Tuesday, December 6, 2016

When is a General Not?

General Mattis
Being Considered for Secretary of Defense
The construction of President-elect Trump's cabinet continues to draw the attention of the news media and his expected selection for Secretary of Defense is the current hot news item of the day.

I am happy the issue is not a Constitutional one, but a legal requirement imposed when the Department of Defense was created. Established during 1947 the Department did not take on its current name of Department of Defense (DoD) until 1949. An interesting twist of history.

The laws that established the DoD mandated that persons being appointed to the top jobs in the Department must be separated for at least 7 years. It was originally 10 years, but later amended. And even with the newly created DoD, an exception to the law was given for General George Marshall in 1950. 

My point here is that the "law" has been changed in the past and the situation must be evaluated based upon it merits. Sadly, the blind application of law seems more important that looking at the merits. 

I believe it is time for someone to lead the DoD who has experienced the weapons, tools and tactics being provided by the to the troops and he may be able to separate the good from the unnecessary. I believe that the DoD is bloated and inefficient, but much of that is due to Congressional mandates. If the DoD is going to become efficient, then Congress needs to back and allow DoD to get about the task of defending the nation. 

Maybe General Mattis will restore some swagger to the DoD.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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