To read the complete text of the memo, click here.
The questions I posed to combatant commanders this week were: Are we winning or losing the Global War on Terror?
Is DoD changing fast enough to deal with the new 21st century security environment?
Can a big institution change fast enough?
Is the USG changing fast enough?
Some would have us believe that the content of this memo somehow indicates the administration is "pessimistic" and even dishonest in its characterization of the war on terror.
I don't see it that way at all.
Long time readers know that I have my disagreements with Secretary Rumsfeld. But I look at that memo as evidence quite simply the man is doing his job as leader of the defense community.
And its all about leadership.
See, the moment leadership stops moving forward, it ceases to be leadership. And I know from my own Army experience that among the leaders duties is to ask the hard questions...the questions that make one squirm.
When you stop asking the hard questions, and closely examining the state of affairs, then you settle for the status quo and slip into self congratulation. And that is the last thing we need.
So the Secretary asks the questions that need asking. Are we winning? How do we know? What are the metrics by which we measure that? Because behind those questions are issues of integrity and stewardship. We have soldiers in harm's way around the globe and we are dropping big money everyday - where are the measurable results? That is a reasonable question and to me shows the Secretary's level of commitment as a public servant that he seeks to answer it.
As to the "long hard slog" - well, fact is, the president has said this will be a long hard war on terror from the first day. I don't know about you, but that comment by Rumsfeld didn't surprise me at all - seems a lot like the same message we've been hearing for 2 years.