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Current Topic: Military

Interview with Secretary Rumsfeld on the Charlie Rose Show
Topic: Military 8:43 pm EST, Feb 23, 2006

Silver star.

This is better with the audio/video, but the transcript is still quite worthwhile.

Rose: Did you get what you needed from the budget in order to carry out the kinds of thing that is you think are a part of this battle against terrorism, this long war, and this attitude that you're reflecting now? In terms of the kind – how you're shifting from a Cold War to a different war.

Rumsfeld: The budget is fine. It's going to --
Rose: You can live with it?
Rumsfeld: We can live with it and we ought to do a better job of spending it. In other words, it is --
Rose: In terms of weapon systems?
Rumsfeld: Well, no. Weapons systems are one thing. Everyone talks about this airplane or that ship.
Rose: Right.

Rumsfeld: I'm more interested in intelligence gathering, connecting intelligence to the operations in real time so that you can actually stop something from happening. That's what we need to get better at. It is the soft stuff. It is the connectors. In linking the services in a way that you leverage that capability. Increasing precision in your attacks. Speeding data to the user, the person who needs it. The operator of that -- to have that data in his hands so something good can come of it. That's what we need. Sure, we have to worry about platforms and ships and guns and tanks and planes and that stuff. That is not what the department of defense has to be about.

MemeStreams is what it has to be about.

And the paragraph highlighted above is going on a posterboard in my office.

Interview with Secretary Rumsfeld on the Charlie Rose Show

Propaganda Effort in Iraq a Mistake, Rumsfeld Says
Topic: Military 11:48 pm EST, Feb 18, 2006

"When we heard about it, we said, 'Gee, that's not what we ought to be doing,'" Rumsfeld said Friday.

Propaganda Effort in Iraq a Mistake, Rumsfeld Says

US Quadrennial Defense Review Reveals a Strategy Void
Topic: Military 1:28 pm EST, Feb 18, 2006

In place of prioritization of threats, the QDR presented a dizzying array of dangers, including traditional threats from "near-peer powers", "disruptive catastrophic threats", humanitarian crises, terrorist actions, proliferation of WMD's to hostile states, prolonged "irregular" conflicts following regime change, and failed states. In addressing these unranked challenges, the drafters of the QDR generated their wish list, with each item presented as equally essential as the others.

The high concept of the QDR that unites the pile-up of programs is that US military strategy must be "capabilities-driven" rather than "threat-driven." That is the only conclusion that can follow from the judgment that the threat environment is inherently uncertain and unpredictable; any imaginable threat must be prepared for if its probability of presenting itself is unknown.

Starting in 2003, I found myself frequently using the mock-slogan "Focus on Everything" to describe the propensity to refrain from the most basic prioritization tasks. I see this behavior as part of an overall strategy of conflict avoidance [in the inter-personal, not geopolitical, sense].

All too often these days, when faced with the prospect of an unpleasant argument as a barrier to progress, many people would rather agree to disagree. "Progress is overrated," they might admit in a rare moment of candor.

This is a significant problem with long-term strategic implications.

Perhaps it is an outgrowth of political correctness?

US Quadrennial Defense Review Reveals a Strategy Void

SOCOM Needs Ad Men [or, General Memetics Corporation]
Topic: Military 10:58 am EST, Feb 18, 2006

"I believe with every bone in my body that free people, exposed to sufficient information, will, over time, find their way to right decisions," Rumsfeld said.

Every bone?

I found it interesting that the original headline for this article read, "U.S. Must Outdo Terrorists", but it was changed to "U.S. Must Adapt" for the link on the DefenseLink home page.

SOCOM Needs Ad Men [or, General Memetics Corporation]

Rumsfeld Roundup
Topic: Military 7:27 am EST, Feb 13, 2006

A Small Change In Plan

As government documents go, the QDR came wreathed in glamour, like a new novel from Tom Wolfe, grand and rare.

If you read closely in the barrage of weighty tomes they put out in recent days, you might discover that the Rumsfeld era is over, and Rumsfeld lost.

"The number of books translated by the whole Arab world over the past thousand years is equivalent to the numbers of books translated by Spain in one year."

Rumsfeld's Algeria Agenda: Arms Sales and Closer Ties

"They have things they desire, and we have things we can be helpful with."

"It's instructive for us to realize that the struggle we're in is not unlike the struggle that the people of Algeria went through."

Rumsfeld Jokes Ready to Run Horse Ranch

Ranch manager Amid Abdelhamid showed Rumsfeld such items as a saddle fashioned from crocodile skin and explained, among other things, the pros and cons of using frozen sperm to breed horses. He also told Rumsfeld of his travels searching to buy the world's best horses.

"You've got the best job in the world," Rumsfeld told Abdelhamid. "Any time you want to trade jobs, I'll do it."

"You're doin' a heckuva job, Rummy!"

Mr. Rumsfeld's Flawed Vision

Rumsfeld's Quadrennial Defense Review, delivered last week in sync with the Pentagon's budget proposal for fiscal 2007, is a disappointment. While it envisions a partial adjustment of the armed forces to what it calls "the long war," it dodges almost all the hard decisions that Mr. Rumsfeld should have made.

