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17 May 2012


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William R. Cumming

About time?


The way the election is headed, by 2013, President Romney, with John Bolton's advice, will have appointed a properly ideologically oriented Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Wall Street buddy Bibi will be satisfied. And so will be the defense industry with military budget increases. Le bon temps roule!


P. S. Dust off those plans for tank warfare on the North German Plain.



Why? Because MD is a tanker? pl

The Twisted Genius

The highlights of General Dempsey's comments as mentioned in the article were encouraging. I especially liked his thoughts on taking advantage of technological innovation without becoming dependent on that technology. Learn how to continue operating effectively with degraded communications and without GPS. I hope the whole speech becomes available on YouTube. Some of his other talks on YouTube are great. He's sure of himself without being full of himself.

And his rendition of Christmas in Killarny with the 1st A.D. band is magnificent.

Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA

Dempsey seems to have a remarkably facile mind and some great powers of observation and analysis. Let's hope this speech is the leading edge of a sea change in the US military. And I'd add that even if he is the CJCS, it takes good sized ones to make a speech like this in front of the Military Industrial Complex.

TTG, I hadn't thought of looking for this speech on YouTube - but I'd like to hear it, too.

Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA

Here's a link to the Joint Warfighting Conference where GEN Dempsey gave his speech:


This event was "Co-sponsored by AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications Electronic Association) International and the U.S. Naval Institute, with support from the NDIA (National Defense Industrial Association) Greater Hampton Roads Chapter and the AFCEA Hampton Roads and Tidewater Chapters."

A glance at the Speakers and Panels page will show some serious travel and TDY coin was expended bringing some heavy hitters (and their entourages) to this. A look at the list of Patrons and Sponsors shows a lot of business development money was spent throwing this shindig.

Pat, if you'll allow me a rant: for all the billions spent on IT over the last quarter century, it's really disappointing and tragically ironic that we (more specifically, the Air Force and Navy) do not have a common data dictionary to allow secure and effective exchange of information. Here's a link to the Wired story, and OBTW, this is but one example:


Neil Richardson

Dear Col. Lang,

GEN Dempsey is also a cavalryman. Two things one learns even as a junior officer is to be flexible and be clear-eyed in assessing a situation. After all cavalry is the eyes and ears of a commander. I found this quote most comforting especially for the future of the Army:

"“There is no substitute for taking a clear-eyed look at the threats we face and asking how our force must change to meet them. So when you finish this conference, go find the Wayne Sinclairs of the world and get comfortable with the arguments that make you the most uncomfortable. That’s the kind of intuition that will help us build the best possible joint force.”

As you know Dempsey had made clear his intention move the bulk of the heavy force to NG as a hedge when he was briefly the ACOS. That's not a mark of a horse cavalryman like John Herr, but someone who reminds me of Chaffee, Patton and Grow.


No. Because Romney has said that Russia tops of our enemies' list. Maybe he thinks that Russia will invade Europe with a tank blitz through the North German Plain. Wasn't that a substantial fear about the USSR in the 1950s, Romney's favorite decade? (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-election/9168533/Mitt-Romney-Russia-is-Americas-number-one-geopolitical-foe.html)

ex-PFC Chuck

Maybe, but Marshall didn't have to cope with a dysfunctional Military-Industrial-Congressional-Complex. Marshall's challenge, at least prior to December, 1941, was getting money out of Congress, but once it was coming he had pretty strong influence on getting it spent in accord with his priorities. From out here in Flyoverland I question whether a reincarnated Marshall or anyone could steer the ship of the MICC toward a coherent grand strategy and the blend of effective forces to back it up without breaking the bank. Instead we get strategy driven by loonies who think they can remake societies overnight and procurements driven by political engineering that yield duds like the F-35 (http://bit.ly/Jl1uix).

Bill H

My nephew, who is 28 years Army and a colonel, is a staunch admirer of Dempsey. I have spent many enjoyable hours with him and value his opinion, which I have seen confirmed again and again by recent history.

Ever read John Paul Jones' description of the requirements for a naval officer? He was speaking of naval officers because he was Navy, but I've always thought that was the standard that officers of all services should aspire to. Dempsey is one of the few high-ranking officers today of great public notice who seems consistently to do so.


I share your pleasure over Dempsey's recent performance.

But everything he's done is just plainly obvious to any sensible person - it's what should be done. Every time the shock and joy of seeing it subsides I'm reminded how truly sad it is that we now find common sense to be a special thing. Bravo to him. But shame on us for losing that in our political culture. We need more like him.



"Grow?" pl

Neil Richardson

Dear Col. Lang:

MG Robert W. Grow was one of many field grade cavalry officers who had toiled during the interwar years to fight for mechanization even at the risk of jeopardizing their careers. He was a protege of Patton as he served as G-3 in the 2nd Armored during the LA and Carolina maneuvers. He commanded the 6th Armored in Europe. He also said, "Cavalry is a state of mind."


It seems the height of pretension for this aging civilian to tell Gen Dempsey anything about the military....but sometimes a person's soul can be so noble that there are things they are blinded to. Even when evidence is right in front of them. It may be that Gen Dempsey will come to see that, in fact, there are people whose main mission is to spend money. Period. That IS the mission. On coffee, or tanks, or whatever, the idea is to spend money. So others can get their beaks wet.

I have no doubts the good General knows such types exist. This is not his first rodeo. That said people dominate...not simply exist, that is what will news to him.



It is unlikely that MD would have survived the Army's winnowing process to arrive at this position without knowing the sad truth that the world is run by selfish, self-serving bastards. pl


The only thing I quibble with you on is the word "run". 'Populated' with...yes, I think he has forgotten more about that than I know. But "run"? I don't know why but I repeat, I think him too noble to think 'they' 'run' the show. In his mind, perhaps, the 'they' are foiled. I think history is replete with noble leaders turning out to have more than a safe share of naivety. It is a historical paradox.

But I think 'they' "run" it. I ain't noble. I think the worm has turned Col. Sadly. In any event...I consider the nation lucky to have him.

Medicine Man

I would have liked to be a fly on the wall for that meeting he had with Bibi.

different clue

In my mind have been several reasons to vote against Obama
in 2012. But if he were re-elected President, would he retain General Dempsey as Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff?
If so, would that be reason enough to vote for Obama in 2012?
Does anyone else here think that is a question worth thinking about in time for the 2012 election?


General Dempsey appears to be the man of the hour - we need him and others with their heads screwed on right.

On the other hand, I think we have a mess to clean up and emphasize the necessity to seriously analyze our politico-military choices as Dempsey appears to be doing. And this may require some very painful efforts to emphasize the importance of this effort.

In other words, It seems to me that we should consider making an example of the incompetent and malicious leadership that took us into the the Iraq debacle.
It seems that the most effective way to initiate such action would be for the families of the killed and incapacitated participants to unite and demand
a detailed inquiry into the factors that resulted in our attacking Iraq as well as well as their validity or lack thereof based on the actual knowledge
within responsible intelligence and other agencies at the time, and unofficially established offices and key individuals responsible for dragging us into this totally avoidable disaster.


A good friend attended the conference where Gen. Dempsey spoke. In response to a question from my friend about his perspective on military to military relations with Russia and China, he gave an even more profound answer. He urged strategic engagement and cooperation with both Russia and China, emphasizing serious areas of joint cooperation. Re. China, he said he is committed to the idea that the US can avoid the Thucydides Trap, by which he meant the inevitable conflict between rising and declining powers. He voiced his committment to avoiding the Thucydides Trap by cooperating with China and Russia to solve global crises without war.

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