Best Defense

The wit and wisdom of Tommy R. Franks: Hiding his plans from the Pentagon

Just when you think that you’ve heard it all: I learned from General McChrystal’s new book that in early 2003, when McChrystal was on the Joint Staff, that Central Command, then led by Gen. Tommy R. Franks, “initially prohibited the Pentagon staffs from viewing their internal Web site out of a (common) fear of giving ‘higher headquarters visibility into unfinalized planning products.”

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 14:  U.S. President George W. Bush (R) presents the Medal of Freedom to retired U.S. General Tommy Franks (L) during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House, December 14, 2004 in Washington, DC. Bush honored former administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority Paul Bremer, Former General Tommy Franks and former CIA Director George Tenet with the nations highest civilian honor.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 14: U.S. President George W. Bush (R) presents the Medal of Freedom to retired U.S. General Tommy Franks (L) during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House, December 14, 2004 in Washington, DC. Bush honored former administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority Paul Bremer, Former General Tommy Franks and former CIA Director George Tenet with the nations highest civilian honor. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Just when you think that you’ve heard it all: I learned from General McChrystal’s new book that in early 2003, when McChrystal was on the Joint Staff, that Central Command, then led by Gen. Tommy R. Franks, “initially prohibited the Pentagon staffs from viewing their internal Web site out of a (common) fear of giving ‘higher headquarters visibility into unfinalized planning products.”

McChrystal comments that, “Such absurdities reflect that most organizations are more concerned with how best to control information than how best to share it.”

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1
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