Rumsfeld merely bequeaths to his successor the tough decisions about weapons. One thing that military analysts agree on is that, even given the 40 percent increase in defense spending during the Bush administration -- including 7 percent for next year -- there will not be enough money to pay for the four dozen systems under development.

Max Boot on QDR and '07 Budget

The entire budget for language and cultural training -- $181 million -- comes to less than the cost of one F-35.

Attack submarines, aircraft carriers, and fighter aircraft may be glamorous, but they are almost entirely useless.

Miscalls on QDR

"Compelled by a militant ideology that celebrates murder and suicide, with no territory to defend, with little to lose, they will either succeed in changing our way of life or we will succeed in changing theirs."

It would be difficult for war objectives to be stated in more maximalist terms. Either they will succeed in turning us into Taliban-style Muslims or we will turn them into happy consumers in globalism's Brave New World. Since most Americans would rather be dead than Talibans and most pious Muslims would rather perish than lose their souls to Brave New World, Rumsfeld has proclaimed a war of mutual annihilation. That will indeed be another Thirty Years' War, with little chance of a renewed Westphalian order as the outcome.

Pentagon Review Calls for No Big Changes
Topic: Military 6:42 am EST, Feb  2, 2006

"In a sense, a lot of these tough choices are kicked down the road."

"A lot of times the analysis did not support a lot of trendy ideas."

Pentagon Review Calls for No Big Changes

DoD News: Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey Interview with the Rush Limbaugh Show
Topic: Military 10:30 am EST, Jan 30, 2006

"Let me say the conclusion that the Army is broke or the Army is stretched severely thin, we don’t agree with, um, ‘thank you very much for your point of view, but we don’t agree,’ because today’s Army without a question is the most capable, best trained, best equipped, best led and most experienced force this nation has fielded in well over a decade, so I can tell you the Army is performing magnificently."

Does that "well over a decade" caveat strike anyone else as rather odd? Basically, he is saying that the Army suffered from the "peace dividend" in the early 1990's, but that the force of the 1980's was more capable, better trained, better equipped, better led, and more experienced than the one we have today.

Last year we had the highest retention rate in the Army we’ve had in five years ...

Pay no attention to the stop loss orders [1,2,3,4] ...

[From 4] The Army's Stop-Loss program, initiated in November 2002, allows it to indefinitely extend the term of active duty soldiers past their scheduled release date.

That means that for thousands of soldiers, the contract they signed pledging 8 years of service no longer holds any weight.

DoD News: Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey Interview with the Rush Limbaugh Show

Key excerpts from the 18 January 2006 draft of the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review
Topic: Military 6:29 pm EST, Jan 26, 2006

Editor's note: On 22 January 2006, published 42 pages of material excerpted from a 127-page 18 January 2006 "draft working paper" version of the QDR. This is a selection (about 6% of the total QDR text) of those excerpts designated "key" by this editor.

You may also be interested in this Defense News article, QDR Boosts Special Forces; Draft Review Cuts No Major Programs from 23 January.

Here are some of the excerpts:

Future warriors will be as proficient in irregular operations, including counterinsurgency and stabilization operations, as they are today in high-intensity combat.

To achieve the future force characteristics for SOF and build on progress to date, the Department will:

* Further increase SOF capability and capacity to conduct low-visibility, persistent presence missions and a global unconventional warfare campaign.
* Increase (starting in Fiscal Year 2007) active-duty Special Forces Battalions by one-third.
* Expand Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs units by 3,500 personnel (33% increase) to provide increased support for SOF and the Army's modular forces.
* Establish a Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) composed of 2,600 Marines and Navy personnel to train foreign military units, and conduct direct action and special reconnaissance.
* Increase SEAL Team force levels to conduct direct action missions.
* Establish a SOF unmanned aerial vehicle squadron to provide organic capabilities to locate and target enemy capabilities in denied or contested areas.
* Enhance capabilities to support SOF insertion and extraction into denied areas from strategic distances.

The report calls for a new approach to the Transformational Satellite program: to "spiral develop" its capabilities instead of trying to field all of the expected technology at one time — and replan the satellite launches accordingly.

Key excerpts from the 18 January 2006 draft of the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review

DefenseLINK News: Contracts
Topic: Military 6:25 pm EST, Jan 26, 2006

Contracts valued at $5 million or more are announced each business day at 5 p.m. Contract announcements issued within the past 30 days are listed below.

DefenseLINK News: Contracts

DISA Fights Turnover With Telecommuting
Topic: Military 1:07 pm EST, Jan 26, 2006

In a nutshell:

1) To save money, DoD decides to close all DISA offices in the National Capital Region and relocate them to Fort Meade.

2) DISA polls its employees, looking for issues with the relocation. Half of the employees say they'd rather quit than move.

3) As an incentive to stay, DISA offers to let employees work from home up to two days a week.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

DISA Fights Turnover With Telecommuting

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