Leadership: September 9, 2005

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The U.S. Department of Defense wants to give theater commanders (combatant commanders, the four star generals who command all American forces in specific regions of the world) more authority, and money, to quickly use new technology and concepts in fighting terrorism. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs already has a $50 million fund for that sort of thing, but the theater commanders have to talk the chairman into releasing any of that money for their special projects. This is another form of the half-century U.S. Army Special Forces tradition of scrounging up money to buy whatever they thought they needed to get the job done, often over the objections of the Pentagon procurement bureaucracy. The Special Forces program has had far more successes than failures, and this led the army to adopt it for divisions, and even smaller units. Critics fear that such mad money programs will result in embarrassing scandals. They are correct, but none of the misappropriations have been embarrassing enough to justify killing the programs. The troops realize that this money is an opportunity to get additional weapons and gear that can make their jobs easier, and help keep them alive. With new technology coming on the market at an ever increasing rate, there are an increasing number of opportunities for those who think fast, and have access to quick cash. The theater commanders will use the money for large, and small, projects, getting ideas from all their subordinate units, and the commanders own staff, as well as the commander himself. 

 


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