Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Military Space News .




SUPERPOWERS
Outside View: The trials of Chuck Hagel
by Harlan Ullman
Washington (UPI) Feb 6, 2013


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Last week's U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination as secretary of defense was contentious and nasty. Hagel almost certainly will be confirmed but he was badly battered in the process.

His former Senate colleague and fellow Vietnam veteran John McCain, R-Ariz., bullied Hagel, R-Neb., on the viability of the surge in Iraq.

Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., was furious over Hagel's assertion of intimidation of Congress by the "Jewish lobby" and demanded the name of a single senator who succumbed to that pressure.

And rookie Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, after a full four weeks in office, charged Hagel with consorting with a former and controversial U.S. ambassador Hagel hadn't seen in years. Wow!

The good news is that the Senate's Armed Services Committee will take some time to review this nomination. Thus, Hagel has a few weeks to recover from his political wounds (that probably deserve a third Purple Heart) and ready himself for his new duties.

In full disclosure, the senator and I have been good friends and colleagues for many years.

How might Senator Hagel use this lull? In written responses to policy questions posed before the hearing, Hagel listed his top priorities as ensuring stability in Afghanistan post pull out; maintaining our technological edge; and supporting people.

I would suggest a different set and ordering of priorities.

The highest priority must be people. After a dozen years of war; extraordinary strain on personnel and families; the repetition and intensity of extended periods in combat; and many other factors, people require more than lip service. That no one currently occupies the Pentagon's undersecretary job for personnel is a further complication. Hagel must take a hard look across all personnel policies and adjust where adjustment is sorely needed as a first order of business.

Next, he must implement and refine President Barack Obama's "strategic pivot to Asia," sensibly renamed by the Pentagon as rebalancing. Unfortunately, the announcement of that strategy offended, frightened or angered most countries from the Atlantic approaches to Europe to the Bering Sea in the far Pacific. This will take nuance, sophistication and imagination.

His final top priority is dealing not with so-called financial austerity but more likely with a budget implosion. If sequester goes through, this year the Pentagon will take a further $43 billion reduction. As the fiscal year is half over, those cuts must be taken in six not 12 months, magnifying the potential damage.

The cuts can be taken PROVIDED the Pentagon has the flexibility to manage them. The law states cuts must be made "evenly" meaning equally. That will be a disaster. So Hagel must get Congress to redefine that requirement. And he must be prepared to deal with even greater cuts that are certain to be forthcoming as long as debts and deficits loom so large. No one in the Pentagon has dealt with downsizing for a very long time further hindering the process.

Hagel should also engage his considerable intellect and imagination for creative solutions to many challenges. For example, Hagel was constantly reminded by senators to preserve the "defense industrial base," namely the capacity to arm our military with advanced weapons systems. This is a concept from the 19th century.

It isn't ships, aircraft or drones that matter. What we put in them does. What is needed is a defense "intellectual property" base and a strategy of regeneration and reconstitution wherein we pay to keep the ability to rebuild these capacities when and if needed.

Hagel will also find himself in a protective "bubble" in the Pentagon with everyone wishing to do his bidding from providing advice to Advil. While he has outside groups for counsel, he needs a "no man" or court jester not bound to the Pentagon and capable of giving him what John McCain calls "straight talk." And Hagel needs to realize that he is no longer a senator and words count. Every word he utters will be parsed by subordinates in ways he may not anticipate or approve.

Obama's appointments of Hagel and John Kerry, along with Vice President Joe Biden, could be transformational if and only if they can bond. In considering that bond, Hagel would do well to reread two books: H.R. McMaster's "Dereliction of Duty" and the late Ambassador Robert Komer's "Bureaucracy Does its Thing,: both about Vietnam.

McMasters, now a U.S. Army major general wrote about the period 1963-65 arguing that arrogance, ideology and fear of telling the truth turned Vietnam into a quagmire. Komer showed how bureaucracies, no matter how well-meaning, can corrupt.

Hagel's own Vietnam experience reinforces both warnings. The challenge will be to turn one of the world's biggest bureaucracies into a force for good and not advancing its parochial interests.

We wish him Godspeed!

(Harlan Ullman is chairman of the Killowen Group, which advises leaders of government and business, and senior adviser at Washington's Atlantic Council.)

(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

.


Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





SUPERPOWERS
One year on, China's Bo scandal haunts Chongqing
Chongqing, China (AFP) Feb 6, 2013
One year after Chongqing's police chief set off China's biggest scandal in decades, the megacity has seen revelations of torture and corruption but little action on alleged abuses during the reign of disgraced leader Bo Xilai. Symbols of Bo's time in power have been erased from the city he ruled as Communist Party chief, but media reports on his wrongdoings say little of his links with leade ... read more


SUPERPOWERS
Boeing-led Missile Defense Team Completes GMD Flight Test

NGC Fire Control Play Key Role in Missile Defense Test

Missile defense EEKV shows value

First Patriot missiles 'operational' on Turkey-Syria border

SUPERPOWERS
Israel deploys 3rd missile system to north: reports

Lockheed Martin Receives US Army Contract for Guided MLRS Rocket Production

India wheels out new long-range missile in annual parade

Raytheon awarded contract for HARM upgrade

SUPERPOWERS
Elbit Systems Introduces its Hermes 900 UAS in a New Configuration Adapted for the Maritime Mission

US needs to keep up drone war against Qaeda: Panetta

Northrop Grumman's Next-Gen Fire Scout to Beef Up Avionics Protection

Elbit Systems and Windward Team to Introduce Advanced Maritime Surveillance Solution for India

SUPERPOWERS
TACLANE-1G Encryptor Certified by NSA

Boeing Completes FAB-T Software Qualification Testing For AEHF and Milstar Birds

Smartphone to hold integrated warrior gear

Raytheon offers Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal Soultion

SUPERPOWERS
Commander sees women in elite US special forces

Canada receives upgraded LAV III

Marines Get Improved Precision Extended Range Munitions

Raytheon, US Navy demonstrate new dual targeting capability for JSOW C-1

SUPERPOWERS
Global firms eye lucrative contracts at India air show

Israel seeks major arms deals with India

Rheinmetall, Cassidian gain orders

Shoigu: Russia seeks army 'modernization'

SUPERPOWERS
Outside View: The trials of Chuck Hagel

Asian astrologers warn of sss-stormy Year of Snake

US, Egypt defense chiefs back security ties: Pentagon

China radar-lock on Japan ship 'dangerous': PM Abe

SUPERPOWERS
A new genre of 'intelligent' micro- and nanomotors

Flat boron by the numbers

Notre Dame studies benefits and threats of nanotechnology research

A nano-gear in a nano-motor inside




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement