We could ask for no better Secretary of Defense in these times than Robert Gates. He understands the new challenges that our military faces, and he fearlessly moves when things need to get done. He’ll make a change, even if it were himself that made appointments that aren’t working out.
A few days ago as of this writing, Gates announced that he was relieving General David McKiernan of his duties as force commander in Afghanistan. McKiernan is a good man, but is part of the old army, one that took its time and waited to be told what to do. There can be no waiting with an army this small and this technically profficient. The military must unite actionable intelligence, extreme mobility and lethal drones and smart-weapons into a lightning-fast hammer that smashes elusive non-state militants, who scatter when given too much time.
Gates has removed top men because they have failed to take care of hospitalized men. Word has it Gates was none too pleased when he found troops lacking basic equipment in Afghanistan. This is the type of leadership that the New Army needs. Not the calcified–though noble and brave–warriors of yesteryear. Post-modern warfare requires mental and logistical agility. The commanders must know what’s in the box, but also be willing to look outside it and recognize something better.
I’m proud to be serving under two warriors–David Patreaus and Robert Gates– who understand the new paradigm of war, who care about the grunt as well as America’s place in the world.