Visiting the Puzzle Palace

We focus much here on the problem of government dysfunction and waste, so it is only fair to point out examples of smart administration when they arise.

The Pentagon, which holds a special place in the conservative heart for the importance of its mission (the national defense,) also belongs in the conservative mush-pot for its inability recruit, train, arm, and field the US armed forces either economically or effectively. Nonetheless, there are signs that some things have changed in the past decade – small ones, to be sure, but signs that suggest that changing the Pentagon is possible.

On my recent visit to the Five-Sided Squirrel Cage, I was pleased to find the Visitor Center set off from (yet still adjacent to) the main building. Once a few rows of seats in an area used to provide employees with commercial services, the Visitor Center takes visitors away from the main flow of traffic, not only improving security but ensuring that service people can do their banking or get a haircut without standing in line behind a family of tourists.

Guides for the Pentagon Tour are all E-4 and below, and they manage the process brilliantly. There is no need to waste the time of a dozen good non-commissioned officers just to squire a bunch of tourists around the public areas of the building. What is more, getting junior enlisted personnel to do the job accomplishes two important missions. First, it gives promising young soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen a chance to communicate to the public at large. In an era of what retired Marine Corps General Charles Krulak called “the strategic corporal,” building leadership abilities and people skills into our most junior leaders is essential.

Second, in trusting our youngest soldiers to squire two dozen outsiders around a building bursting with national secrets, we demonstrate to ourselves and to anyone paying attention that what sets the US military apart is the strength and abilities of its most junior people. Take that, China.

One other aspect of greater Pentagon efficiency is worth mentioning. Many offices and billets in the Pentagon have allowed their people to forego the dressier classes of uniform and come to work in the respective forms of battle dress. There may be somebody somewhere who thinks this is beneath the dignity of Headquarters America. Nonsense. The move gives the Pentagon the feel of a command post rather than an office building with uniforms, helps build a mental connection with those serving in the field, and saves our men and women in uniform the expense of daily dry-cleaning.

I know what you are thinking: these changes around the edges of the Department of Defense are window dressing and not renovation. That’s true. But great changes in inertia-laden organizations often begin with small steps, and I remain optimistic that the institutional dysfunction of the DoD can be remedied. In order to stare down the Pentagon’s Perfumed Princes on the one hand and Capitol Hill’s pork-minded politicians on the other, we need a president whose dedication to and understanding of the mission of national defense are beyond question, and a bloody-minded Secretary of Defense with similar disposition.

Let that be a goal in 2016.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

The Golden West Review

A Californian Perspective on History, Arts, Land, Literature, and Politics

A Bucket and a Pen

In Search of Life after the Career

coffeesteffi ♡

coffee, art & my brewed thoughts

Sea Scout Ship 9201

Channel Islands Harbor • Ventura County Council, BSA

Troop 234, Boy Scouts of America

Port Hueneme/Channel Islands Harbor, CA

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

The Chinafornia Wolf

Gratefully Chronicling a Remarkable Journey

The Thousand Books Project

Reading a Meaningful Life

Cafe Book Bean

Talk Books. Drink Coffee.

Silicon Hutong

Addressing China as it is, not as we want it to be

Maura Elizabeth Cunningham

Historian and Writer

Runningwinegirl's Blog

Colorado Girl Sharing Insights on Wine, Public Relations and Life's Adventures

ARLIN REPORT...................walking this path together

PERSPECTIVE FROM AN AGING SENIOR CITIZEN

Blue-eyed Ronin

A contrarian who enjoys challenging existing illusions, one truth at a time.

Observer

People and Trends

commentisfreewatch.wordpress.com/

Promoting fair and accurate coverage of Israel

twitchy.com

Who Said What

Barton's Blog

To the clouds and beyond...

Coffee Shop Rabbi

Basic Judaism spoken here.

Cami Ryan

Science, society, and life

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

______Assessing China / The TEA Collaborative______

Tech, Energy & Ambitions: Assessments at the Intersection of Technology, Investment and Policy

Cliche of Logic

This is the beginning of my writing.

An Ordinary Website

of interest to few.

Der Bananenplanet

Alternatives Informationsmedium

Corey Robin

Author of "The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin" and "The Enigma of Clarence Thomas"

Ragan Communications

The Center Must Hold

The China Story

The Center Must Hold

Yale E360

The Center Must Hold

Xindanwei | 新单位

The Center Must Hold

WritersDigest.com

The Center Must Hold

WordCount

Freelancing in the Digital Age

FriendFeed Blog

The Center Must Hold

Business

The Center Must Hold

Blog Daily Listings RSS

The Center Must Hold

Speakeasy

The Center Must Hold

The Center Must Hold

Opinions

The Center Must Hold

RSSOpinion

The Center Must Hold

WebMD Health

The Center Must Hold

Renewal

The Center Must Hold

Village Voice

The Center Must Hold

Uploads from The U.S. Army

The Center Must Hold

TechNode

Latest news and trends about tech in China

WritersDigest.com

The Center Must Hold

Techmeme

The Center Must Hold

The Center Must Hold

%d bloggers like this: