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Director's Commentary On Chapter Six: The Security Realignment: Rediscovering Diplomacy, Defense, And Development

This is the one outright goof in the book, rather than just a typo. In every other realignment chapter, the subtitle matches a subchapter title, but here we change one word between the two: on the chapter title it's "rediscovering diplomacy, defense and development," but later on page 281, it's "reblending ...." I don't really mind the difference. In fact, it sort of works for me, because the larger goal is rediscovering, but when I drill down later, reblending is more accurate.

The trick with this chapter was dealing with potential and real overlap with the opening two chapters that deal with Bush-Cheney and recovering from Bush-Cheney. Because that administration was so comprehensively defined by its choices in national security, it was incumbent upon me to deal with those issues in those opening chapters, so how to avoid repeating here? Go much broader than defense to security, plus keep things to outlines in the opening chapters and dive deeper here on narrative.

As for writing, I was pretty much in the groove by this point, so easy to crank out given my overall comfort level with the material.

Page tripping:


Opening begins with the big-war-v-small-wars argument. I later repurposed this into a column, I liked it so much.


I love this big Mattis quote. It's a direct lift from the Esquire article. I knew it would go into the book the second he said it live to me three years earlier. And yeah, we left in the F bomb. First (vicariously) for me in a book. But damn it, that's how Marines talk! Naturally, I cut that bit for the column version.


Quintessential closing line on opening (and I put a lot of effort into these): "It is not your father's military, because Iraq is not Vietnam."


Obvious ode to "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill."

George Kennan quote is a killer. Very lucky find on my part in is voluminous memoirs.


The three periods of American warfare presented here are a bit neat, so clearly arguable, but I wanted to simplify for the average reader.

The Reagan Doctrine as "outsourcing," I thought was clever. In the vein of Patton, you want to get the other poor bastard to die for your country's strategic interests.


Military enclaving: I lived til 30 years of age without ever seeing much of any military, and then moving to Northern VA, suddenly they were everywhere in my life and work. Ditto for Newport, where the locals really sort of ostracized us as near-military in their minds (part of "them"). Now, it's strange not to have them around all the time, living in Indiana.


I actually think I'm pretty gentle to Powell in this section. The adulation for that man has always turned me off. I just haven't seen anything across his career that wasn't about avoiding tough choices and playing both sides against the middle--a perfect functionary but not what I identify as a leader.


Powell's bit about not coming to State to "remake the world" is a total tell: his definition of grand strategy is so war-infused that he can't imagine remaking the world in peace, rendering him totally inappropriate as our SECSTATE in an age in which globalization is regarding the global landscape. It's my big worry about Clinton now: what exposure has she ever had to business and economics?


Powell, on that basis, is the poster child for not using former generals as SECSTATE.



The Wolfowitz stupidity on needing to have more troops for the peace than for the war is the apogee of the neocon hubris.


Ricks' line here is superb: Rummy's transformed military "didn't kill the enemy--it bypassed him." This was basically my warning on super-speeding past your opponent's OODA loop in my "Seven Deadly Sins of Network-Centric Warfare": You get so damn clever on beating him on your own specific scorecard that your enemy simply opts out in confusion, rendering your victory less than full.


The botched, sloppy, personnel-transitioning-dependent bad hand-off of the summer of 2003 is a huge point. It was like we decided to swap out the entire team in the middle of the game's most important play.


Why I don't credit Bush so much on the surge: hiding the underlying reality from the American people, after that organized snow-job by retired generals that helped buy him the 2004 election. Everyone involved in that fiasco should feel like complete fools for being played that way, and they should also regret the unnecessary loss of life that that false picture made possible. I look back on the whole thing with real shame as an American.




A clear--and the best--repurposing of material in the book from the Esquire article, especially the poorly appreciated stuff on Schoomaker, which to me, is hugely important in the history of the Army. He really went out of his way to explain to me personally in his office in the Pentagon. It was the first real interview I ever did in the journalist mode, and it was a whopper. I totally lucked out. Schoomaker later asked me to do some training work for him with his 3-star class, which was a real honor. Great American. Little dark in his vision for me, but a very admirable man. He cut his teeth on Desert One. Great story on that one: so secret that he disappears on the eve of his own wedding!


COE stood, when I wrote the article, for Complex Operating Environment. By the time we're editing the book, though, I had this strange urge to fact-check it and sure enough, it had changed to the Contemporary Operating Environment. I'm sure that was a 3-star decision or better.


I am bragging when I said Petraeus sent me that email saying he read the blog. I remember it so well because I read it on my Treo while driving south on the BW Parkway in November, then emailed Mark Warren, who suggested the story, and then emailed Petraeus back who agreed to be interviewed--all before I hit the Beltway! The guy is, like Mattis, an insane reader. Blog readers know he read this book as soon as he got it and gave me an email of feedback almost immediately after. It's almost freaky how much he consumes.


