Leadership: October 23, 2002

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Throughout the 1990s, the services made a real, and largely successful, effort to achieve "jointness" (all the services working together without interservice bickering and resistance to cooperation.) But there is still substantial opposition to jointness, and transformation of the military, and it's coming from a generally unnoticed direction. It turns out that the retirees and the service associations, like the Navy League, are more enthusiastic about preserving past practices (good and bad). Both groups are mired in the past and fiercely jealous of anything they think is encroachment on their favorite service's rights, traditions, roles, and so on. And these retirees are not be dismissed. They left the service with a high rank and years of experience. They know what political and media buttons to push and why it's better to do it subtly. It's becoming a major problem, but politicians and Department of Defense officials can't find an effective way to denounce thousands of high ranking veterans for "getting in the way."

 


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