2011-05-24 Secretary Gates Blasts Pentagon’s Resistance to Change
Secretary of Defense Gates embarked on a series of speeches in the Spring and early Summer of 2011, reflecting on the successes and challenges of his tenure. In this speech he draws attention to institutional obstacles to change within the Pentagon. Given the official responses to the MEDEVAC issues being raised, it appears that Secretary Gates was not entirely effective in removing the obstacles to change within the Pentagon. Here is an excerpt from his speech on May 24, 2011 to the American Enterprise Institute:
“In the course of doing everything I could to turn things around first in Iraq and then in Afghanistan, from the early months I ran up against institutional obstacles in the Pentagon — cultural, procedural, ideological — to getting done what needed to get done on behalf of those fighting the wars we are in, whether it was outpatient care for the wounded; armored troop transports; medevac; ramping up intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support; or any number of urgent battlefield needs.
“In the course of doing everything…I ran up against institutional obstacles in the Pentagon — cultural, procedural, ideological — to getting done what needed to get done… whether it was outpatient care for the wounded… medevac… or any number of urgent battlefield needs.”
It became evident over time that changing the momentum of these conflicts and increasing the odds of military success in the future would also require fundamentally reshaping the priorities of the Pentagon and the uniformed services and reforming the way they did business: how weapons were chosen, developed and produced; how troops and their families were cared for; how leaders were promoted and held accountable; and, related to all of the above, where money was spent — or misspent, as the case may be.”
The transcript of the full speech is available here.