It is TQM or Lean Six Sigma or privatization or base consolidation, and on and on. One new scheme is announced before the other is fully fielded. Civilian servants, contractors, and service personnel are constantly in organizational turmoil, attending training sessions, learning new buzzwords and acronyms, and being assessed on their adherence to newly mandated procedures and standards.

The war might be just the needed excuse for Secretary Gates to call a long halt to this wasteful obsession with management fads and reorganizations. Most of the change imposed produces little of observable value. DOD under any imaginable scheme will surely remain a huge, complex, hard-to-fathom, nearly impossible-to-run organization.
I am sated and now need a smoke.

Hat tip Eagle1.

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