Thursday, October 09, 2003

Speaking during the Association of U.S. Army’s annual Dwight D. Eisenhower luncheon, Schoomaker indicated that he intends to move away from former chief Gen. Eric Shinseki’s almost single-minded focus on technology as the engine of Army “transformation,” as service officials call the plan to modernize the force.

Instead, “we must always remember that humans are more important than hardware,” Schoomaker said, taking one of his Special Operations community’s bedrock mottos and applying it to the entire Army. “We’re capitalizing [the word] ‘Soldier’ now.”

Just a word on leadership.

GEN Schoomaker, you may recall, was recalled from retirement to take the position of Army Chief of Staff, a highly unusual move. Such a move might have prejudiced some in the ranks against the general.

But here, early on the General connects with Soldiers by stressing his commitment to the humanity of those who serve.

I contrast that to the early days of the Clinton administration. I was in uniform then, and the first three things soldiers heard from the then new administration were:

1. The candidate/President's "loathing" of the military and his refusal to serve in uniform.

2. The request from a White House staffer that there be fewer military uniforms worn around the White House.

3. An attempt to peg military pay raises to 1 point below inflation.

Quite the contrast in leadership wouldn't you say?

GEN Schoomaker, thank you for your leadership. I'm capitalizing the word Soldier now too.

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