Vickers: Fastest way to improve strategy is to prepare and pick better generals
Michael Vickers, the former under secretary of Defense for intelligence, spoke some truth to power the other day to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Michael Vickers, the former under secretary of Defense for intelligence, spoke some truth to power the other day to the Senate Armed Services Committee:
While I’m admittedly generally skeptical of organizational change as a driver for strategy improvement, something must be done. Accordingly, I think the biggest direct strategic bang for the buck could come from revamping selection and promotion of general and flag officers, and from rigorously selecting and educating a corps of joint operational strategists and transforming the Joint Staff into a real Joint General Staff. Good strategy requires good strategists.”
At the same hearing, New America’s Jeff Eggers, speaking about officers in professional military education programs, commented that, “How they do or what they write as students is generally irrelevant to their career promotion. Military colleges have a 100 percent pass rate, which does not reflect a rigorous process of independent learning. Overall, the operational culture still views broadening as a cost to be minimized vice a long-term investment to be expanded.”
Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense
Thomas E. Ricks is a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy. Twitter: @tomricks1
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