News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Jan. 11, 2012: President Obama has just made a rather standard choice to be America’s next Secretary of Defense, a choice he would not if he were the Change Master he absolutely is not, rather than the standard issue Status Quo President he is.
Or if you prefer from a different perspective, Obama does not have a clue about how to fix our dysfunctional increasingly antiquated and wastefully budgeted military. Having an honorable man and someone he likes, Chuck Hagel, will not get the job done we need.
As hopeless as it is that President Obama will change his mind, my purpose here is to give him good advice and to contrast the difference. We need what he and others would call a “radical” choice but which I would call the best possible choice.
Not Chuck Hagel but Tim Kane. Tim Who????
A distinguished largely unknown former Military Man who understands better than anyone else what is the real basic problem with the U.S. military and proves it with his new book.
The problem is what the problem always is – a lack of adequate leadership.
Specifically, military leadership for a very different 21st century! It’s not the size of the military budget which is a big problem, but it is a result of a lack of leadership why the budget is out of control. It is not our military’s antiquated equipment, strategies and decision making process, as big as those problems are, they are the result of a lack of Leadership.
It is painfully ironic to be focusing on the real problem of Leadership in the military because it is the very same problem we have in The White House a lack of leadership for our 21st century.
The members of Congress, politicians everywhere and right wingers all over the country can wave as many U.S. flags as they want. It won’t change the fact the U.S. military is a MESS at the top – the very same problem we have in The White House – a lack of real leadership. One bigger problem begets the other.
What?? No one else is saying so except me and Tim Kane.
Why?? Because kissing up to the military is as old as society. Yes the military has critics nipping at the edges but that is useless and meaningless. These so called critics are not going to the heart of the problem and rather diverting us from the REAL problem all they are doing is perpetuating the problem by diverting attention.
This is all important this is the key it is NOT a lack of talent in the U.S. military as Tim Kane points out the U.S. military is brimming with it in the lower ranks but that is as far as the real talent gets, and there would be even more talent coming to the military and rising there except there is nowhere for 21st century talent to go.
We’re not talking here about the usual suspects such as David Petraeus, Stanley McChrystal or even Norman Schwarzkopf who had competent 20th century skills and credentials but individuals who re-enforced the existing ossified command structures.
In the rest of this episode I am going to do nothing more than quote from the New York Times review of the book by Tim Kane “Bleeding Talent” to make the case in full about the problem. A book President Obama isn’t going to read and if he surprises me and does it won’t make any difference since he will not appoint Tim Kane or someone like him U.S. Secretary of Defense.
To the NY Times review, January 5, 2013, by Fred Andrews, titled “ The Military Machine as a Management Wreck” ….
“It was once a wry joke that the military was designed by geniuses to be run by idiots. Not anymore, Tim Kane writes. As an all-volunteer force, the young men and women who serve these days are top drawer; it is the institution that is idiotic, he argues. And he has a drastic remedy in mind: a dose of classic economics.”
“The military is perhaps as selfless an institution as our society has produced. But in its current form, Mr. Kane says, it stifles the aspirations of the best who seek to serve it and pushes them out. “In terms of attracting and training innovative leaders, the U.S. military is unparalleled,” he writes. “In terms of managing talent, the U.S. military is doing everything wrong.”
“The core problem, he argues, is that while the military may be “all volunteer” on the first day, it is thoroughly coercive every day thereafter. In particular, it dictates the jobs, promotions and careers of the millions in its ranks through a centralized, top-down, one-size-fits-almost-all system that drives many talented officers to resign in frustration. They leave, he says, because they believe that “the military personnel system — every aspect of it — is nearly blind to merit.”
“He ( Tim Kane ) looks at today’s military and sees suppressed entrepreneurs among officers and enlisted ranks alike. “America’s armed forces are a leadership factory,” he writes, saying that former military officers are three times as likely to become corporate C.E.O.’s as their raw numbers would suggest.”
And about Kane’s much needed “radicalism” …
“In the sub-title of his book, Mr. Kane declares a radical intent: “How the U.S. Military Mismanages Great Leaders and Why It’s Time for a Revolution.” The revolution he has in mind would turn the military inside out by creating an internal labor market for job assignments and promotions.”
This final excerpt from me …
“Mr. Kane is taking on an institution whose sheer size boggles the mind. There are 1.1 million men and women in the United States Army, including the National Guard and Army Reserve. The regular Army alone has some 82,000 officers, 15,000 above the rank of major (but only 300 generals).”
And that Fellow Citizens is why we need no less than Tim Kane as our next U.S. Secretary of Defense. Someone with the knowledge of what needs to be done and someone with the guts and intelligence to say so as he does so well in his new book and who will get the job done for us, our military and Americas’ future.
It won’t happen with our Status Quo President Barack Obama. All we can do is hope, better pray, Tim Kane is available to be U.S. Secretary of Defense if in 4 years we elect a Leader as President.
About The Writer: Arthur Piccolo is a professional writer and commentator and often writes about Latin America for New Americas.