The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Friday, July 5, 2024

"Fixing the Military requires a dying art called Leadership"


This ties in with the post I posted a week ago?, I shamelessly snagged this off "Townhall.com".  The rot started in the mid 90's under the Clinton administration with the "Political Zampolits" that Hillary was espousing pushing for women's rights even to the determent of the service. and it expanded its fiefdom as succeeding democrat presidents  and influential politicians pushed the agenda to be all encompassing. to include all "Marginalized groups" which means basically anyone that isn't white and male...unless you are gay.  Then people wonder why there is a huge recruiting gap when the red state kids ain't signing up because they ain't buying what you are selling.  

On this Independence Day, we all know our military has been shattered into fragments of what it was back in the early 1990s, when it was the undisputed most lethal force on earth and certainly one of the greatest armies in human history. America’s victory in Desert Storm, nearly forgotten by a force now more concerned with the strategic threat allegedly posed by warm weather and with catering to the gender-delusional, was on par with the victories of Hannibal, Alexander, and Caesar. That’s no exaggeration. A Cold War military that spent decades ready to hold the Fulda Gap against the red hordes annihilated a nation’s entire military in 100 hours and barely broke a sweat. But today, our military is a disaster. It can’t win wars and it can’t even convince normal Americans to join or stay very long if they do. This disaster has to be undone, and only a Trump victory can do that. Another Biden term and it’s over, but after President Golem botched the debate we have a good chance of getting Trump 2.0 and a shot at rescuing our men and women in uniform from the Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon.

So, how do you go about fixing the Pentagon? 

You start with leadership. Not just shinier stuff. Not smarter policies. Not better plans. Good, solid, old-fashioned leadership. That’s the key.

Yes, we have terrible procurement problems. Our equipment is aging, and we cannot seem to buy effective new gear for a reasonable price within a reasonable timeframe. And yes, we are a strategic mess, with a senior officer corps that has failed to grapple with our real enemies and instead focuses on the trendy boogeymen that terrify leftist civilian poobahs, like “extremism” and the climate hoax. But the most pressing issue our military faces is cultural. Without morale, and without a laser-focus on winning, you will fail. Our military today is less a military than a huge, woke HR department that occasionally drops bombs. 

War is a people business. Our people are alienated. They feel abused and betrayed because they have been. They sense our strategic drift. They do not trust our uniformed leaders, and not unreasonably. The generals’ and admirals’ grotesque betrayal of the troops during COVID was a disaster, but that was only one of many failures. Getting our troops killed in Kabul – with no accountability for the people in charge might I add – was another. Whoever put our magnificent warriors at Abbey Gate under those conditions should be making big rocks into little rocks at Leavenworth, not enjoying a cush retirement gig on the board of some outfit like Boeing.

But heaven forbid a trooper misplace his M4 – now that’s a real crisis!

We need real military leadership again, starting at the top. We need a new commander-in-chief, but we also need a new Secretary of Defense, one who leads our military instead of managing it. He cannot be a bureaucrat cloistered in a fancy office in the Pentagon and hope to fix this mess. The Secretary of Defense, though a civilian, is in the chain of command, so he should command. He must get his intent out there in no uncertain terms. He must expect that his orders reforming the military be swiftly and efficiently carried out. And he must nuke any resistance he gets without hesitation or mercy.

A commander who doesn’t command is no commander. He’s a joke, a clown, a Vindman. We’ve had far too many of them in the officer corps for far too long.

The next Secretary of Defense must be a veteran, someone who has commanded soldiers in uniform. Certainly, the task facing the next Trump SecDef is a bit more complex than that of a new company or battalion commander taking command, but the principles of leadership are the same. You take “command.” You don’t take “suggestion.” You don’t take “go along, get along.” You take command.

You get one chance to set the tone. Go in soft, and ramping up is nearly impossible when you find people are not doing what you direct. Go in hard. Firm. Clear. Not jerky, not obnoxious. Too often bad leaders mistake angry and mean for clear and firm. The troops want a commander who takes charge and sets out a clear and commonsense intent to accomplish the mission. He must give the orders – not suggestions – to move the military toward his objective, a lethal combat-oriented force. The new SecDef needs to do that on Day One.

How does this work in practice? What does it look like at the Pentagon on Day One of the Second Trump administration? 

He must immediately re-establish that the United States Armed Forces is a military organization and will function as such. This is a resource-tight environment – there’s no time or money for fluff or nonsense. Anything that does not go toward deterring or destroying America’s enemies must go. That’s the guiding principle, and he must take steps to implement that by making unequivocal changes to the current regime.

