Jason Redman with John R. Bruning, Foreword by Robert M. Gates
5 Stars Authentic, Humble, Healing, NOT Your “Normal” Leadership Story
This book brought tears to my eyes by page 71. This is not your “normal” leadership story. It blends three leadership stories from one personal experience: a personal failure of leadership stemming from the mix of arrogance and alcohol; a positive enabling leadership environment (not at all the norm for the Department of Defense) that helped this warrior grow; and finally, the personal triumph of being one with God, country, team, and family after being broken by wounds that would have killed most others.
For months I have been reading in the press about Robert Gates “cancelling more than 30 [defense hardware] programs.” A May 24 Bloomberg article by Viole Gienger (“Gates Says Military Cuts May Protect F-35, Submarines”) came up quick on a Google search. Other articles credit Gates with “saving more than $300 billion” with these – presumably tough – decisions.
In case you are wondering where this imagery of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as a tough task master for out of control DOD procurement is coming, you need look no further than Robert Gates.
At a May 24 farewell speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, Gates repeated his own claim, made frequently earlier, that “All told, over the past two years, more than 30 programs were cancelled, capped, or ended that, if pursued to completion, would have cost more than $300 billion.” (See the speech at http//www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=1570.) A bit later he hammered home the point in case any of the press present missed the legacy Gates seeks for himself: “when it comes to our military modernization accounts, the proverbial ‘low hanging fruit’ – those weapons and other programs considered most questionable – have not only been plucked, they have been stomped on and crushed.”
Robert Gates did not reduce the number of hardware programs in the Department of Defense; he increased them. A term he has repeatedly expressed distaste for (“math”) proves him wrong. DOD keeps periodic records on these sorts of things; DOD’s Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) track the number of major hardware programs and their acquisition costs. (Find them at http://www.acq.osd.mil/ara/am/sar/)
They show the following:
In September 2008, just before Barack Obama was elected and selected Robert Gates as his Secretary of Defense, there were 91 Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs). They were projected to cost $1,648 billion dollars.
In April 2009, Gates announced the termination of various defense programs. The SAR that next came out, in December 2009, showed the number of MDAPs had indeed declined: to 87 programs, costing a little less ($1,616 billion).
Nine months later, after Gates took some more whacks at the defense budget – if that’s what you want to call them – the SAR that came out in September 2010 showed the number of MDAPs had increased to 94. Their cost also increased – to $1,679 billion.
The most recent SAR, for December 2010, shows another increase, both in programs (to 95) and money (to $1,720 billion).
So, thanks to Secretary Gates “termination” of more than 30 programs “saving” us $300 billion, we now have an increase of four programs costing an additional $72 billion.
I have two questions:
1)Just what legacy should we be giving Mr. Gates?
2) What type of “math” will Leon Panetta use when he is made Secretary of Defense later this year?
What Next In Afghanistan? The Five People Obama Is Asking
Click on photo for full story. Grades and comments are those of Phi Beta Iota.
Vice President Joe Biden. C+. Scale back, Drones and Special Forces on high-value targets.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. F. Delusional on Taliban as lovers of Al Qaeda, listening to slick Australian on spending our way into hearts and minds.
National Security Adviser James Jones. D. Good man that does not know what he does not know, drops from a C to a D because his job is outreach and ensuring the President hears from a diversity of views, that is not happening.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. C+. A strategic savant trapped between a rock and a hard-place, his integrity fights his loyalty every day. A for the rest of the world, D for not calling AF for what it is: a blunder of epic proportions.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates. B-. Found his integrity in pushing the troop demand into the public eye after first being a loyalist. Learned from Viet-Nam that Ho was a nationalist after all, Taliban is more of the same. A lame duck while Obama decides between Chuck Hagel and John Hamre.
Administration Over-All: D. Empire as Usual, Bureaucracy as Usual, Sacrificing our Troops to Buy Time, Not Listening to Serious Experts, Not Able to Think a Strategic Thought, Not Able to Plan, Program, and Execute a Whole of Government Anything.
In the notional conversation below, Robert Steele first defends the Secretary of Defense in the context of a White House that is insanely criminal or criminally insane, and then outlines the other position, one rooted in the Constitution and the inviolate nature of Integrity as the foundation for a Republic Of, By, and For We the People.
Robert Gates as Victim
Gates was not and is not the problem. The problem on this is specifically in the White House and NSC. Gates is doing his best, but probably wishes he had not agreed to stay on. I don’t understand what you’ve got against Gates. Every military person I respect thinks the world of him. The complaints are about the WH crowd. Gates is trying to make things work–despite the WH.
Robert Gates as Enabler
Gates is an enabler. Powell left his integrity at home and allowed Cheney to commit high crimes and misdemeanors, now Gates (and Jones) are doing the same thing. Loyalty is NOT what we swear an oath to. The Constitution is ABOVE the slime in the White House and on the Hill.
My point is that the absolute most important duty of anyone who swears an Oath to defend the CONSTITUTION is to refuse illegal orders. I believe that the order to gag McChrystal on needing more troops is an illegal order, a high crime, an impeachable offense, and if Gates “goes along” as Colin Powell “went along” with the 25 high crimes and 935 lies of Dick Cheney, then Gates is — however good and intelligent a man he might be – himself guilty of an impeachable offense. This is crystal clear to me.
The classified status report from Afghanistan by Gen. Stanley McChrystal was censored by the White House before its submission. As a result, it’s all bun and no burger.
According to multiple (angry) sources, McChrystal — our top soldier on the ground — intended to ask for 28,000 more US troops. A presidential hatchet man directed the general not to make the request: Troop increases would be “addressed separately.”
. . . . . . .
Cooking the political books doesn’t win wars. It didn’t work for the Bush administration, and it won’t work for Obama. We shouldn’t waste another American life without a clear strategy our president will back with his full authority.
When the White House silences the generals in the field, it condemns our troops to the silence of the grave.
Phi Beta Iota: Old news but new anger. The “hatchet man” was Secretary of Defense Robert Gates himself, calling an urgent meeting in Europe. read the full story from August as published in Foreign Policy. Lies kill ones comrades. When the Secretary of Defense is the point man for gutting his own general in the field, it is time for the Secretary to dig deep and either resign on principle, or tell the truth to the public and Congress. The Obama Administration, and we specifically include General James Jones, USMC (Ret) is an extension of the ideological fantasy land that characterizes the two-party tyranny that represents Wall Street rather than the U.S. citizen, voter, and taxpayer. It is high time we restored the integrity of our Cabinet officials, demanded integrity of our Congress and White House, and demanded reality-driven policy that is crafted with the best interests of the American people rather than Wall Street. Zbigniew Brzezinski is behind most of this, and is long overdue for the same war criminal status that Henry Kissinger has enjoyed for the past decade, ever since being chased out of France by a warrant for his arrest.