I quote Sarah Sewall of Harvard a lot from her preface to the COIN manual. It's is such good analysis that reading her essay is almost as good as actually reading the COIN itself. She is such a big brain, you can see why Petraeus brought her into the mix.


That para in the middle there is kinda weird. I don't remember writing it whatsoever, but the final bit about today being the equivalent of TR's "stick" plus FDR's vision minus Truman's duty on containment is somewhat cool. In the final edit when I came upon the para, I just found it sort of strange and would have cut it if it wouldn't have been such a fuss in terms of the production schedule. I can't say that about any other para in the entire book, so list it as my own regret.


Like the last line in the section: fixating on China is a self-fulfilling prophecy. That "I say again" is sort of a military shtick when you want to signal to receivers on the far end of your comms that what you just said and are now repeating is super-important. I remember it vividly from Star Trek IV (the whale one).


In the old PNM-BFA brief, this was my section header for the slides on the Middle East. Cha-chuunnng!

Max Boot's book, The Savage Wars of Peace may read a bit like a PhD dissertation, but it's a brilliant bit of work--truly illuminating and very helpful for me here.


Sewall's bit on "doctrinal miscegenation" is priceless.

I also liked linking my "shrink the Gap" to Sewall's take on COIN. She is a truly accessible writer.


My slipped-in preferred definition of Fifth Generation Warfare: "a victory so subtle that our enemies won't even realize they're losing."


The David Gallula mega-quote in the book--the longest single one I use anywhere. It was so long I had Putnam check that it was okay and didn't require me to see reprint permission. I don't think I've ever used a quote so big, but as soon as I read it, I knew it was in. Gallula got SysAdmin when I was still in diapers.


Sewall's bit about COIN constituting "a moon without a planet to orbit" unless civilian capabilities are suitably beefed up is quite poetic. She really has a way with imagery in her words, something I admire a lot.

Overall, this section wrote itself. I just typed.



On this subject, check out my grad-school buddy Alison Stanger's forthcoming book, Empire of the Willing: The Privatization of American Power. Should be great. She's an excellent scholar.


My whole interest in this line of reasoning, the whole "Army of the West" thing, began thanks to Petraeus' invite to address the student body at Leavenworth. What triggered it most for me: the virtual staff ride on the Sioux and Indian Wars that's supposedly so popular there because of the similarity to convoy ops like the 70k miles my nephew Michael drove during his first tour. That image really drove it home for me.


I am always pleasantly surprised when I travel to military bases abroad and run into KBR employees and ask the military personnel what their opinion of the company and the people is, because the answer is uniformly positive, despite the bad press we hear.


A huge point that constitutes almost a Hegelian flip (as in, Marx turned Hegel on his head!): the shift from supply-push public-sector official development aid as the be-all and end-all of infrastructure development in developing markets to a demand-pull, private-sector foreign direct investment flow that's more dominant. Does this flip back with the global recession? Stay tuned.




Just bumped into the Casey Stengel quote while surfing the web and liked it.


Last para in section is example of a slide I've described verbally many times to audiences but which I've never actually drawn. Not sure why. Guess I know how esoteric it would be to anyone outside the military.


Barrett Tillman sent me his book out of nowhere. Glad he did, because it was an excellent summary of a lot of sensible arguments I've heard over the years and somebody really needed to codify all that in a book, which he did with great style. It was like he captured the universe of military voices asking for change.


A good chunk of repurposing here from "The Americans Have Landed," which was the most interesting reportage trip I've taken to date--really fascinating.


I like the play on the old NATO bit of "keeping the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down." Not a lot of people will get that, but I love hidden gems like that, insider "Easter eggs."


My patience with Africom is not idealistic. You hear this all the time from officers familiar with CENTCOM's birth and maturation: it takes about 20 years for a new regional combatant command to find its identity.


The "gen kill" reference wasn't something I footnoted, which is my bad. But it tells you how much Evan Wright's book got under people's skin. I guess I just felt it was such an obvious reference that no reference was needed--a backwards tribute to his skill as a writer.


My reference here to "big brother" is not Orwellian but more social services. My Mom ran Grant County's volunteer services in the 1970s and 1980s and I played a needy kid in one of her radio spots for the Big Brothers program. I should have made the reference more clear. Two brain farts in a row!


Another example of the grand strategist's patience: the Department of Everything Else needs to rise slowly from below. On that score, I like to tell the following story about how I've been lecturing for years at ICAF (Industrial College of the Armed Forces) and how after every talk, a bunch of students crowds into this own reception room to ask follow-up questions. The first year I'm talking all guys in uniforms. Last year it was almost all women in civvies, and I almost blurted out, "Who the hell let you people in?" Then I was told that half of ICAF's class is now civilian from the rest of the USG! Stunning, but an example of implicit feeders of a future DOEE creating the personnel and pushing them upward in the system on the assumption that--eventually--there will be a bureaucratic home for the likes of 'em. Fascinating.


"Own the future" has got to be an Art Cebrowski line I simply internalized.

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