First, get rid of DEI. It’s done, over, gone. No more “X Month,” not more babble about how “diversity is our strength.” Our strength is our strength, meaning our ability to kill the enemy. The diversity pap posters come down, the civilian DEI personnel are terminated as excess, and any uniformed personnel in DEI slots are reassigned to real jobs. This will be accomplished in seven days; each joint chief will report personally to the SecDef that it has been done. When asked if his order has been carried out, the only acceptable answer is “Yes, sir.”


Some of those joint chiefs will be new because some are getting retired on Day One. They are lucky – in the future, fired generals and admirals will not be allowed to retire at their current rank. Relieved officers will be retired at the rank at which they last served satisfactorily, and that’s never the rank they held when they were fired. This innovative personnel management policy will work wonders to focus the attention and action of our senior military leaders.

Second, the priority is fighting and the skills that go along with fighting. No more climate hoax nonsense, no more babble about green tanks, no more non-military military education—the military academies and war colleges have lost their way. Their job is to turn out killers. Too often, they turn out woke losers. Fire the heads of all the service schools and replace them with new leaders who get that their mission is to churn out fighters, not schmoozers.

Third, rebuild the trust the military lost because of its COVID policies and the pandemic of toxic leaders at the unit level. Focus on unit-level leadership. Make it clear that the noncommissioned officer corps is the backbone of the military – it’s what made our military work back when it did work. There is such thing as “NCO business” that officers should have no part of – officers don’t know how to conduct sergeant’s business, and when they try, they not only screw up but they tell their NCOs that they don’t trust them. The SecDef’s choice – he must make it his choice – for the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC) is a critical one. The SecDef should snag the SEAC from the chairman and keep him close by his side as his personal sanity tester and bullSchiff detector.


He must rebuild the officer corps. Too often, our troops see not warfighters but timeservers and ticket-punchers in command who chose their careers over taking care of their troops. That needs to end. Not everyone is fit to be a commander even if they hold the required rank – the formal board system to assign officers to command slots has failed. The new SecDef must take a hands-on approach to pick aggressive, capable future leaders within the force as George Marshall did with his legendary notebook of officers to watch. Scrap the boards and have the SecDef and his designees manage the officer corps directly. Personnel is policy. The SecDef must pick his team down to the O5 (lieutenant colonel and Navy commander) level. Some will call subjective assignments unfair; what’s unfair is saddling our troops with commanders who look good on paper but can’t lead or fight.

The bureaucracy will attempt to bury the SecDef in the bowels of the Pentagon so it can co-opt him using the mushroom treatment – keep him in the dark and feed him manure. He must physically break out of there and reserve blocks of time to visit the field. He should start Day One by walking the Pentagon halls and dropping in on his troops – it’s called “leadership by walking around,” and it works. 

He needs to make short-notice trips to see what’s really happening elsewhere. “Ladies and gentlemen, this afternoon I am flying to – let’s see – how about Newport News to look at ships? I want a helicopter on the pad in an hour. Don’t tell the base commander. It’ll be a surprise.” And then he needs to go, along with some Navy subject matter expert straphangers, and ask questions like, “Admiral, why is that destroyer covered in rust instead of gleaming? Wait, let me ask your second-in-command because he’s now in charge since you are relieved.”


The SecDef cannot be everywhere, so he needs personal representatives outside of Pentagon channels to visit bases to find out the ground truth in the field and reinforce the SecDef’s intent. They should be pairs of retired senior officers and senior noncommissioned officers. Having NCO participation is critical. Private Jones knows the real story but he won’t tell some retired colonel. He will tell a retired first sergeant. These Special Representatives of the Secretary of Defense will be his independent eyes and ears. They need a travel budget and the credentials that make clear that they are present on the SecDef’s personal behalf. After the first general who tells the SecDef’s reps they can’t come onto his airbase gets relieved, that will be the end of the overt resistance.

But there will be covert resistance to the SecDef’s reforms. That’s why he must trim the Pentagon’s bloated civilian staff starting Day One. There is a lot of talk about how you cannot fire civil service personnel. That’s not so – you just have to do it right. And you don’t necessarily need to fire them – you can solve the problem by transferring them. Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska will get a bunch of new civilian workers. But mostly you have to work the system. Fire them or move them and then let them fight it. By the time their case is resolved, the SecDef will be retired and the lazy civil servant will be old.

There are many specific things the new SecDef must do, but a single general one. He must lead. This next Secretary of Defense cannot be a bureaucrat and hope to fix the primary problem with our military – the fact that it has stopped functioning like a military. This is why we fail to win wars. This is why our enlistees and junior officers leave the service. This is why vets dissuade young people from joining. We definitely cannot have another failure like Robert McNamara or Mark Esper. But we also do not necessarily need a George Patton or a Douglas MacArthur. Another George Marshall or Dwight Eisenhower, commanders who commanded without fanfare, would be great. Regardless, we need a real leader in the Pentagon. And starting Day One of Trump 2.0, he needs to lead.

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