Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

The Gates Speech, Part One: The Context

ARCHIVES

That was one big speech from Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Kansas on Saturday. (See the CongressDaily story here and the transcript here.) So big, in fact, that I'm going to use a series of posts to examine it.

First, let's look at the context: the address took place at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kan. Eisenhower, of course, is a man known primarily for two things: victory in World War II and warning against the growth of the military-industrial complex. It was clearly no accident that Gates chose this location to make his case for cutting the Defense bureaucracy. He noted Eisenhower's efforts to rein in military spending, quoting him directly: "I say the patriot today is the fellow who can do the job with less money."

Of course, there's another context, too. Gates acknowledged that he was "fully aware of the fact that I am not the first in this office to make this case and or call for this effort." Indeed, he noted that his predecessor Donald Rumsfeld, had launched his own crusade against the Pentagon bureaucracy. Unfortunately, that endeavor was unveiled in speech on Sept. 10, 2001, and was pushed well beyond the back burner by the events of the following day.

Now, though, Gates just might be in a position to make some headway. He's got very little left to lose at this point. He had to be coaxed into taking the top Pentagon job during the Bush administration, and then to stay for the Obama transition. He doesn't need this job. Nor does he need to curry favor with anyone on Capitol Hill, in the defense industrial base -- or in the White House, for that matter. So if anyone can take on all the forces arrayed against change in Defense operations, Gates just might be the guy.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.