But then he drops a going-away zinger:
Gates is right. The armed forces are loaded up with too many generals and admirals. There is feather bedding everywhere. The money taps were turned on in Republican days and have been opened even wider in the present administration. The armed forces are structured now to support a forward leaning aggressive foreign policy in which the expectation is clear that finesse counts for little and massive brute force and large troop commitments are the pattern. A COIN strategy in Afghanistan that relies on so many soldiers for what the generals would clearly like be an indefinite period is the very emblem of this kind of thinking.
Headquarters have multiplied remarkably in the last 20 years. Bush '41 once said that he lacked the "vision thing." Today's armed forces are burdened with far too many flag officers and SESs who are unable to even imagine "the vision thing." As a result the processes of equipment acquisition and creation of new doctrine have been relegated to huge committees, endless paper and expensive endless experimentation.
Gates' statements about multi-layered civilian contracts would be more impressive if he were not guilty of the same thing. He has a number of "pet rocks" for which this outrage does not seem to apply.Ah--details, please? Or at least a hint?