Leadership: July 1, 2001


The new U.S. Secretary of Defence (SecDef) is conducting a wide ranging survey of the Department of Defence (DoD) in order to construct a new defense policy. The new Secretary of Defence is, at 68, the oldest many to sever serve in that post. Back in the 1970s, when he was also Secretary of Defense, he was the youngest to ever serve. The new SecDef thus has a unique perspective, especially since the years between running the Pentagon were spent as a successful corporate manager. Three items have emerged so far. First, the SecDef makes no secret of his feeling that better management could save 5-10 percent of the defense budget. That's the rule of thumb for tightening up the running of a corporation. But the DoD is much more loosely, and inefficiently, run than any civilian organization. Second, the SecDef is already talking about new approaches and new methods for the 21st century military. Recognizing that Americans are reluctant to send U.S. troops overseas to get killed for anything short of something clearly in the national defense, the new military will be long on gunboat diplomacy (with missiles and long range bombers) and short on bloody infantry fighting. Third, the current crop of generals and admirals are largely being left out of the discussions. The SecDef recognizes that many of these military leaders were selected for their willingness to go along with the Clinton administrations destructive (for the military) policies. So the brass may be involved with reforms once more as soon as a new crew of military leadership is selected. 


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