Where is Sam Damon?

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Barack Obama may recruit Robert Gates

I think Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has done an amazing job during his tenure at the Pentagon and think he should be seriously considered to stay in his current position in either administration. Gates has recognized the major problems at the DoD and acted to fix them. He has criticized the Air Force for its overspending and refusal to support the ground troops. He fired the Secretary of the Air Force and Air Force Chief of Staff due to a nuclear warhead controversy, but, in reality, it had just as much to do with the Air Force's refusal to support the two current wars. To emphasize this point, he appointed a cargo pilot, which is a slap in the face to the fighter pilot dominated establishment and epitomizes a support focus, as Air Force Chief of Staff. Gates has done a great job and although there are other good candidates, if I were playing CQ Politics' Cabinet Maker, he would be my choice for Secretary of Defense.

Other recent articles on Gates:

Gates Criticizes Conventional Focus At Start of Iraq War

While having a military skilled in fighting major conventional ground wars is essential, Gates said, such a war is unlikely in the near future. Yet the Pentagon has placed comparatively too much emphasis on developing high-technology weapon systems aimed at potential state adversaries such as China or Russia that take years to develop, he said, noting that the 2009 budget contains more than $180 billion for such conventional systems.

Such weapons often envision a computerized, idealized version of warfare that Gates suggested is unrealistic.

"Be skeptical of systems analysis, computer models, game theories," he warned, adding that officers should "look askance" at notions of future conflict that imply "adversaries can be cowed, shocked or awed into submission, instead of being tracked down, hilltop by hilltop, house by house."

Instead, Gates said, the Pentagon needs to be able to rapidly purchase and field more low-tech capabilities. "Our conventional modernization programs seek a 99 percent solution in years. Stability and counterinsurgency missions -- the wars we are in -- require 75 percent solutions in months," he said.
In Visit to Kosovo, Gates Underlines U.S. Support

He said a new rotation of U.S. forces would keep American troops on the ground here until late 2009, and the U.S. commander in Kosovo, Brig. Gen. Larry Kay, said planning has begun for a U.S. presence in 2010.

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